A complete rig of VARI*LITE® fixtures are on the current Broadway national tour of Wicked.
Traveling with Wicked are 75 VARI*LITE fixtures consisting of 34 VL2000™ spot luminaires, 24 VL2000™ wash luminaires, and 17 VL3000™ spot luminaires. The light rig was increased by 20 VARI*LITE fixtures from the Broadway production to the tour.
"I was very happy when I heard that Wicked was going to be an all Vari-Lite automated rig," says Brendan Quigley, head electrician for the Wicked national tour. "I have a lot of respect for the Vari-Lite products, they are great, solid products."
The lighting design of Wicked was developed to achieve an "Oz-ian" effect. "I chose VARI*LITE® fixtures for the design of Wicked because of the large number of pattern options and the colors, especially the warm pastel range," says Kenneth Posner, lighting designer for Wicked. "The color of the set is actually gray and earth toned. All the color you see the scenery bathed in comes from lighting."
While traveling between destinations, the Wicked touring company travels in 14 semi-trucks. Traveling in these trucks can cause mechanical breakdowns in lighting fixtures that will delay the setup and performance, but Quigley comments, "All the VARI*LITE fixtures actually travel still connected to the Tomcat truss with only a motorcycle helmet strap to secure them. I have been with the Wicked production since day one, and have yet to repair a VL2000™ wash luminaire."
"We generally arrive on a Tuesday in the morning and start to load-in for a Wednesday evening performance," continues Quigley. "The specials play a big key to the show, and after travel they are almost spot-on when the lights get fired up. I can get the three overhead electrics up in the air in 45 minutes, and I can get the [side light] ladders up in less than an hour. So I get to concentrate on the front of house fixture focus, as these units are in different places for every city."
The Wicked tour will continue to blow across the nation, as it looks to sell-out in each city.