Rock of Ages revived with Artiste Monet
Monday, 22 June 2020
rock-of-agesThe Rock of Ages revival at New World Stages in New York City (photo: Matthew Murphy)
USA - The recent Rock of Ages revival at New World Stages in New York City was a resounding success, just as it was in its 2008 Off-Broadway debut at the same theatre prior to its successful six-year Broadway run. The show opened last June and after originally being scheduled to close in September was extended for an open-ended run, eventually shutting down when Broadway went dark in March.
Lighting designer Jason Lyons has been lighting the musical since that storied 2008 New York debut. “Back then it was a bit of an experiment,” he says. “We didn’t really know what we had and it exploded from there. It’s one of those rare shows that people can go back to over and over again and still have a really good time. I think that’s part of its success. You find new moments to enjoy every time.”
Rock of Ages is a jukebox musical that tells the story of a rock ‘n’ roll romance on the Sunset Strip during the glitz and decadence of the ‘80s. When the Bourbon Room is set to be demolished (the local bar where most of the action takes place), it’s up to wannabe rockers to save it. With a score that features some of the biggest classic rock hits of the ‘80s, this hilarious, high-energy 80’s-era satire has evolved into a theatre classic.
Jason has been using Elation’s Artiste Monet on the revival (supplied by Christie Lites), his first time working with the award-winning LED profile moving head and a significant upgrade from what he was using on earlier incarnations of the show
“I was really excited to use it for Rock of Ages in particular because over all the years of doing this show, from way back in 2008, we have used older fixtures. Back then, we were just trying to get as much as we could for as cheap as we could so it was nice to have a reliable, cutting-edge fixture like the Monet. We really didn’t know what the show was back then, but we did know it needed that 80’s rock feel.”
After consulting with Elation national sales manager John Dunn, which included a demo of the Artiste Monet up against other LED driven fixtures, Jason was pleased with what he saw. “I was blown away by the output actually; it was outrageous, so bright, and the quality of the white that came out of it was really nice. It was much better than some of the LED driven fixtures I had seen before. Then we added in the SpectraColor mixing system and I got really excited. To have CMY and RGB with color correction over the top of it, it was fun to play with and opened up a whole different level of color mixing and detail that I feel we’ve always lacked a bit with just CMY.”
Twelve overhead Artiste Monet units are arranged in a pseudo diamond configuration that follows the shape of the main set bar and are used throughout as lighting beasts of burden. “We use them for so many different things from carving out certain areas of the stage with the framing shutters, to really powerful open-white backlight and downlight spots, to full stage template washes and effect moments.”
As the show is essentially a rock musical, Jason also used them for air effects moments. “I found myself pulling them back a bit,” he said, “especially in the open white moments, which isn’t something I have ever done with this show before. What was great was being able to then use that to effect as well. To then hit it to full and get that extra punch was a fun feature to play with.”
Other lighting fixtures, many of them also from the Elation catalogue, join the Artiste Monet in the rig. These include SixPar colour changers doing backlight specials on the band and on scenic doors, as well as sidelight for extra colour on set. Jason says he even uses their UV functionality for interesting toning. Super compact ACL 360i single-beam moving effects are peppered overhead with a handful on an upstage handrail under a backing video screen and under the band platform. Lastly, ZW19 and ZW37 LED moving head beam/wash effects and Protron 3K™ LED strobes wrap the video screen. Lighting vendor for the production is Christie Lites.
(Jim Evans)

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