The cast and crew of this year’s spring musical have both put a lot of work into preparing Ragtime for the East stage. A team of about 50 people have worked along crew heads to make the production come to life. With an industrial style setting, the set for Ragtime differs greatly from that of other musicals in the past.
One of the main unique aspects of this year’s set is the large LED screen which will be integrated into the production as a backdrop that projects images.
“We are pretty excited, it’s a cool window into the past and there’s something really special about looking at old pictures so we hope that that helps set the scene and gives the audience some sort of context,” said Mr. Peter Gambino, Technical Director. “It will be essentially the backdrop, so as normally you would come and see a colored backdrop, what we call the cyc, it will be a screen, and Mr. Weaver has designed a set that is very reminiscent of the Eugene Lee set with a lot of platforms and steel girders and then there will be a projection screen in the back.”
Listen to our Interview with Mr. Weaver about stage crew and the technical effects!
The lighting crew will also be integrating new LED lights which offer many different colors that can be used to add effects to a scene.
“The LEDs, we bought them for The Miracle Worker, and we have been learning how to use them properly from an alumnus who has been teaching us over the last few months,” said Lighting Crew Head, Naomi Burton (’17). “They are more state-of- the-art, not like standard, conventional lighting, easier to use and more professional.”
Because the LED screen will help set the scenes for the audience, the set design is much more simple in how it will portray setting.
“This show is minimal and abstract in a way…. There are very large pieces that represent different areas and I was able to use a lot of different techniques and a lot of texture to make sure that these simple pieces [of the set] have some sort of depth to them,” said Sam Brenner (’17), the scenic artist for the show. “We are putting in a 40-foot-wide by 21 feet high LED screen. Mr. Gambino has spent the last month or so editing these photos to be used as a backdrop instead of buying backdrops for the show, its these beautiful pictures to give the setting…You go to a certain location [in the play] without a lot of set.”
As well, the stage will portray the time of industrialization that was taking place during Ragtime through the detail and research that has been put into constructing the set.
“It’s the turn of the century so metal work has become really popular… everything keeps relating back to that time period because that’s really important to understand,” said Brenner. “It’s a lot of detail on how things were built back then or how were the windows designed, it changes throughout time, so to put someone in that setting you have to do a lot of research… there’s a lot of detail involved.”
As the LED screen makes it way on the set, and final touches are made, the stage will be ready to show off the hard work of many on opening night.