WorldStage is providing lighting support for two comedy series, MTV’s “Wild ’N Out” and Comedy Central’s “The President Show,” to long-time client, Lighting Designer Christopher Landy. WorldStage and Landy, a principal in Vibrant Design, LLC, have teamed on numerous broadcast projects over the years.
Landy has worked on four seasons of “Wild ’N Out,” which aired on MTV from 2005-2007 then returned in 2013. Hosted by Nick Cannon, the show pits two teams of hip-hop comedians in improv comedy games. The original run of the series introduced audiences to Kevin Hart, JB Smoove and Katt Williams. Now, a new lineup of comedians is battling to make their marks.
“We transformed Manhattan’s PlayStation Theater into the ‘Wild ‘’N Out Theater’ with a set by Tom Lenz. Following Cannon’s directive, we took a very theatrical approach to the lighting, quoting some of Broadways strongest and dramatic lighting looks,” says Landy.
“The show consists of a variety of games skits and musical acts. So we needed a versatile rig that could accommodate that. As I designed the rig, I was able to work with World Stage to incorporate new and innovative gear, giving the show an exciting and unique look.”
“This season there was a noticeable increase in the size and scope of the lighting package,” says Terry Jackson, Account Executive for WorldStage. “The lighting design team really upped the ‘wow’ element for the show’s return to the East Coast.”
Susanna Harris Rea, Project Manager at WorldStage, notes that the company “had to quickly react to design changes for this sizable package to keep pace with production, talent and venue considerations. All in all, given such a condensed schedule, we basically knocked the ball out of the park!”
WorldStage provided Landy with a package of Claypaky Mythos and Scenius fixtures, Martin MAC Auras, Vari*Lite VL3500 spots, Philips Color Kinetics TRX LED ColorBlasts and Chroma-Q Color Force LED Bricks plus grandMA2 consoles for lighting control.
Unlike traditional Broadway theaters, which are tall and narrow, the PlayStation Theater has very low grid and rigging restrictions. “That was probably the largest part of the puzzle,” says Landy.
Matthew Piercy was the Lighting Programmer for the series, Tim Donovan acted as Gaffer and Amy Starr the Producer for On-Site Productions.
Comedy Central’s new “The President Show” features Anthony Atamanuik as Donald Trump and Peter Grosz as Mike Pence. The show, which has comedy sketches and Trump-hosted talk show-style interviews with celebrities ranging from Deepak Chopra to Keith Olbermann, airs Thursdays at 11:30 pm. The show has recently been extended through the summer.
Ellen Waggett, a principal in Vibrant Design, LLC, designed the set at NEP Studio 54. “The show opens with a monologue in the press room, then moves to the Oval Office, with the interview segment set at Mar-a-lago,” explains Landy.
“Overall, we took a pretty realistic approach to both the set and the lighting. After all it’s the Oval Office, everyone knows what that should look like. The more realistic the design, the more bizarre it is that these characters are in this environment. That’s what make the show work on all levels.” Landy adds “the writing is amazing and it always allows us to step out of reality and create fun, dramatic and even bizarre lighting moments. It’s a fun show to light.”
Landy says that, and early directive from Atamanuik and the producers was to strive to get audience in a White House mood. “The audience enters through a ‘diplomatic room’ and the audience seating is all decked out with gold draperies and chandeliers. The producers wanted the audience to feel like they’re in the Trump White House,” he notes. “Ellen and I actually did the show ‘Broadway at the White House’ for President Obama last year, so I think we have a real feel for the place.”
WorldStage furnished Landy with Martin MAC Auras, Vari*Lite VL3500 spots, Philips Color Kinetics TRX LED ColorBlasts and Chroma-Q Color Force LED Bricks, Source Four and ARRI conventional packages, and grandMA2 consoles for lighting control.
“We were very pleased to be able to support Vibrant Design and the Comedy Central team again on ‘The President Show,’” says Jackson. “It’s always a pleasure working with the pro teams!”
Landy returns the compliment and adds that “Terry Jackson is always great to us no matter what budget we have. ‘Wild ’N Out’ had a substantial budget but ‘The President Show’ had a rather tight budget. Terry was able to accommodate us for each; he’s always great about working with our numbers.”
At WorldStage Alison May was the Project Manager. Lorrie Baranek was the Producer for Comedy Central.
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WorldStage Inc., the company created by the merger of Scharff Weisberg Inc and Video Applications Inc, continues a thirty-year legacy of providing clients the widest variety of entertainment technology coupled with conscientious and imaginative engineering services. WorldStage provides audio, video and lighting equipment and services to the event, theatrical, broadcast and brand experience markets nationally and internationally. For more information visit www.worldstage.com