Tony Awards for Lighting Design in 2010 – Some Detail On the Designers

I have to admit that apparently since I didn’t watch the Tony Awards last night, I am apparently a bad theatre person.  Or so I’m told.  You see, I’m actually lighting a show and making a paycheck right now, so I didn’t have a chance to sit and watch the Tony Awards show.  Did you watch, or are you baaaad like me?

The big lighting design awards last night were Best Lighting Design for a Play, and Best Lighting Design for a Musical.  In the PLAY category, the Tony was awarded to Neil Austin for Red by John Logan; in the MUSICAL category, the Tony was awarded to Kevin Adams for American Idiot by Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day and Michael Mayer.

Best Lighting Design for a Play: Red (Golden Theatre) by John Logan, lighting design by Neil Austin

Neil Austin – the LD behind the show:

Production images of Red:

(All images from Johan Persson, from the Neil Austin website)

About Red (from the Tony Award website):

Master American expressionist Mark Rothko (Alfred Molina) has just landed the biggest commission in the history of modern art. But when his young assistant (Eddie Redmayne) gains the confidence to challenge him, Rothko faces the agonizing possibility that his crowning achievement could also become his undoing. John Logan’s play is a searing portrait of an artist’s ambition and vulnerability as he tries to create a definitive work for an extraordinary setting.

Producers: Arielle Tepper Madover, Stephanie P. McClelland, Matthew Byam Shaw, Neal Street, Fox Theatricals, Ruth Hendel/Barbara Whitman, Philip Hagemann/Murray Rosenthal, The Donmar Warehouse

The images from the show are amazing.  From a few people who emailed me today to tell me about the show, it was also apparently equally amazing, and Austin’s work is stellar.

Best Lighting Design for a Musical: American Idiot (Berkeley Rep) by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer, Lighting Design by Kevin Adams

Kevin Adams, LD behind American Idiot:

Production images from American Idiot, from Kevin Adams’ website:

From the Tony Awards website about American Idiot:

American Idiot tells the exhilarating story of a new generation of young Americans as they struggle to find meaning in a post-9/11 world, in a journey borne along by songs of the band Green Day. The musical follows working-class characters from the suburbs to the city to the Middle East, as they seek redemption in a world filled with frustration. The cast of 19 is led by past Tony Award-winner John Gallagher, Jr.

Producers: Tom Hulce & Ira Pittelman, Ruth and Steven Hendel, Vivek J. Tiwary and Gary Kaplan, Aged in Wood and Burnt Umber, Scott Delman, Latitude Link, HOP Theatricals and Jeffrey Finn, Larry Welk, Bensinger Filerman and Moellenberg Taylor, Allan S. Gordon/Élan V. McAllister, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Awaken Entertainment, John Pinckard and John Domo

You’ve probably heard of Kevin Adams, if not Neil Austin too.  Kevin Adams got some press on JimOnLight.com last year for his design for Passing Strange (which has become one of my favorite designs ever).  I ran across an article in Live Design that asked Kevin five questions – this was my favorite two – students and people wanting to break into the lighting design industry, pay attention:

Live Design:  What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Kevin Adams:  I was never really interested in a “career,” so I never really asked for career advice. I realized early on that employment as a freelancer was always going to be up and down, so I’ve tried to make every day less about working and more about making things that, at the end of the day, satisfy me. And if other people respond to the work I make, then great.

Live Design:  And what’s the worst?

Kevin Adams: Probably telling myself that a “career” doesn’t matter.

Amazing.  I hope this gives a little bit of insight into the Best Lighting Design category of the Tony Awards.  It is so important to me that people know more than just who won the award!

The Live Design Excellence Awards – Voting is Open!

Live Design Online is hosting the 2010 Live Design Excellence Awards, as in previous years.  The award governs a selection of genres of individual design, and voters have been given an array of projects on which to vote.  The Live Design Online website has information on each of these projects – check them out before you vote!  I think I know people on at least half of these projects – which makes my vote even more difficult!

From Live Design Online’s Excellence Awards website (which is where you need to go to vote!):

The following pages contain the nominees for outstanding individual achievement in design for projects occurring from September 2008 to October 2009. These awards represent an opportunity for industry professionals to be recognized among their peers.

One winning project will be chosen in each of the following categories; please select one project in each category below. Winners will be featured in the May issue of Live Design and will be honored at the Broadway Master Classes that same month.

Architainment:
Grand Opening Of Atlantis
Pretend City’s Children’s Museum

Concert:
Exile Perfect Live 2008 Tour
Essence Awards 2009

Corporate Event:
Rolex Mentor And Protégé Gala At Hamlyn Hall Royal Opera House
Two Millennia Of Heroism

Live for Broadcast:
Junior Eurovision Song Contest
Grant Park Election Night Rally

Theatre Production:
Swan Lake At San Francisco Ballet
Rooms, A Rock Romance

Venues (Club or Lounge):
Freight & Salvage
Blaze Nightclub On Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Of The Seas

Venues (Theatre or Performance):
The Joint By Rouge
Jerome Robbins Theatre At Baryshnikov Arts Center

Check out last year’s Excellence Awards winners – some amazing works!

