Thoroughly Modern Millie Lighting


Active Member
Hello. This year my school's production is Thoroughly Modern Millie The Musical. I am the Lighitng Designer. I was wondering if any one had any ideas for me. Any Replies would be appreciated.

Our Lighting System Includes:
4 Rows of Red, White, Blue, Green, and Amber
34 Spot lights (about)
5 Red Scoops for the Cyc
5 Blue Scoops for the Cyc
15 Lights on the Catwalk
10 Shin Walls
Gobo Projectors are availble

On the Stage we have 4 Electrics (curcits) , on the catwalk we have a curcit going across, on each House wall we have an curcit for Shinwalls, and we have floor pockets on the stage.

We have an ETC 72/144

All of our lights are 1 to 1.

Joseph Naftal
EI High School
Lighting Designer


Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Sort of remember that play, interesting and fun one. Love the art, where does it take you. If it has not taken you so far, where is the director's vision taking you?

You say "Scoops for the Cyc", what makes them defined to lighting the cyc, is it a regional theater plot or just something that's tradition but in making art still flexible?

"Rows" of red/blue/Green/Amber/White... Do you mean a four circuit strip/cyc light? How long are the "rows" and one notes the definition above of "cyc" light for flexibility and or potential use where appropriate.

"15 Lights on the Catwalk
10 Shin Walls"

What's the focal length of a "Shin Wall" is it similar to that of a just plain "Light on the Catwalk"? Does of the "lights on the Catwalk", it matter if they are in the first FOH or 3rd' FOH what is used?

What's your size of stage, much less what's the design - some box set? What are we lighting on the assumed cyc if used?

Brass tacks. You were given the design - that's sparkling. First come up with your concept. As opposed to asking for ideas, what the heck do you want to do? What images and looks come up inside your mind for lighting and pop?

Than, in playing the secondary role of making your look and general intensity and other needs appear on stage, what's your real inventory? Do you know this? I am assuming that you don't yet in being given a show that you need to learn both design and fixtures for doing so in.

Not such a big thing, hopefully it's giving you a drive to learn thus in making art.

Start by giving an instrument inventory - what specifically does your theater have - are they 16", 18", 14", or 10" scoops we are talking about and with what wattage of lamp? What's of the FOH fixtures the mix of say 6x12, 6x16, and 6x22 amongst other types of lens your assortment.

In order to figure out what you have as paint brushes, one needs to know what paint brushes you have to work with beyond saying "I have 15 paint brushes."

Beyond this, make art first and don't worry about the lights or set yet. What do you see and vision now? What is it about this play you need to present and further wish to present by way of your art at this point?

Form follows function. First decide upon the need, than figure out how the heck you are going to get it given reality and or ask us how to and how to get that look you first must have an idea on. That's the art part of it.


Active Member
I just came off sound for a community theatre production of Millie. Fairly well funded but stuck with the LX rig in the school they rent. The LD's concept was mostly playing light against dark. Basically he created a mini scene-within-a-scene any time there was an opportunity for a cut away. Here's a couple examples:

When Meers calls Budda in the hotel lobby, he cut everything to half for the duration of the call.

When Trevor Gradon and Miss Dorothy meet he was picking the two of them out with spots but only for a line at a time in between Millie's lines.

When you don't have a lot to work with, you need to make sure things are as well lit as possible, and then figure out how many tricks you have up your sleeve. You can do a lot with a little, and you don't need to try every trick you've ever heard of, come up with one or two and make them fit your concept. Likely, as you work through the implementation you'll come up with more ways to do little extras.


I can't offer much more than to agree with both previous posts: you gotta do it yourself. Design is about mood, feeling, atmosphere, and most importantly, art. And that is something that can come from nowhere but inside yourself. This is the time for you to come up with a concept and execute it; if it works, great, if not, then you have learned something which will make future designs better. Especially in a high school theatre, where learning takes much higher precedence than Broadway-quality spectacle, must you take every opportunity to expand your experience. One day, you'll look back on whatever you come up with, no matter how amazing, and wonder, "God, why did I do that?" just like everyone else. That's what it's all about...learning and getting better at what you do. Take a risk. And remember: there is no wrong answer.

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