Lighting for Broadway’s Rock of Ages Controlled by ETC Eos

by PLSN Staff • in
  • News
• Created: May 18, 2009

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NEW YORK — Broadway’s Rock of Ages isn’t just a tribute to the rock anthems of the 1980s, it also pays homage to the glam lighting of that era’s rock concerts, including the first moving lights and not-so-quiet riot of special effects. The gear used to light and control the Tony-nominated musical at the Brook Atkinson Theater, however, includes technology that is decidedly 2009 in functionality, including LEDs, moving lights, video projection and the ETC Eos lighting console interfacing with all of the systems and running the rig.
With over 20 big numbers like Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive,” Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is,” and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” Rock of Ages is one of the largest shows done on an Eos console.

“We created new effects specific to the music, tempos, and moods of each number,” said LD Jason Lyons. “The flexibility of the Eos effects-engine and the ability to create an effect in different ways added to our ability to give each moment its own flavor. Also, the ability to query and select by specific parameters made building cues across our conventionals, moving lights and large contingent of LED fixtures, very comprehensive.”
Rock of Ages’ visuals capture the dawn of the MTV era with a large video screen located in the middle of the stage cyc, and the video content by designer Zachary Borovay is also reminiscent of early MTV in its kinetic energy. The challenge for Lyons and crew was to ensure that the lighting and the video content matched in dynamism, tone and color.

For the Broadway production, LED fixtures were added to the cyc, taken to the highest resolution possible. “Being able to control every three inches across the top, bottom, and front of the bounce and cyc allowed us to use the Eos console’s effects engine to create sweeping effects across the cyc with a speed and resolution that has never been possible to this point,” Lyons said. “This allowed us to make the entire stage picture as exciting as the video and helped complete the overall look we were trying to achieve.”
Eos also helped in transitioning Rock of Ages from the smaller stage to Broadway, Lyons said.

“When we were first putting together the off-Broadway production, we were trying to do a full-scale 1980s rock spectacle on an off-Broadway budget. We had to make certain concessions on the number of units, unit types, and particularly putting both conventional and moving lights on a single console, with a single programmer. But the Eos allowed us to put the entire show together, in a way that made sense theatrically and also gave us the functionality to create a rock show.

“I had also been hesitant in the past to combine conventionals and moving lights onto a single control console, due to both functionality and the sometimes overwhelming organization required to deal with both,” Lyons noted. “But the Eos handled the entire light plot with ease and allowed us to tie all of our equipment together in cues in a simple way, rather than having to try to sync up multiple consoles.

“For Broadway we also added and changed some fixture types and rearranged fixture numbers,” Lyons added. “Using Eos, our programmer Victor Seastone was able to achieve something that had been extremely daunting in the past — retain and then transfer show information from our off-Broadway production to the Broadway production, even through different fixture types. This gave us a great head start for the tech process and allowed us to concentrate more on updating and refining the design rather than just trying to rebuild from scratch.”
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