Editor's Note

Not Just a Flash in the Pan

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PLSN editor Nook SchoenfeldI have always had an affinity for strobes. Ever since I got into this biz, I have been fond of all kinds of these fixtures and watched them grow in wattage from small Xenon gas discharged units to Lightning Strikes to LED models that are just blinding. Strobe lights originated in 1931 using flashtubes with energy supplied from a capacitor, similar to a battery, but capable of charging and releasing energy much faster.

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On the Road

Jason Rothberg, Lighting Director for Sufjan Stevens

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Jason Rothberg, Lighting Director for Sufjan Stevens. Photo: Debi MoenTOUR: “Carrie & Lowell” U.S. tour (April-June 2015); U.K./Europe (Aug.-Oct. 2015)

DESIGN: “I am operating the show that Marc Janowitz designed. The show has a simple and sexy look. Most songs are just one or two cues. I find it harder to do the simple looks — it can be difficult to make sure the lighting is stimulating and engaging enough for the audience while trying to not duplicate looks. However, during the last song of the show, ‘Blue Bucket of Gold,’ things get a little crazy.

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Publishers Note

Are You Looking for a Miracle In Your Life?

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Miracle FlightsThere are a lot of great things about running a magazine publishing company. For one thing, it gives you a medium to engage in discussions with others when you have an important topic on your mind that you feel is beneficial to share with others. Through the years, when I have penned a publisher’s note, it has always been about something in our industry. However, this time I am going off-script. I want to chat with you about an organization I have become aware of that is doing very good work for sick children around the country that you might want to know about.

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Features

In Memoriam: Dennis Sheehan, 1946-2015

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Dennis Sheehan accepted the Parnelli Award for Lifetime Achievement on Oct. 24, 2008.Dennis Sheehan, longtime tour manager for U2 and 2008 Parnelli Lifetime Achievement award winner, died May 27. He was 68. Sheehan had been in Los Angeles with U2 for a series of shows in the early part of the band’s 2015 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE tour. U2 had opened the first of five shows at the Forum the night before.

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Features

Prolight + Sound 2015 Show Report

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DTS at PL+S 2015The Prolight + Sound convention was held from April 15-18 along with the annual Musikmesse show for music instruments at one giant facility. The combined event drew more than 108,000 visitors from 146 countries to witness “a dazzling display of new products, stars and events presented by 2,257 exhibitors,” noted Detlef Braun, member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt. The PL+S exhibitor and attendee counts also showed strength, with a record 928 exhibitors and 43,054 attendees.

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Features

Fleetwood Mac: The Full-On Mac is Back

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FleetWood Mac (c) Steven JenningsI’m having lunch today with Paul “Arlo” Guthrie, who could well be the finest Australian export to the States since Vegemite. He has again assumed his recurring role as production designer for Fleetwood Mac’s latest world tour. The band wrapped up well over a year ago when one of the founding members, bassist John McVie, had to take a leave of absence due to health issues. But that was after another original member, Christine McVie, sat in with the band for a show in London last year. She had been missing from the lineup since 1998, and for the first time in 17 years, the five members from the powerhouse lineup of the 1970s were involved in the show. I also spoke with lighting director Chris Lose and with screens provider Danny O’Bryen about the tour.

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Features

Dennis Sheehan - 2008 Parnelli Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

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Dennis Sheehan has had a backstage pass to rock and roll history. For a quarter of a century he has shepherded U2 to the four corners of the globe and back again. Prior to that, he assisted Led Zeppelin on their historic tours. The one-time professional guitarist has also served a host of acts including Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Siouxie and the Banshees and members of the Sex Pistols, among many others.

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Inside Theatre

Scott Pask's Scenic Design for "Something Rotten" on Broadway

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 'Something Rotten' on Broadway, photo by Joan MarcusTony Award winner Scott Pask has tackled set design for large theatrical productions many times before, not to mention juggling multiple projects. He had five shows open this spring on Broadway, including the highly acclaimed Something Rotten!, the hilarious musical comedy about the birth of the musical genre in the Puritanical world of South England in 1595. The show was nominated for ten Tony Awards and won one for Best Featured Actor for the exuberant Christian Borle, and it is a true crowd pleaser that lovingly sends up the beginnings of musical theater through a satirical Shakespearean lens.

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Production Profile

The Rolling Stones Zip Code Tour

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The Rolling Stones Zip Code Tour photo by Steve Jennings“Since I started working with The Rolling Stones back in 1982,” says longtime lighting designer and show director, Patrick Woodroffe, “the background to the planning for a tour would always be the same. The band would get together and ask a question. ‘Should we go on tour?’ If the answer was ‘Yes,’ they would then commit to a year and a half on the road, and we’d be off. Mark Fisher and I would design a production, spending millions and millions of dollars on the grounds that this would be amortized over 160 performances or whatever. But they don’t work like that now.”

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Production Profile

The Deconstruction of Rush

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As these photos by Steve Jennings illustrate, the idea for the 2015 R40 tour was to go backwards in time...Rush hit the road last month for what they are calling the continuation of R40 — celebrating 40 years as a band. Parnelli award winning production designer Howard Ungerleider actually explains that he is entering his 41st year with the band, having been brought into the fray back in 1974 as he says, “to teach a new band how to tour.” But what is separating this tour from any other Rush show is they are touring behind a theme this time. They are “Deconstructing” their career live — as each song they play takes you back one more step in their long, storied career.

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