Making the Skyline Sparkle
Burch, L. Jean, Stage Directions
Chicago Scenic makes a city sandwich for The Addams Family.
The production team for the Broadway-bound production of The Addams Family, which had its outof-town premiere at Chicago's Oriental Theatre, contracted with Chicago Scenic Studios to produce the upstage ground row. Designed by Julian Crouch and Phelim McDermott, the show's co-directors and co-designers, the units represent a view of New York City's Central Park and the cityscape behind it.
The ground row was made up of three layered units. The first layer was a tree line; the next two layers featured buildings. Each unit was 44 feet long, 7 feet 6 inches tall and less than 2 feet deep. Pulsar Chroma-Strips, built into troughs, light up the front of the buildings; behind the buildings' facades, grain of wheat lamps illuminate nearly 2,000 windows. The lights are run on multiple circuits and help set the time of day as they switch on and off throughout the performance.
The two building units were fabricated in 24 sections as a "sandwich"; the first layer was printed graphics on selfadhesive vinyl. The next layer was Vi-inch thick Sintra PVC board, and the final layer was a piece of Masonite. In each finished unit some lights shone softly through the vinyl while some poked through the surface to create brightly focused spots for streetlamps and headlights.
Chicago Scenic used a multi-step process to accomplish the varied effects. While the graphics were being printed, they used an in-house CNC machine to cut the registration marks and the windows on the Sintra; each window was approximately ½ inch …
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Publication information: Article title: Making the Skyline Sparkle. Contributors: Burch, L. Jean - Author. Magazine title: Stage Directions. Volume: 23. Issue: 5 Publication date: May 2010. Page number: 32. © Timeless Communications Feb 2009. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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