Lady GaGa’s Brit Awards Performance

Okay, to be honest, I’ve not really heard much of her music until I saw this video.  Lady GaGa performed her tunes “Telephone” and “Dance in the Dark” at the Brit Awards recently.  It’s the one where she gave thanks to Alexander McQueen, the fashion designer who just passed away.

Al Gurdon (Super Bowl LD) designed the lighting for that performance, and Miguel Ribiero from PRG created the wysiwyg for the performance.  Gentlemen, what a kick-ass job you did.  Congratulations on that work.

Check this out:

ETC Wins A PLASA 2009 Award for Innovation for the Selador Line!

selador_wins_PLASA_2009

Electronic Theatre Controls, maker of the Source Four line of luminaires and the Ion, Eos, Congo, and Express lines of control consoles, won a PLASA 2009 Award for Innovation at this year’s conference for the Selador line of LED fixtures.  Congratulations, ETC!

The press release from the ETC newsroom:

Lighting, dimming and controls manufacturer ETC is celebrating after winning a coveted Innovation Award for the Selador LED range of fixtures at this year’s PLASA.

The award judges congratulated the ETC Selador fixtures for “taking a significant step towards the ultimate goal of energy efficient incandescent replacement lighting.” They continued by pointing out that “ETC has developed this LED fixture with a colour output that gets close to the spectral curve of traditional incandescent source, thereby making LED technology a step closer to wider use in theatres and similar applications.”

Outside of the awards, the PLASA show was, says ETC’s Promotions & Advertising Manager for Europe, Rosi Marx, a complete success, with product specialists giving demonstrations throughout the four days. “Although visitor numbers seemed to be down, in general we had a very busy stand,” she adds.

The Selador demonstrations weren’t the only ones grabbing visitors’ attention: ETC’s Unison Mosaic architectural control system, SmartBar 2 portable dimming and Element lighting control console were all extremely popular.

Element is ETC’s newest lighting desk and is designed with smaller theatrical venues and schools in mind. This no-fuss system targets conventional lighting control in smaller venues. Perfect for student and volunteer staff, Element redefines the basics of lighting control. When conventional accessories, LED fixtures or moving lights are added to the rig, the press of a button accesses the On Demand ML Controls, giving direct control of complex devices via a mouse or touch screen.

I’m looking forward to what’s next with Selador!

selador_comparison

WYSIWYG Wins A PLASA 2009 Award for Innovation!

plasa-wyg-innovation

Our beloved WYSIWYG won a PLASA Award for Innovation at Earl’s Court in London this last weekend – a well-deserved win for both Cast Lighting (and everyone who busts their rears there) and all of us WYSIWYG users.  WYSIWYG Release 24 has amazing real-time viz.  Amazing.  Render-quality amazing.  I am a fan after all, but I’ve used so many software suites over the years (from MiniCAD to Vectorworks to AutoCAD to SoftPlot to AGI32 to DiaLUX to Sketchup to you name it, I think I’ve used it), and as a lighting designer in no matter what genre of lighting, I still love my WYSIWYG.

From the PLASA Show website:

Cast Group of Companies, for the WYSIWYG R24. The plethora of LED display technology caused Cast to re-evaluate its design and visualisation software which has led to a significant redesign of the graphics engine and fixture attributes. It now allows the full visualisation of modern display technology including video and LED screens and their content.

From Entertainment Technology News:

From among 62 products entered, last night CAST Software walked away with a coveted PLASA09 Award for Innovation at Earls Court in London. The Award “recognises products which advance the industry by demonstrating a new style of thinking, improving technical practice, or taking a key step forward in terms of safety,” according to the Professional Lighting And Sound Association.

The Award was presented by Adam Afriyie MP, Shadow Minister for Innovation, Universities and Skills and was judged by a panel of eight independent judges drawn from across the industry. In making the Award, the judges explained: “the plethora of LED display technology caused CAST to re-evaluate its design and visualisation software which has led to a significant redesign of the graphics engine and fixture attributes. It now allows the full visualisation of modern display technology including video and LED screens and their content.”

Bruce Freeman, chairman of CAST Software and Gil Densham, president, accepted the Award at which time Freeman said, “WYSIWYG R24 is a total bottom-up rethink that delivers advances so revolutionary that they are ahead of the leading-edge! To assure that the system demands of the new features and visualisation in R24 are met with the same WYSIWYG speed and dependability, CAST designed and built a brand new proprietary engine. Now production professionals can model all the hottest new LED fixtures on a per diode basis and display them running in realtime. R24’s new visualisation incorporates the inverse square law feature and volumetric beams so WYSIWYG’s realtime Shaded View is really virtually real!”

