Andrew Lloyd Webber's Broadway and London smash hit musical is now open in Melbourne and set to rock Brisbane and Sydney in 2019!
Based on the iconic, hit movie, this irresistible new musical follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn an extra bit of cash by posing as a supply teacher at a prestigious prep school. There he turns a class of straight –A pupils into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping mind-blowing rock band. Lighting designer Natasha Katz helps transport the audience from prep school classroom to a Battle of the Bands rock concert.
Katz had a quite a challenge given the three rows of sliding scenery that interlaced into some very detailed set pieces and the trick was to be able to light within that regularly shifting framework. Viable lighting positions were scarce, but as always, a way was found.
Katz designed the lighting in three modes: the first is naturalistic, the second look is inside the schoolroom, and thirdly the rock scene at the end.
Katz likes to mix up incandescents with the arc source of moving lights and this is no exception. The lighting grid is made up of 114 x Source Four fixtures for conventionals and 33 x Martin MAC Viper Performances, 9 x MAC Viper Wash DX and 12 x Claypaky Sharpys for moving lights. Katz chose the Vipers in particular because “their wash lights are fantastic. They have shutters and a lot of wash lights don’t, and they’re very quiet for moving lights. That was the number one reason why I wanted to use them, how quiet they are.”
LED moving lights include 16 x MAC Aura and 26 x GLP X4 Wash whilst conventionals are 63 x ETC Source 4 Lustr2 of varying degrees.
“The show is designed around lighting the kids but making a spectacle at the same time,” commented Hugh Hamilton, production electrician for the Australian show. “It looks great, like all of Natasha’s designs do.”
A highlight of the show is the rock scene finale when a truss arch full of MAC Auras and Sharpys rolls onstage. The lighting is very vibrant and active, with your eye following the very thin beams of the Sharpys, almost like a pointer. Rosco Miro Cubes act as truss warmers whilst Pica Cubes are used as footlights for one particular scene.
“Chameleon’s rig was amazingly reliable,” remarked Hugh. “We got to opening with only swapping two fixtures out which is pretty special. During the tech period we were running the lights 14 hours a day without any real problems at all.”
To make sure the beams were visible there are JEM 365 hazers, Look Solutions Viper 2.6 smoke machines and a couple of Tiny Foggers.
The show was programmed by Rob Cudden on an ETC Eos Ti.