ETC and Vari*Lite Light Up “Jersey Boys”

by PLSN Staff • in
  • International News
• Created: October 9, 2009

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Jersey Boys is going well beyond the Garden State with a production being staged at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne, Australia. The lighting design is by Howell Binkley and Bytecraft Entertainment, and in Australia, Hugh Hamilton is acting as both associate lighting designer and production electrician. A key element in the show, from a lighting point of view, is a large “stadium with six lighting towers” made up of 144 ETC Source FourPARs. These hold custom donuts (gel frames that limit the size of the aperture of the light after the lens) fabricated to create an impression of perspective for the luminaires, which were placed upstage, facing the audience.

“The bank of 144 Source FourPARs, along with some strobes, looks amazing and is an epic look in the show,” said Hamilton. “It comes at the end of the first act, as The Four Seasons, at the top of their popularity, are performing a live concert on stage. For this look, the stage has been transformed 180 degrees so that the back of the actors are to the audience, but they’re facing what looks like an entire stadium filled with people.”

The holes in the donuts get increasingly smaller, and combined with the placement of the Source Four PARs, give the illusion that the lights get farther away. With a painted backdrop, the effect produces a very convincing look of a huge space in front of the actors, as though the audience of the show was looking directly into the audience of the stage concert. The effect is further enhanced with the use of star strobes to simulate flashbulbs in the crowd.

The show is broken down into four sections, each symbolizing a season as in Four Seasons. Each section is announced with a title slide on a main center projection screen in the color tones that characterize each season. Although subtle, these colors are carried through each scene within the section, reflecting the characterization of that season, which also happens to aptly describe the period of time or situation of the band. During the bleak winter section, the band is down to two members with a harsh seeming outlook. All this is illuminated by the lighting, keeping to black-and-white color tones and minimizing vivid colors.

This concept helped to shape the show around a very open set, consisting of a long, upper-level balcony built of steel, some chain link fences that fly in and out and a cyc backdrop. With the help of some props and smaller set items like tables and chairs that roll on and off, the set is really created by the lighting and projection.

“We also use 38 VL2500 washes and 38 VL2500 spots in the rig and they work pretty hard throughout the show,” added Hamilton. “It’s really a nice looking design using the color temperature of the Source Fours against the Vari-Lites quite a lot.

An ETC Obsession 2 with dual processor tracking is used to program and control the conventionals.

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