Why We Like Them:
Since the company was launched in 1993, Bill Mensching's ShowMotion has proven to be the bedrock of set construction for Broadway and beyond. This full-service shop, located in Norwalk, CT, specializes in high-tech engineering, sophisticated motion control, steel and wood fabrication, and the building, painting, and electrifying of scenic elements for everything from live entertainment and industrial shows to themed environments and amusement parks. Recent Broadway musicals, ranging from 42nd Street and The Producers to the complicated scenic carousel designed by John Napier for Jane Eyre, prove how Mensching and ShowMotion step up to the plate and repeatedly solve the most challenging problems with technically sound solutions.
"What I like best is the challenge of mixing engineering with creativity."
The ShowMotion team
Photo: Stan Godlewski
What Their Peers Say About Them:
“They were great at carrying my concepts and ideas through to fruition,” says set designer Bob Crowley, who worked with ShowMotion on the building of the sets for the Tim Rice/Elton John version of Aida on Broadway and its current national US tour. “Some of my ideas can seem very silly and pretty insane at the time, yet Bill Mensching made sense of them, and he's a lovely man to boot. When you are doing a show like this for the first time, you never know if things will work or not, and they were great at making it all happen. The sets for Aida were very diverse with all kinds of tricks, textures, and illusions, and they helped make it all possible.”
In Their Own Words:
“My great-grandfather Henry had a horse-and-cart business hauling scenery for Vaudeville and Broadway,” says Mensching, a fourth-generation IATSE member. “My grandfather, William H. Mensching. unloaded trucks for him and eventually became the production carpenter for Billy Rose and for the Shuberts, as well as the Yiddish Theatre. He then became the first general foreman for the CBS Television Studios in New York. My father, William G. Mensching, did his apprenticeship at CBS, then went back to the theatre working at Feller Scenery across the street from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. He finished his career at Radio City Music Hall. I did my apprenticeship at Pete Feller's Canal Place shop in the Bronx in 1972. I never knew anything but the theatre; it was always in the house. The first set I saw in the shop was the opening mountains scene for The Sound of Music.
“What I like best,” he continues, “is the challenge of mixing engineering with creativity; working with creative people and bringing their ideas to reality. We stay current through people on our staff constantly looking at different ways to do things, and looking at new products on the Internet and in mailings. We try to integrate new technology with what works and what's practical along with our old hands-on experience in theatrical applications.”
What They're Doing Next:
Thoroughly Modern Millie for Broadway; Carnivale for Radio City Music Hall; a new front entrance to Madison Square Garden; an outdoor trellis for Flatotel on 52nd Street; Figs, a new Todd English restaurant at Mohegan Sun Casino; and a rigging package for the national tour of Blast.