Lighting Lysistrata Jones Uptown

Following its downtown premiere at The Gym at Judson Memorial Church last spring (see related article), Lysistrata Jones has moved to the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway, where it opened in early December. Lighting designer Michael Gottlieb made his Broadway debut with this production, which features sets by Allen Moyer, costumes by Thomas Charles LeGalley and David C. Woolard, and sound by Tony Meola.

Moyer’s set design captures the essence of the Judson Church gym—a three-sided white brick box with a band platform upstage—with new additions of curtains, flying set elements and a show scrim. Downtown, where the show was site-specific, the lighting amplified the vertical expanse of the space. On Broadway, the look is more letterboxed: wider and a little shorter—a more horizontal composition that lends better focus to the performers.

Gottlieb once again used Chroma Q Colorforce LED striplights (see gear list below), this time in a U-shaped configuration along the front face of the band platform and downstage along the side walls, creating a radiant band of color. “The LED striplights still function to add energy and dynamic color to the space, yet their angle to the actors is different and thus their role modified. It’s different architecture,” he notes.

“The maple gym floor on Broadway is a little lighter than the floor we had downtown,” notes Gottlieb. Given the paler surface and the more oblique angle of the LED striplights, Gottlieb added Elation Impression 120RZ LED wash fixtures to tone the floor. “To have it feel the same as it did downtown, I found that I needed to saturate the palette to account for the lighter floor, as well as the larger volume of the theatre space,” he explains. “It was essentially the same lighting design in a different space: same color logic, same timing and placement of cues… the same concept but very different gear.

“The rig is considerably different to take into account the entire box of the set, which provides a large canvas with new lighting opportunities,” Gottlieb adds. Philips Color Kinetics ColorBlaze TRX LED Striplights provide the lighting for the walls.

Another change is the addition of automated luminaries, as Gottlieb used I-Cue moving mirrors to act as moving lights downtown. The new fixtures included Martin Professional MAC2000 Performance spots as front light, Philips Vari-Lite VL1000 Arc spots overhead, and VL5 Arcs and MAC700 Profiles mounted on custom-welded side ladders attached to the scenic walls. “Each type of fixture does different things well. It was very useful to apply the fixtures in layers to build up each scene’s look,” notes the LD.

The Walter Kerr is traditionally used for straight plays instead of musicals. As such, there is no followspot booth, so Gottlieb placed two followspots in the center of the upper mezzanine (alongside the $25 partial-view seats). “I had to search for units that fit and were sufficiently quiet,” he explains, having opted for a pair of Lycian M2 2500W HMI with Medium Throw lenses that replace the two ETC Source Fours used as followspots downtown. PRG Lighting provided the Broadway rig.

Gottlieb found that the biggest challenge in moving the show uptown was integrating a new and larger team to make the lighting happen: “On Broadway, it’s a larger structure. I had an associate, an assistant, a programmer, a production electrician, and a full crew. Since there are so many details, you have to delegate to the team and deputize them to work independently,” he says. “Being the designer on this level means being an editor and manager as well. I was extremely fortunate to have such a great group of collaborators.”

Gottlieb is a frequent associate and co-designer with LD Richard Pilbrow, with whom he recently designed Dancing at Lughnasa for the Irish Repertory Theatre. “I was lucky to have Richard as my sounding-board and counsel as I navigated the design process of my first Broadway show. He is a great mentor and friend, and I’m so lucky to have him in my universe.”

Lysistrata Jones
Walter Kerr Theatre
Book by Douglas Carter Beane
Music and Lyrics by Lewis Flinn
Directed and Choreographed by Dan Knechtges
Scenic Designer: Allen Moyer
Costume Designers: David C. Woolard and Thomas Charles LeGalley
Lighting Designer: Michael Gottlieb
Sound Designer: Tony Meola
Media Designer (Scoreboards): Howard Werner
Production Stage Manager: Lois Griffing
Music Director: Brad Simmons
Production Management: Juniper Street Productions
Associate Lighting Designer: Craig Stelzenmuller
Assistant Lighting Designer: Jeremy Cunningham
Lighting Programmer: David Arch
Production Electrician: Rick Baxter
Head Electrician: Sandra Paradise
Followspot Operators: Matt Maloney, Paul Valvo
House Electrician: Vincent Valvo Jr.

Lighting Gear, supplied by PRG:
269 ETC Source Four ERS @ 750w
1 ETC Source Four 10°
35 ETC Source Four 14°
53 ETC Source Four 19°
72 ETC Source Four 26°
52 ETC Source Four 36°
50 ETC Source Four 50°
4 ETC Source Four 25°/50° Zoom
82 ETC Source Four PAR @ 750w
8 ETC Source 4 PAR MCM NSP
5 ETC Source 4 PAR MCM MFL
63 ETC Source 4 PAR MCM WFL
14 PAR 64 NSP 1kW
6 Mini-10 500W
6 Arri 300 Plus Fresnel
9 9-Light Mole PAR36 “Mini-Brute” Fixture
4 MR-16 Birdie
18 L&E 6’-0” MR16 Ministrip – 3 Circuit, 75w, EYC Flood
2 Lycian M2 Medium Throw Followspot @ 2500w
4 Philips Vari*Lite 1000 Arc Shutter @ 575w MSR
9 Philips Vari*Lite 1000 Arc Iris @ 575w MSR
5 Martin Professional MAC 2000 Performance @ 1200w 208v
6 Martin Professional Mac 700 Profile @ 700w 208v
6 Philips Vari*Lite VL5 Arc Wash @ 1000w 208v
2 Ocean Optics Sea Changer Profile CYMxG
8 Elation Impression 120RZ Zoom [RGB]
12 Chroma Q Color Force 72 LED Striplight [RGBA]
12 Chroma Q Color Force 48 LED Striplight [RGBA]
22 Color Kinetics Color Blast 12 TRX Clear Lens [RGBAW]
32 Color Kinetics Color Blast 12 TRX Frosted Lens [RGBAW]
6 Color Kinetics Color Blaze 72 TRX LED Striplight [RGBAW]
4 Martin Atomic 3000 Strobe
4 High End Systems AF-1000 Dataflash (2 Mounted inside PAR64 Cans)
2 Diversitronics Ellipsoidal Strobe Module ESM-DMX
60 GAM Star Strobe
2 Le Maitre Low Smoke Generator (LSG) Machine
2 Le Maitre G300 Fog Machine (to be used with LSG Machine)
1 MDG Atmospheres Hazer
4 Martin JEM AF-1 Fans
4 Artistry In Motion “Big Shot” Confetti Canon
1 ETC EOS Lighting Console
1 ETC EOS RPU with Pi Engineering X-Keys Button Backup system:
1 ETC EOS MIDI Gateway
2 19” Flat Panel Video Monitor
2 17” Flat Panel Video Monitor
4 ETC Sensor Dimmer Racks of 96 x 2.4kw
1 ETC Sensor Dimmer Rack of 12 x 6kw
1 208v Power Distribution
1 120v Power Distribution
6 City Theatrical PDS 750 TRX Power Supply
160 ETC Multiplexer Dimmer-Doubling Twofers
Virtual Magic Sheet software by West Side Systems
Fast Focus Pro software by Matt Peel
Lightwright 5 software by John McKernon
LX Notes software by Craig Stelzenmuller and Kevin Cook
Spot On software by Cory Pattak

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