I met several times with the director and producer to discuss the requirements of the show and the director’s vision for how it would look. I next surveyed the venue and inventoried the available equipment. I then designed the light plot using Vectorworks and produced the associated paperwork using Lightwright. I delivered the plot to the master electrician, who made sure—with my supervision—that everything was correctly hung and circuited. We then focused the lights. I programmed the show on the ETC Ion and ran the board during the show. I had two freshman spot ops working for me during the show, with very little training—who considering their experience level did quite well.
I had designed shows in LaGuardia’s Concert Hall before, both plays and concerts, but the Show Choir Concert presented several new challenges. This was the first production that only used the apron downstage of the proscenium, so I had fewer lighting options. Unlike some concerts I’ve done that are cued live in real time, this one had to be carefully planned and cued in advance. The songs were varied, ranging from big production numbers including all the more than 60 singers to soloists standing in a single spotlight.
One of my concerns designing this concert was varying the lighting scene by scene. Some of the songs were amusing, like a medley from Little Shop of Horrors; others were somber, like Hoagy Carmichael’s “Skylark.” It was my job to suit the mood of the lighting to the mood of the scene. Another consideration was to make sure that all the singers were visible, those in the background as well as those in the spotlight. Because the costumes weren’t varied—the boys wore tuxedos and the girls wore black dresses—I played a lot with color on the cyc behind the chorus. In the final number, “Fame”—the anthem of the school—I changed the color of the cyc along with the song from blue to red and red to blue.