The Rolling Stones celebrate their years in the industry with their 50 & Counting tour in November and December. The last time Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood performed together as a band was in 2007 at London’s O2 Arena. This production also brings together longtime collaborators set designer Mark Fisher of Stufish and LD Patrick Woodroffe.
It’s an understatement to say that The Stones have set the bar high on innovative concert productions.
Woodroffe designed the lighting, working with longtime Stones lighting director Ethan Weber. Dave Hill programmed the lighting and will run the shows in England and the U.S. Dale “Opie” Skjerseth is production director.
Woodroffe shared a few production notes about the upcoming event. “ Mark Fisher has designed a wonderful stage based on the Stones’ lips and tongue logo. He has been assisted by his associate at Stufish, Ric Lipson. Along with many other elements in the show, it references the Stones’ live performance history, but still appears contemporary and fresh.
“Video producer Sam Pattinson has produced new video content for the show, again some with a taste of things our audiences have seen in the past, but lots of custom content created by a variety of different studios,” Woodroffe added.
Fisher explained the design process. “Patrick and I had several long meetings with Mick (Jagger) in which we developed the design. The usual process: loose sketches from me illustrating a wide range of ideas were narrowed down through our conversations to a single proposal that was worked up in more detail. This was then studied in animations and color illustrations, and when we felt we had it right, finally approved by all the interested parties.”
Dates are Nov. 25 and 29 at the London O2 Arena and Dec. 13 and 15 at the Newark (NJ) Prudential Center. The Dec. 15 show, entitled One More Shot, will be telecast live via pay-per-view on the WWE network.
On the night that he won the 2012 Parnelli Award for Set/Scenic Designer of the Year, which honored his design for Madonna at the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show, production designer Bruce Rodgers confirmed his involvement in the 2013 event as well.
Rodgers could not divulge too many details about the design for his seventh consecutive halftime show except to say that LD Leroy Bennett is the creative rep for the featured performer Beyoncé, with Al Gurdon as lighting designer. Ricky Kirshner is executive producer, with Hamish Hamilton as director. The 2013 halftime show takes place Feb. 3 at the Superdome in New Orleans.
Pictured: Bruce Rodgers with Mary Wilson, original member of The Supremes, at the Parnelli Awards in Las Vegas.
Photo by Debi Moen
Touring Career Workshop
LD Chris Lisle and Erik Parker are offering a free Touring Career Workshop Nov. 19 in Nashville. Production manager Ed Wannebo is keynote speaker, and panels are set up to help the independent contractor in the industry, from getting on the road, to accounting and tax planning to dealing with stress on the road. There’s even a spouse’s survival guide as well as a panel about how to get OFF the road. Lisle, the LD for Miranda Lambert, is also an adjunct instructor at Belmont University, where he teaches a class on Tour/Production Management.
For Lisle, it’s a way to give back to the industry. Worried about road warriors in their later years who have no means of retirement, he started this workshop last year and has since improved upon it this year. “There are plenty of seminars out there to teach those in our industry about production technology, whereas our vision is to educate them about general business and life necessities,” Lisle said. “Unless you work full time for a vendor with great benefits, you are left to fend for yourself. You are your own business!”
Lisle is juggling his time between this workshop and working on Miranda Lambert’s 2013 tour which starts in January with Dierks Bentley. Parker was one of Lisle’s lighting design students a few years back at Belmont. “I took note that he was a hard worker and put him out as LD for Billy Currington,” Lisle said. “He has a goal to eventually be a motivational style speaker — he has an amazing life story. When I decided to move forward with this idea last year, I knew I wanted him involved.” For more information, check out touringcareerworkshop.com.
Manilow on Broadway
LD Seth Jackson has a newly-acquired United Scenic Artists Card and is taking it to Broadway. The production designer for Barry Manilow’s 2012 world tour is designing Manilow on Broadway, which opens its curtains Jan. 18, 2013 at the St. James Theatre in New York. Manilow’s 17-performance run will mark the first time in 20 years that the singer/songwriter has appeared on the Great White Way. This will be Jackson’s Broadway debut.
“I’m so excited,” Jackson said. “I had to get the USA card when I worked at the Muny last summer in St. Louis. They had to let me in anyway because I was working under a contract house, but when I got to my interview they gave me the ‘test,’ because it cut the dues in half! Ha! I had to present three shows in total: plot, notes, paperwork, sketches, you name it, and go through my entire process with the committee. It was intense! Now, with Manilow, I’ll be adding Projection Design to my categories, since Manilow has so much video in it. It has been quite a year.”
The original Rascals — Felix Cavaliere, Gene Cornish, Eddie Brigati and Dino Danelli — are reuniting after 40 years with Once Upon A Dream, a combination concert/theatrical event produced and directed by musician/songwriter Steven “Little Steven” Van Zandt and LD Marc Brickman. It’s described as “a rock-and-soul dance party meets Jersey Boys.”
Brickman and Van Zandt used Kickstarter — an online funding platform for creative projects — to raise funds for the project. It surpassed its $100,000 goal, reaching $123,300 by press time. They’re ready to rock.
The production will feature the concert performance, along with archival video footage of the band, and actors acting out highlights in the band’s history. Brickman is not only the LD and a director, he is also taking on the role of “projection wizard.”
The show debuts Dec. 13-15 at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y. The theatre has been restored to its 1926 décor, but with today’s lighting, projection and sound equipment to enhance the event. (See related story, PLSN, Oct. 2012, page 68.)
By the way, backers on Kickstarter who pledged money at various sponsorship levels receive a wide range of experiences: meet and greets with the band, dinner with all including Brickman, autographs, a recording session tour and lunch with Van Zandt. Certain backers even end up “onstage,” so to speak, by having photos of their faces projected behind the band during the encore numbers.
The Rascals charted in the mid- to late 1960s with hits that frequently find themselves in ‘60s-era film soundtracks including “Beautiful Morning,” “Good Lovin’,” “Groovin’,” and “People Got to Be Free.”
LD Butch Allen recently designed lighting for country singer Eric Church’s The Blood, Sweat and Beers Tour, which kicked off in late October and runs into 2013. But the plot he’ll show you on his cellphone does not feature fixtures; his plot is a plot of dirt, his little farm in his front yard, which he recently planted with winter vegetables...
Pictured: LD Butch Allen at LDI 2012. Photo: Debi Moen
Barnes at the Movies
Scott Barnes continues to stay busy in the film studios, programming lighting for a variety of upcoming releases. “I programmed the film, R.I.P.D., in Boston last year, which is set for a summer 2013 release. It’s kind of a Men In Black meets Ghostbusters, with stars Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Bacon. After that, I worked with my friend Josh Thatcher on the next Star Trek movie. I finished up Iron Man 3 in Wilmington, NC, due out in May 2013. After Labor Day I started Hunger Games 2 with LD Mike Bauman.”