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Broadway: Cues called or show control?

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by DHSLXOP, Feb 20, 2007.

  1. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    Hi everyone, I have been wondering this for a while now, and was wondering if anyone knew the answer:

    Are lx, spot, rail, sound, etc. cues "called" from a stage manager, or run automatically from a show control system? (Specifically for the show "Wicked")

    If I posted this in the wrong place or theres another post about this somewhere else on this board, than I apologize in advance.

    Thanks
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I can just about guarantee everything is ran from an SM. I am sure there is some show control involved in getting sound/LX cues timed perfectly. I can also just about guarantee they are using spots with DMX control of douser/color/iris... I know that they have 3 s4 spots that all have scrollers on them. Usually you do not want a show control system to control flys/deck movements without some sort of dead man in the loop. Most broadway shows are ran more in the "old fashion" way. When you get into vegas however... all bets are off.
     
  3. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, most stuff is run off of SM, but as was stated, all of the followspots are probably DMX controlled in every way except the actual movement of the fixture itself. There is probably some follow cue stuff and some console linking, but I've seen some shows that have a 52 channel analog sound console, a light board for conventionals, and a light board for movers, and all of the cues are called by the SM and not really linked across systems.

    It mainly depends on how much control the SM wants to have over the show.

    Yeah...about vegas...I was reading a article on the show control of Cirque du Soleil's latest eneavours...specifically "KA"...and it's all computerized. There's central timecode generation, central lighting control, digital audio matricies, digital video servers, and so forth. But there are always dead man loops in the operation of the huge moving set pieces, and there are a number of followspot ops for the show as well.
     
  4. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    I dont know that many national theatre tours are using DMX color and iris spots. I know most of the stuff that comes to town does not load in there own spots and uses the house spots. I could understand color and dowser but iris should stay in the ops control IMHO for the same reason that the movement is not controlled via DMX, it can change.
     
  5. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    A touring show and a show loading into a Broadway theatre are completely different ball games. Most shows don't cary there own spots because there is no way of knowing where you spot position is going to be, some have a very steep short throw, others are HUGE throws. Touring shows are all about getting in as fast as possible, having somewhat of the same design that played in the broadway house, and getting out as fast as possible. They have to loose some things in that process. Linking of gear is usually the first thing lost. On broadway however, the skies the limit, and in vegas, you might as well go to venus.
     
  6. rapscaLLion

    rapscaLLion Active Member

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    Hey,

    Well the touring show of wicked has two spots that they cart around with them, that are operated from hidden booths at the sides of the stage for sidelight. The main spotlights are of course whatever is in the FOH booth for the particular theatre.

    As for the original question, I can tell you from working on both touring and permenent shows, most cues are called by the SM. Even if it is a showcontrol cue, it is still called by the SM, to A) Let everyone know what is happening, and B) to preserve the director's intentions of when the cue should happen.
    Even on LOTR in Toronto many of the cues where called by the fantastic SM, John Gray. For larger sequences where light/sound/turntable/elevator cues are packed too close together (ie-helm's deep), the SM called the initial cue which triggered the orchestra and a timecode, which most of the sound/light cues operated off of. From what I saw backstage (which wasn't a lot, since I mostly was just on the deck and not in the booths), there wasn't a lot (if any) completely automated scenery. Granted the only large rail cue was really the show curtain... and one large set piece that came down and opened up like an umbrella. But the grid was too packed with catwalks, lights, projectors, rigging for flying and safety cables for the ents...

    Sorry now I'm way off topic. Basically every show I've worked be it large or small has had SM calling all major cues, even when automation and linked systems are used. Vegas is a special case as always. But even in Vegas there is always a stage manager.
     
  7. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    Thank you everyone for your answers. So is there a light board operator (or multiple operators) that is (are) pressing the go button on the board? Or is it done differently?

    Thanks everyone for the help.
     
  8. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    For the touring shows that I've seen (4 or 5), there is a go monkey sitting at the light board. When there's two light boards (one for automated lights and one for conventionals), there's a go monkey at each board.
     
