Scharff Weisberg has supplied the automated light package for the first New York City revival of "Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes." Parts one and two of the play are kicking off an entire season dedicated to playwright Tony Kushner's work by Off Broadway's Signature Theatre Company.
"What's special about this production is also what's challenging about lighting it," says lighting designer Ben Stanton. "This is the first time audiences get to see a really intimate presentation of 'Angels' in New York City. The newly-renovated Peter Norton Space is a 160-seat theater with no seat more than 30 feet from the stage. We still needed to create all the lighting special effects necessary to accomplish the theatrical coups the play requires but we perform them in an intimate setting close to the audience."
Stanton, who has enjoyed working with Scharff Weisberg on many projects, needed "very specific equipment for 'Angels in America' because of the small venue. Motor and fan noise are huge issues in this space, so I needed high-quality, silent, very reliable fixtures that fit within some major budget constraints. I was thrilled that Scharff could help in all those respects."
Scharff Weisberg's automated lighting package consists of VARI*LITE VL1000 TSDs and VL500 TD washes; City Theatrical Autoyokes; Martin Atomic Strobes; six-foot MR16 Striplight 3 and Vegas-style Striplights; and Source Four PAR VNSPs. The moving fixtures supplement the Peter Norton Space's own inventory of conventional lights.
"The lights I specked from Scharff are all incandescent fixtures so they are silent," Stanton points out. "VARI*LITE has some of the best color optics out there; its new VL500 has a really beautiful color field. With such an intimate setting, I wanted to be sensitive about keeping all the color temperatures of the conventional and moving lights within the same world."
He adds that, "I've worked with Scharff Weisberg many times and am always happy with their service. Their lighting package for 'Angels in America' has been very reliable. The show sold out in the first hour and has been extended twice, and I haven't had any reports of any lighting issues at all."
Ben Rollins was the project manager for Scharff Weisberg for "Angels in America." Ben Krall was the assistant lighting designer. The Lighting Syndicate, LLC's Douglas Filomena and Jake Heinrichs were the show electricians.
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