When the new musical FELA! opened in November, it marked the Broadway debut of the PRG V676â„¢ lighting console. The groundbreaking musical and the pioneering console both won rave reviews. PRG worked closely with Lighting Designer Robert Wierzel and Automated Lighting Programmer Timothy Rogers on this distinctive production.
FELA!, directed and choreographed by Tony® Award winner Bill T. Jones, is a musical about the controversial life of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti. Jones charged the design team, which also includes Sound Designer Robert Kaplowitz, Projection Designer Peter Nigrini and Scenic/Costume Designer Marina Draghici, with the task of transforming the Eugene O'Neill Theatre into Fela's Shrine Club in Nigeria.
Wierzel explained, “When you enter the theatre, you are immediately aware of being inside the club. For our production, there is nearly as much lighting equipment in the theatre house as there is on-stage. We use LED fixtures in the orchestra and on the anteroom walls, wrapping the entire room in color.” Onstage, Wierzel has an LED backwall and a large automated lighting system. Of the new console, Wierzel said, “The desk is so flexible and fast, the designer doesn't get delayed with programming issues. You can tell that a lot of time was spent on the design of the front panel because it is really well laid out. This was particularly apparent when using a feature like the effects engine, which we used a lot on this show.”
Rogers added, “The rehearsal process was very organic; things were always changing and evolving. I found the V676 worked well, allowing me to work very quickly. I could easily adjust to the changes. The thing I like the best is that it brings a lot of features to the surface that used to be hidden or menu-driven. Even though it was a new hardware platform, it absolutely sped up the programming process. The buttons, the flexible monitors, everything just seems to be in the proper place. And it is really well made, the hardware is robust ”
Both Wierzel and Rogers were pleased with the level of support they received from PRG. Rogers commented, “PRG has been great about responding to questions and quickly incorporating feedback. They've been really great to work with.”
All photos ©Monique Carboni
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About Production Resource Group - Production Resource Group, L.L.C. (PRG) is the world's leading supplier of entertainment technology solutions to a wide range of markets, including concerts, corporate and trade shows, theatre, TV and film, special events, and permanent installations, such as theme parks, museums, retail stores, and performing arts centers. PRG provides integrated services and equipment including lighting, audio, video, scenery, and automation systems for these markets from more than 28 offices in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.