  9. snowie86

    snowie86 Member

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    SMs don't not call follow spots. I believe the M.E. does (On Tour)

    They do have the switchboard for warning the rail, deck, sound, etc.

    Wicked is amazing. I would love to work on that show one day
     
  10. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    One of my friends is the Head Elec for the Producers tour, he is traveling with 2 hogs and an Obsession II, all linked to one go button on one cue stack.
     
  11. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Well, I guess that different tours have different ways for doing things. The most recent tour that I saw (Movin' Out) had an Obsession II for conventionals and a Virtuoso moving light console, with a separate board op for each. But maybe the ML person was just watching the board to make no one screwed up and it was linked to the obsession, or the other way around. But there was a person on each board.
     
  12. brendonb11

    brendonb11 Member

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    Most broadway shows use two programmers (one conventionals & one movers) for tech and one "monkey" for daily goes. The boards are linked IF two separate boards are used. I've seen two grandMA's used for programming like ,the Madonna tour, then one goes on the road with 4 NSP's.

    It all boils down to money. Can you afford two operators for the show's whole run? Probably not.
     
  13. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    Thank you everyone for their help! This really explains a lot.
     
  14. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Every show I did in NY during my career cues were called by the Stage Manager. Even on a stage as comples as Radio City Music Hall the Stage Manager calls all cues.
     
  15. FamousLastWords

    FamousLastWords Member

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    On the Wicked National, the SM calls most cues. As for the spots, the cues are called by the spot #1 position which is usually an electrician that tours with the show, however, others can fill in that position (Head Advance Elec. for example) if the first spot is off.

    But it is generally safer if the show is called by a human. Although most rail cues are not run by carpenters anymore, most (at least BWay) are motor controlled. Hope this helps.
     
  16. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    I'm looking at the playbill from wicked that I got a few weeks ago, and it only shows one follow spot operator. Would this be the person who is calling the rest of the follow spot cues? Also, there are three electricians listed in here...the production electrician, the head electrician and the deck electrician/moving light operator. What are each of their responsibilities to the production?
    Thanks
     
  17. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Usually, the production electrician is the one who initially rigs everything, specs how stuff is circuited, and all that good stuff. Basically, gets the rig ready for the road. Usually, the production electrician does not travel with the show. The head electrician is the one who is in charge of the rig out on the road, they run load in/focus/strike and make sure that the plot is in working order. Usually they are also the board op. Shows with a lot of movers usually have another person who is specifically in charge of updating focus points in each venue and making sure all that gear is functioning properly. It really is on a show by show basis what each person does during the run. I have seen head elecs run follow spot, and other head elecs who sit in the bus and watch TV during the run.
     
  18. FamousLastWords

    FamousLastWords Member

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    I believe the rest of the spot ops are local hires. I think only one tours with the show. And again, im assuming here, but i would think that the spot op listed is the first position who calls cues for the others. The prod. electrician is the person who orignally put the rig together for the tour. Once the show is on the road though, the PE does not, to my knowledge, travel with the show. The Head Electrician is the person in charge (for the most part) of getting the rig into the air, getting it foucused, running with it, and striking it. They can also run one a board during the show (as there are usually several). As for the deck elec/ML op, they are the ML operator and a deck electrician. I don't see the electrician doing both of these jobs at once, so there is the possibility that he could oversee any local hire deck elecs. There are also other people involved with the process like the head advance electrician who, depending on the show, arrives at the space and can do anything from hang motor points to hang whatever fixtures the show/pe has deemed advance.
     
  19. scarlco

    scarlco Member

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    Actually, KA is called by the SM for the most part. Sure, the systems are all computerized, but they are primarily independant of one another, with a few exceptions. For instance, there are projected effects on the cntral "sand cliff deck" as it rotates (slews), and the coordinates of the deck are fed from the Automation system to the projection system via ethernet to keep everything in sync. The Automation system also sends data to sound to trigger certain effects. however, all Automation cues are called by the SM (or head Carp, depending) and manually started on one of 4 active Stage Technologies 'Nomad' control boards.

    just my 2 cents.
     

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