Love Never Dies with Martin, MA and GLP

Posted on Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Having been seen by over 100 million people worldwide and taken more than US $5 billion at the box office, The Phantom of the Opera, is widely regarded as the single most successful piece of entertainment in history.

Now, the story of the Phantom continues in a brand new musical production, Love never Dies.

With an award winning creative team including Director Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Choreographer Graeme Murphy, Designer Gabriela Tylesova, Lighting Designer Nick Schlieper and one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s finest scores to date, Love never Dies is the first new Australian production of an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical in nearly twenty years. 

The show was not a huge success in London and so the Australian production not only contains many rewrites of the script, it is also a totally new design.

There are an extremely large amount of set electrics principally in the back wall which is eighteen metres wide and nine metres high.

“There are something like 4000 points in that; a mixture of fibre optics and bud lights cleverly built into two different size holes so you get three layers of perspective,” explained Nick Schlieper. “In the foreground section down at the bottom there are a couple of miles of rope light stripped of its outer plastic tube and routed into channels to follow intricate shapes. Most of the set electrics were done by Adelaide Festival Centre.”

Added to that are a couple of thousand festoon globes – again in three different sizes to give an illusion of depth – that coat the entire surround set which is a roller coaster.

Moving lights include six Martin MACIII, eight MAC2000 Performances and a set of eleven MAC700 fixtures that are built into the back of the proscenium arch which is shaped in the mask from Phantom of the Opera.

“It sits on the outer of three revolves so I use the MAC700’s as back lights when the mask is upstage, I use them while it’s actually revolving and then as front lights when the mask is downstage. Using the MACIII’s was a bit of an experiment as one thing I constantly struggle with is not being able to get a soft edge on the VL3500 spot. I’ve tried all sorts of things such as frost glass and a wavy edge gobo but you just get the damn things out of focus! So I trialed the MACIII’s in an area where I knew this would be a problem and although they don’t go fabulously soft, they do give me some control. Plus they are another step up on brightness on the Vari-lites.”

In the pit Nick is using six GLP Impression moving head LED’s mainly as footlights but occasionally to up-light scenery and he has been impressed by their performance.

“They are unbelievably bright for an LED fixture,” he commented. “They did their job brilliantly. They are cool and quiet which is important in the pit plus they move at incredible speeds.”

Control is by a MA Lighting MA2 programmed by Hugh Hamilton who was using the MA2 platform for the first time.

“The MA2 has got some fantastic features and the layout and ease of use is great,” he commented. “It’s very flexible and offers a new way of working with things which is good. The way the console deals with shutters or what it calls shapers, is fantastic. It’s also more command line based so you can write some pretty powerful macros which I used a lot.