Value for money

In a rare reunion, the Judds graced the stage before a small, rapt audience. Jaclyn Smith and Kathy Ireland were backstage. Bringing these talents together was the 1999 Kmart shareholders' meeting, held in May at the Detroit Opera House. These members of the corporate family participated in the meeting, which included music and a fashion show.

Independent LD Brian Boucher worked hand in hand with Showtech of Madison Heights, MI, and the AV department at Kmart world headquarters in Troy, MI, which produced the event. His equipment included moving lights from Thunder Audio in Allen Park, MI, conventional fixtures and trussing from Showtech, and rigging from Ariel Rigging.

"We started talking about the project in March," Boucher says. "My concept was a fiber-optic star drop in conjunction with spandex fabric to create an environment upstage, around the band." Eventually, the project morphed into two distinct areas--the upstage band area, and, separated by the logo scrim, the downstage area, consisting of a podium stage left with two 10.5'x14' (3.2x4m) screens on either side of the stage.

The meeting took place during the height of opera season, which necessitated the use of 220' (67m) of box truss for the package, plus 94 ETC Source Fours and Source Four PARs and moving lights. Boucher placed a 40'x15' (12x5m) rectangle upstage above the band area, a 40' midstage truss and a 50' (15m) FOH truss, located 34' (10m) from the proscenium. Boucher also placed two 10' (3m) vertical trusses upstage right and left with moving lights.

The 30'x60' (9x18m) star drop was provided by Main Light of Delaware, which used 12 High End Systems Trackspots(R) as a light source. "I wanted to create a bandshell atmosphere. With the star drop behind the band, I put up a roof of spandex, and also used that on the sides to create walls." In the end, Boucher used a total of nine pieces (six across the back), the largest being the ceiling that was a 10'x20' (3x6m) rectangle. "It's a great surface to put lights on."

The LD and programmer Joe Leahy incorporated Martin units for a fashion show added by the producers as showtime loomed. More tricky was the staging for the Judds, who were unable to attend the dress rehearsal; their approximate band positions were penciled in, and various looks were worked out.

But at 7am the next morning, they learned it would just be an acoustic set of Naomi and Wynonna. The LD refocused the lights up center, a logical place. Then came word that they would perform downstage center. With showtime bearing down, he and Leahy reprogrammed. "We suddenly had so much dimension to the stage; it looked like it was a 100' (30m) deep."

For the entertainment, he chose saturated hues including Rosco 358 (Rose Indigo), R19 (Flame), and R83 (Medium Blue). For a more corporate look, he relied heavily on an R54 (Special Lavender) wash, with Lee 201 (CT blue) backlight. "It's some of the best work I've done," the LD remarks with a smile.