Okay, maybe I overreacted a little. A LITTLE. I'm still disappointed that I didn't work on the show, but at the same time, I think it was a blessing in disguise. The cast and the orchestra were just fantastic. It was obvious that they put in a tremendous amount of work. I was so impressed with Eva and Che. They were very strong, passionate, and had a great dynamic. Once the sound guy had his issues under control, the show was incredibly well balanced. I surprised myself in that I remembered every single word in the show. It's been over 10 years since I've listened to the soundtrack, and I still knew the entire show. It was hard not to sing along... :-)
And now for the reason I was so paranoid... Had I been working on this show, you would have read about the following on a daily basis, and it would really be clear why I'm such a PIA sometimes.
The set and the lights - wow. Where to begin... Let's start with the set.
The set did nothing to accent the show. It was this gigantic wall with a balcony in 5 feet in the air, center stage, and an archway underneath. Otherwise, gigantic pink wall. Yes, pink. Not pale pink. MAGENTA. I might have a sweater that color, but wow. Apparently it started out fire engine red. 40 feet wide by 12 feet tall - that's a lot of red. When repainted, it was baby pink. As soon as the lights hit it, the audience was blind and you couldn't see the cast. So it ended up magenta. On the far left and far right sides of the stage were two video screens. They were different sizes and hung unevenly. Plus, the projectors were off cycle. When you wanted the slides to be the same, they were off by one. The set distracted more from the show than it enhanced. It was awkward and huge and magenta.
Now the lighting....
I have a lot of respect for the lighting designer. As difficult as he can be to get along with, the quality of his work is impressive. He'll use every instrument in all possible capacities to give you a beautiful show with great moments. Then there was this production.
Take almost everything I just said and throw it out the window. Every instrument was used. It's hard to light someone who is 10 feet in the air when you have an 11.5 foot ceiling. I get all that. The wash was pretty even. Other than that, there was nothing spectacular about this design.
In place of spotlights, he either used a general wash or a moving light. I found the moving lights more distracting than a spot. When a spot comes on it's terribly obvious and is expected to move with the actor. But the moving lights that were used were part of the wash. They were not sharp focused, the intensity was the same as the rest of the instruments, and were the same color as the wash. Most people wouldn't notice it move, but I did and it was annoying. It looked like something was wrong. The wash colors also seemed dull. Part of that may have to do with the set changing colors three times the week before they opened. However, changing gel is no sweat. The looks seemed gray and uninspiring. Rainbow High could have had all sorts of bright colors and changes. It didn't.
This show screams for dramatic lighting changes. There was not one change that I would consider dramatic. Toward the end of the show there was one bump with the orchestra that seemed dim and slow. Looked more like a late cue than anything else. I went in expecting dramatic side lighting, unique looks for each scene, intense changes with the music and movement of the cast... I got nothin'. Talk about disappointing. It's possible the problems with the set had an adverse affect on the design - that's happened on more than one occasion. It's also possible that the Director didn't want dramatic lighting. Whatever the reason... The set and lights did nothing to enhance the production. If I had been in the cast or orchestra, I would have been greatly irritated. They didn't work their butts off for 3 months to have to perform with the crap they were given.
Hence the bit of relief I had after the show. I didn't work on it, so I wasn't spending weeks upset by how poor the show was from a technical perspective. I also had a chance to speak with a handful of the board members. They seemed very interested in my reaction and what I would have done differently. So in hindsight, it's a good thing I didn't work on the show. Altho if I had, and had any influence over how it was executed, the end product would have been much different. Plus I prob would have stressed myself out, and had more than one person want to push me off the light bridge as I point out what needs to be fixed.
Even with all the aspects that really needed a makeover, the cast and orchestra were still fantastic. I really hope patrons walked out of there having enjoyed a good show and didn't notice as many of the issues as I did. I've now got to dig out my soundtrack so I can listen to it in the car. No, not the Madonna version...
Chock Full O’ Nuts
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