110 in the Shade Glows on Broadway with ETC

by Jacob Coakley
NEW YORK — Tony-nominated lighting designer Chris Akerlind, created the complex effects for the revival of the Broadway musical 110 in the Shade (Studio 54, Roundabout Theatre Company), employing ETC’s new Eos control console.

NEW YORK — Tony-nominated lighting designer Chris Akerlind, created the complex effects for the revival of the Broadway musical 110 in the Shade (Studio 54, Roundabout Theatre Company), employing ETC’s new Eos control console.

The lighting design for the show centers on a large visual focal point — a glowing disk that evokes a 24-hour progression of atmospheric change — dawn, high noon, moonlight, storms and shade. The disk — a lightbox filled with automated wash fixtures — represents the play’s controlling motif of light and heat. “The entire lightplot on 110 consists of some 200 fixed units and between 40 or 50 moving lights (VL 2000 wash units), 20 of which are committed to the lightbox,” says Akerlind. There were very limited hanging positions for the rest of the lighting rig. Next to no overhead existed — just one first-electric, and wing positions were largely obstructed by scenic trees.”

The lighting of 110 in the Shade is critical to the plot development, since changes in light progress the action from scene to scene, denoting the passage of time. “The Eos console was key in driving the development of all the lighting looks,” says Akerlind. “From a creative standpoint, one of the things that was terrific on the Eos console was the color tracking. For example, we had to find the most effective way to get a beautiful chromatic transition between red and aqua. Instead of just starting at red and crossfading to aqua, we were actually able to plot the chromatic points of the journey that the lightbox made.

The show opened on May 9th and was subsequently nominated for a Tony for lighting design. Akerlind credits part of the success to the lighting expertise of the 110 in the Shade crew — associate lighting designer Ben Krall and assistant lighting designer Caroline Chao, production electrician Josh Weitzman and assistant production electrician John Wooding, as well as moving-light programmer Victor Seastone. “It’s one of the best groups I’ve encountered,” says Akerlind.

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Photo Courtesy of Joan Marcus.