“The Cher Show,” a jukebox musical showcasing the career of the entertainment icon, has opened at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre with a video systems package from WorldStage.
The production traces the life of Cher by using three actresses to portray her as “Babe,” “Lady” and “Star.” The stage set, featuring lots of sparkle and reflective elements, comprises automated scenic pieces with lighting and video capabilities. The ever-changing set is a backdrop for many of Cher’s most famous performances, including memorable turns on “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour” and Britain’s “Top of the Pops.”
Scenic elements include a pair of curved flipper-motion walls with faceted mirrors on one side and Ayrton IntelliPix-R luminaires on the other, curtains and layered scenic pieces that serve as projection screens, and a full stage drop with a laser-cut hole pattern. In addition, a unique transparent upstage LED wall consisting of 160 ROE Visual Hybrid 18 panels with integrated LED Spotlights was supplied by WorldStage.
WorldStage also furnished four Epson 25,000-lumen laser projectors, three Notch enabled disguise 2x4pro media servers and one Notch enabled disguise gx1 media server, and four Panasonic PTZ cameras to capture live on-stage images for projection onto set pieces or display on the LED video wall.
WorldStage collaborated with Projection Designer Darrel Maloney on “The Cher Show” since its inception during an out-of-town run in Chicago last summer. As the production evolved and changed, WorldStage adapted the equipment package accordingly, expanding the number of ROE panels for Broadway and adding the disguise gx1. This helped balance the server load, which included tracking elements, MIDI and ArtNet Control as well as the usual video output, video input capabilities.
“WorldStage did an excellent job supporting the very complex system involving a wide array of video surfaces and display technologies with very different resolutions,” stated Maloney. “Being able to go the shop and preprogram was a real timesaver.”
WorldStage also demonstrated its problem-solving expertise when they were tasked with providing a solution for an issue related to using two banks of digital lighting fixtures for video playback. The fixtures, which were controlled via ArtNet protocol delivered by the disguise media server system and lighting console, evidenced sync issues that resulted in visible tearing of the video content. The cause was data overload at the fixtures due to the immense amount of data broadcast through the network.
The solution was found in a new software product built by WorldStage called Waltz™, which was used to parse the data so that each fixture only saw specific data, rather than the entire data output of the network. “Waltz™ is our proprietary show control platform that is extremely flexible and diverse in terms of its capabilities and features,” commented Lars Pedersen, WorldStage VP – Innovations & Technical Solutions.
“For this application, we added support to the software for Art-Net input, output, and processing to deliver the data in smaller chunks relevant only to those fixtures,” added Patrick Angle, the developer of Waltz™ at WorldStage. “Rather than all fixtures receiving all data, the software analyzed, deconstructed, and repackaged the data so each fixture only saw the information it needed to see.” The successful solution took one-day to implement once the issue was identified.
At WorldStage Tom Whipple was the Project Manager and Shannon Robinson the LED Technician. Patrick Angle was the Waltz™ developer.