July 25, 2007

Allentown, We Have a Problem

I call this: summer stock,theatre — Posted by KP @ 10:15 pm

M.J. demonstrates why the railway station is just a little too tall.

That’s the platform the cast is supposed to enter on. We knew what was going to happen as soon as the set was unloaded, but today the crew assembled the station stair unit, giving a visual element to the assessment that it’s HUUUUUGE!!!!

But I learned something today that made the whole set at least make a little more sense. This is a national tour set. See, I was under the impression that it was a large but second-rate touring set. So when I would hear things like some of the drops are over 50 feet tall, I remarked at the production meeting, “Where did they expect to take this, the Fox?” Well, uh, I guess they probably did. Maybe more than once, to more than one of the gargantuan Fox Theatres. Under its worn paint and chipped plywood detail work, I hadn’t noticed that it’s all made of steel. It also explains why certain corners weren’t cut in the design where you’d expect a touring set to be made more manageable. The railway station is a perfect example. It’s huge and there are so many pieces, why would anyone ever want to drag all that around and try to cram it into a variety of theatres? Well when you picture it on a national tour it seems perfectly reasonable. Of course the Robinson Theatre is not the Fox. Ideal height of a drop custom made for our theatre: 17 feet (height is a major inconvenience on every show). I believe the grid height is 36 feet, meaning a 53ft tall drop stood up on our stage would be several stories taller than the roof of the building.

I’m not sure exactly which tour the set is from, nor do I know anything about the tours of the original production of 42nd Street to make that determination, but the set has obviously been around the block a few times, so I wouldn’t doubt that it could be from the ’80s. I’ll have to see if I can find out. At any rate, this is one of the things we will have to figure out in the coming days.