There were grandMAs in the house when “Hair” reappeared on Broadway earlier this month. Actually, there were probably more than a few grandmothers in the audience when the iconic love-rock musical, which debuted in 1967, returned to Broadway, but Lighting Designer Kevin Adams put MA Lighting's grandMA consoles to extensive use at the Al Hirschfeld Theater. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of the grandMA in North America.
The production, which the New York Times called “an emotionally rich revival,” is innovative from a lighting perspective because the team chose to program the conventional lights, automated lights and LEDs from a single platform, the grandMA console. This enabled the production team to have fewer consoles on site during set up and rehearsals and allowed the programmers to work on any console at any time while always having specific access to their part of the rig.
“We decided to run the whole show off the grandMA for two reasons,” says Aaron Sporer, “Hair's” associate lighting designer. “It was more cost effective than renting two moving light consoles and a conventional light console. And by running the show on only one console platform we've eliminated the difficulty we've had in the past converting two-console shows to one-console shows for tours.”
The grandMA provided superior control of the automated lights for the numerous musical numbers, enhanced color control and scrolling for the conventional lights and furnished bitmap programming of the massive LED wall that spans the back of the stage.
“By putting everything on the grandMAs it was easy for (conventional light programmer) Jeff Dodson and I to work separately in rehearsals and previews with lighting designer Kevin Adams then go â€˜full world' and have full control of everything,” says automated lighting programmer Paul Sonnleitner. “All the data is in all the consoles which operate like a mainframe.” Show electrician Brian Dawson runs the grandMAs on a day-to-day basis.
According to Sonnleitner, “Hair” has “more automated lighting effects than most Broadway shows since it's a rock musical. There are 28 musical numbers in and not a lot of book scenes so there's a lot of cueing. The grandMA allows us to use different ColorBlast 72 fixtures for each six-inch piece of the back LED wall which spans stage left to stage right. We employ the bitmap engine to do amazing rainbow effects quickly.”
“We chose the grandMA for its ability to speedily handle a lot of moving lights and a lot of LED fixtures and their color effects,” Aaron Sporer points out. “The speed at which Paul gave us a huge variety of LED effects and gradient looks was really helpful in shaping the back wall of the set. Because so much of the system lighting work of the rig was done with moving lights, it was great to have a console where Paul could manipulate and mark them really efficiently.”
Sonnleitner adds that, “We really enjoy the dependability of the grandMA network and the ease of which any of us can walk up to a console and suddenly control the correct part of the rig.”
“Kevin and Aaron have taken on the job of re-designing a classic from the â€˜60s. This show combines the most difficult aspects of both a rock concert and a theatre production, which makes it more difficult to light properly than either by itself. Paul Sonnleitner makes that possible. He is an exquisitely talented programmer and he goes deeply into the feature set of the grandMA to make this a successful collaboration,” says A.C.T Lighting President and CEO Bob Gordon.
About A.C.T Lighting
A leading importer and distributor of lighting products, A.C.T Lighting, Inc. strives to identify future trends and cutting-edge products, and stock, sell and support their inventory. The company provides superior customer service and value for money to all of its clients. For more information call 818-707-0884 or visit www.actlighting.com