It’s summer in the city and New Yorkers are celebrating at “Midsummer Night Swing” and “Lincoln Center Out of Doors.” WorldStage is providing lighting support for lighting designer Andrew Grant at the two annual festivals held in Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park. WorldStage was awarded the big summer package after supporting a number of Lincoln Center events earlier this year.
“Midsummer Night Swing” ran from June 23-July 11 in the outdoor ballroom at Damrosch Park. Now in its 27th season, it combined live music and dance lessons and encompassed genres from swing and tango to Latin and R&B. The 45th season of the free “Lincoln Center Out of Doors” is held July 22-August 9. It features performers as diverse as the Muscle Shoals All-Star Band, Randy Newman, the Chinese-American Arts Council Dancers, and Lyle Lovett and his Large Band.
“We enjoy a good relationship with Andrew and Lincoln Center,” notes WorldStage project manager Susanna Harris-Rea. “The summer festivals are a great way to showcase some of our newest products and some of our most efficient fixtures, which help meet Lincoln Center’s goal of lower power consumption though the use of more LED technology.”
“For me it’s all about having a relationship with the people you work with,” says Grant who heads Andrew Grant Lighting. “A lot of shops have gear, but the trust factor I have with Susanna and WorldStage is the big differentiator.”
For “Midsummer Night Swing” a huge dance floor for those taking lessons was erected in front of the stage and surrounded by scenic elements; a large free dance area extended into the park as well. A rear-projection screen on the stage acted a backdrop for the band and guest artists. “The whole park was one big dance environment that needed lighting and movement,” says Grant. “Lighting changed night to night as it followed the syncopation and style of the music.”
Philips Vari-Lite VL4000s were mounted behind the rear-projection screen to light the bandshell and create a layered look on the screen. Chauvet Nexus LED panels and GLP Impression X4S LED fixtures were on each of two delay-speaker towers and on a truss position further into the house. “The Nexus panels toned the audience and the floor of the plaza, providing a color wash and fun pixel-mapping eye candy,” says Harris-Rea. “The Impressions are very versatile – they have a nice zoom to wash bigger areas or just a small point and offer individual pixel control for eye candy as well.”
Most of the Impressions, along with numerous Color Kinetic ColorBlast LEDs, were mounted in the circle truss under the main rig over the stage. ColorBlasts were also positioned in the scenic elements.
Grant mounted Clay Paky Mythos on the upstage truss as backlights raking the backdrop. He also took advantage of their “gobo package, nice color mixing and a very narrow, very bright beam. The brightness of the Mythos is a big plus in an outdoor rig.”
Full-size grandMA and grandMA light consoles were networked together for lighting control. WorldStage also worked with Lincoln Center to create custom corregated plastic housings to protect exposed fixtures from inclement weather.
When Damrosch Park transitions to “Lincoln Center Out of Doors” the dance floor is removed and 2,600 seats are set up. “All the focus moves to the stage,” Grant explains. “The shows are longer, and it’s all about catering to the act. All the Impressions move to the stage, and we add five more VL4000s, most of them in the downstage truss. This gives us the opportunity to do a lot of layering. The fixture has really cool animation effects and a great gobo package. It’s really bright and has a huge field-angle range.”
Grant will also consider how the addition of cameras will affect fixture deployment. “Last year we did three live streams, and this year we’ll be up to six. Some shows run from afternoon to night, so we have to be able to capture all the different light levels on camera. The rig is a toolbox, and WorldStage has given me everything I wanted.”
At Lincoln Center, Randall Etheredge is the director of production. At WorldStage Terry Jackson is vice president of lighting. Andrew Grant’s team includes programmer Jason Marin and master electrician Sarah Thiboutot.
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.