Chauvet lights Newsies in Pittsburgh
Wednesday, 25 September 2019
newsies-02Newsies played Pittsburgh’s State Theatre (photo: K.G. Tunney)
USA - In a recent production of the Alan Menken-Jack Feldman Tony Award winning musical Newsies at Pittsburgh’s State Theatre, Amanda Frazier helped call forth the play’s historic context by accentuating its evocative scenic elements with a vivid lighting design that featured Chauvet Professional fixtures supplied by Vincent Lighting.
Working with Noland Jenkins, production manager of Vincent Lighting Systems, Frazier selected 15 Rogue R2 Washes for her rig. She used nine of the RGBW moving fixtures for top lighting, and six for side lighting. Drawing on the colour rendering capabilities of the Rogue units, she subtly shifted palettes throughout the play to reflect different scenes, all while underscoring the turn-of-the-century New York setting.
“I assigned colours to absolute moods as themes,” says Frazier. “I went with lavenders and ambers for dreams, crisp whites for hope, saturated blues and reds for confrontation, etc. Most of the set and costumes ranged in a muted palette, so any saturation really shifted the scene and stood out.”
Employing different beam positions and focuses to build upon the energy on stage, Frazier used hard beam edges to augment tense atmospheres, while relying on soft pools of light to brighten gentler moments between actors. She also called on the intensity of the fixtures to amp up emotions with bursts of light following near blackouts. In so doing she created a visual momentum that reflected the determination of the characters. Her full-stage illumination also added an emotional punch for more triumphant moments.
The New York setting played an important role in establishing the atmosphere for this musical. Scenic designer Zach Calloway’s impactful stage design featured four units of rolling scaffolding, rolling desks and tables, newsprint legs, and a newsprint backdrop. Working closely with Calloway, Frazier’s reinforced the urban landscape concept of the stage, which featured exposed trussing and fixtures.
The State Theatre itself provided an ideal venue for the production of Newsies. “This is an older space with charm and warmth,” says Frazier. “It was a pleasure to work here, especially with executive director Erica Miller and technical director Andy MacDonald. Another really good thing about this production was that Vincent Lighting Systems provided motors and truss to rig to the grid for optimal hanging positions, which freed up my time to build the colour for this show. John Wagner (director), Toby Maykuth (producer), and Kristen Tunney (stage manager) were great helps - and none of this would have been possible without Noland Jenkins.”
(Jim Evans)

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