Congratulations, Cast!

BAD BOY Goes Out With CMT Music Awards

I just got a press release from Anne over at PRG about the Country Music Television Music Awards show, and Allen Branton’s lighting design for the show – using my current favorite fixture, the BAD BOY from PRG.  Check out the press release:

bad boy prg

PRG’s Bad Boy goes country on the CMT Music Awards

New Windsor, NY-June 29, 2009-When viewers tuned into this year’s CMT Music Awards, televised live on June 16th from the Sommet Center in Nashville, they were treated to more than thank you speeches and some of the hottest acts in country music. Production Designer Anne Brahic and Lighting Designer Allen Branton, whose team also handled the video content, provided a video and lighting driven alternative to traditional scenery while embracing the idea of negative space. Branton turned to the PRG Bad BoyTM luminaire for strong beam effects and to delineate the performers in this unique visual environment.

Branton had previously used the Bad Boys in his design for the MTV Movie Awards. There they played the role of Hollywood searchlights on the glamorous film-inspired set. “The Bad Boys worked really nicely on the MTV awards because of their smaller size but great intensity,” said Branton. “We used five of them on the floor to emulate movie premiere searchlights. They needed to be in scale with the set and there aren’t many smaller lights that have enough intensity to do that job.”

For the CMT Music Awards, Branton worked closely with Brahic on the ‘no set’ design consisting of video tile ribbons and a visual forest of Versa® Tubes floating in dark space. “We really tried to place the lights in a very surgical, restrained manner so as not to have the lighting and the video elements in competition with each other,” noted Branton. “The Bad Boys were a great tool because they had enough brightness to compete with the video even in vivid colors. We only needed three fixtures as backlight to define the performers against the video background.”

Felix Peralta, Lighting Director/Programmer for the CMT awards, agreed, saying, “They provided a big, hard-edge light that could cut through the video. Allen and I really like the 8″ aperture of the Bad Boy, it is a nice fat beam that comes out of the light; the output is tremendous. It really provides what Allen likes to call the ‘shock and awe’.”

PRG also provided the large quantity of VersaTubes, a primary feature of the design, along with five Mbox ExtremeTM media servers, which were programmed by Jason Rudolph. Rudolph used two servers for the Versa Tubes and three for the XL Video F-LED video tiles. “I have used the Mbox many times in the past and there are a lot of things I like about it,” said Rudolph. “The new version 3 hardware is a vast improvement. It is a good server with a lot of nice functions and it is pretty damn reliable.”

Branton, who worked closely with PRG well in advance of the event commented, “Everything came in and was ready to go, which was great because our time was limited. Everything was handled beautifully. It is really one of the most important things to me, getting people in the boat with you that you can trust and I trust PRG.”

ETC’s Eos Console Lights The Golden Globes

eoshighres

The Golden Globes awards show featured lighting control by the Eos from Electronic Theatre Controls of Middleton, WI this year; an Eos console and a 2X20 ETC Universal Fader Wing were used to control the over 700 channels of lighting used in this year’s awards show.  The press release is a great read:

The glamour in Hollywood’s annual awards shows is as much about specialty lighting as it is about red carpets and celebrities: from podium-spotlighting for the award recipients, to concert lighting for changing musical acts and moods, to house lighting for the audience, and effects lighting for broadcast requirements. ETC’s flagship lighting control system, Eos (itself an award winner, having taken top honors at the LDI, Showtech and PLASA tradeshows) handled all those challenges this year to make the recent Golden Globes and Academy Awards shine brighter.

For the 2009 Golden Globes, an Eos console – along with a 2×20 ETC Universal Fader Wing – controlled all of the conventional and practical lights. Board programmer Gil Samuelian built all of the cue- and submaster-contents in Blind and was then able to modify the lighting smoothly during rehearsals before the show. Once it came time to stage the whole show, everything went efficiently with Eos. Samuelian especially appreciated the ‘About’ function: “It’s one of my favorite tools. I can quickly see exactly what is influencing the current output, and it gives me detailed information on a selected target. It takes out the guess-work.”

An Eos console also controlled 700 channels of conventional dimming and hazers, as well as house-, architectural- and on-stage conventional lights for the Academy Awards on February 22nd, 2009. Backing up the Eos on this high-stakes, most-watched entertainment program in two years, was an Eos Remote Processor Unit and two 2×20 Universal Fader Wings with added additional playback options.

“The Academy Awards can be very unpredictable, so hands-on control and fast manual overrides are absolutely critical,” says Samuelian. “Eos easily handles that because of the number of physical faders that can be attached. The combination of motorized and non-motorized faders – both of which provide matching data – makes working in that sort of live environment manageable and clear. The displays provide a complete and easily understood picture of the current state of the rig.”

“These were some of my first shows on Eos,” says Samuelian, summing up the awards-show process this year, “and despite the pressure of the working environment, I found it fast and simple to make changes and keep up with the demand.”