Barry Manilow’s new showroom in the Las Vegas Hilton, the Barry Manilow theatre, opens Feb. 24 for his year-long engagement, Manilow: The Music and Passion. High End Systems gear, supplied by PRG Las Vegas, outfit the theatre, including 6 DL1 digital light fixtures, 4 Catalyst Pro media servers, 19 x.Spots®, 24 Studio Color® 575s and a Wholehog® 3 console.

LD Seth Jackson and set designer Jim Lenahan had just a month to work on the show. Their design involves video, projection, and digital lighting effects. "Because of Celine Dion’s show and other heavy video-driven shows, we knew video was a big component. What we didn’t want to do was put up another LED wall," says Jackson. "That's where Catalyst came in. We wanted a theatrical line show with a very high-tech approach to it. We wanted to have scrims flying in and out and drops that flew. Rather than painted drops, we wanted it to be video driven to tie the two traditions together."

The DL1s will hang on the line sets over the main section of the stage on each side. "We’re using them to do beam effects in the air, we’re using them to light the band, we’re using them backwards to light several legs of scrim that we’re going to add imagery on to add depth from rear projection to scrim legs, and wherever else we come up with," Jackson explains.

Adds Lenahan, "We're using DL1s more on scenery, not on screens as much. I like the idea of having layers of video, layers of lighting, and being able to see through some pieces of scenery, with video on them and see other pieces behind to give some depth – that’s mostly what we're using DL1s to do."

The real focus of the show is on the digital imagery: projection and video content. Manilow knew what he wanted visually and provided Jackson and Lenahan with a "road map" for the visual and scenic content. They then worked with Bob Bonniol at Mode Studios, who developed their content list from standard shots and prepared them for projection. Using the Catalyst allowed Jackson the necessary flexibility in his design for a show that incorporates so much video, projection, as well as standard lighting.

Jackson describes how digital lighting has affected show design. "It opens up a lot of opportunities with the set, because you no longer have to make decisions that you’d normally make weeks out…. We have projection surfaces and placements of projection surfaces. But beyond that, the content can change from a verse to a chorus or at any moment in the show and the scenery can evolve as we go…. Or if something happens that Barry wanted to make a part of his show, we have that ability to immediately change the structure of the show without spending a fortune on equipment and gear and new drops and on and on. So the flexibility is just limitless." Jackson sums it up: "This is home for a year. Barry’s done everything in his live shows, so this allows us to go somewhere different because now the limits of touring are off the table. It’s a nice approach."

Joining Lenahan and Jackson on the lighting team are Stan Green as Catalyst programmer and Michael Renken as moving lights programmer.