Theatre shows around the world are back, with disguise powering many impressive set designs

Theatres around the world are opening their doors with disguise’s industry-standard hardware-on-software platform sitting at the heart of various productions. Here are a few noteworthy productions that have resumed their ongoing tours or have opened up in new countries since the onset of the pandemic:

Beetlejuice opens in Korea

Opening in July 2021, Beetlejuice will be staged in Seoul, South Korea, at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts.

Based on the film directed by Tim Burton, Beetlejuice tells the story of Lydia Deetz, a strange and unusual teenager obsessed with the underworld, who is determined to help Beetlejuice – a demon caught between the living and the Netherworld.

The Korean production is a complete replica of the original Broadway production, except with an all-Korean cast, with Yoo Jun-Sang and Jeong Seong-Hwa sharing the title role with the entire production translated to Korean.

Just like in the original production, four disguise gx2s will power the set design and visual effects in the show which includes LED canvases showing projections of the show’s eerie elements like sandstorms.

“disguise has kind of revolutionised the way we think about projection design by making the environment we project in fully three-dimensional,” says the show’s Projection Designer Peter Nigrini. “I’m able to, to a large degree, treat the stage like a canvas and approach it like a painter. The sheer muscle power that disguise has, lets me change so much in disguise, instead of going back to the content. If I want to make that tiny piece of crooked crown moulding a different colour, my programmer can do that in real-time.”

The Broadway production will reopen in a new Theatre, the Marriott Marquis in the spring of 2022

Watch a clip of the show here

Ain’t Too Proud returns to Broadway

Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations is a Tony award-winning jukebox musical, released on Broadway in 2019. Using a combination of Brompton LED screens and disguise gx2c media servers, Production Set Designer Peter Nigrini captures the sense of Detroit in the 1960s and ’70s in the renowned Broadway show.

“We’ll be using disguise to change the settings of the LED processors on-the-fly and to refocus the projectors so that, throughout the course of the show, we won’t just be sending signals to the LED surface but also adjusting the response of the LED processors and cueing that as we go in,” says Projection Designer for the show Peter Nigrini.

Supplied by World Stage, the show will return to Broadway on October 16th 2021.

Watch a clip of the show here

Dear Evan Hansen returns to Broadway and the West End

Dear Evan Hansen will also resume its run at the West End’s Noel Coward Theatre on 26 October 2021 followed by its return to Broadway at the Music Box Theatre on December 11th 2021. Supplied by Stage Sound Services in the UK and World Stage in the US, a combination of disguise gx1, vx4, 2×4 and 4×4 solos will power projections for the show, highlighting the huge impact of social media on daily life and creating an immersive social media environment on stage for the actors.

Every surface of the performance space will be covered by content with eight projectors and 32 monitors deployed. Display surfaces include a front projection system, a series of portals and tracking panels, flat-panel LCD monitors and the stage floor. Each piece is automated and can be tracked in real-time. When the show was initially conceived in New York, the production team previsualised the design for the show in disguise Designer.

Learn more about Dear Evan Hansen in this case study

ANNA X at the Harold Pinter

London’s Harold Pinter theatre saw the debut of a “thrillingly directed” drama ANNA X in July 2021, with video and sound stealing the show according to critics’ reviews.

Immersed in an addictive world of front-row fashion shows, private views, and endless parties, Anna and Ariel find themselves struggling to keep up with New York’s dazzling social elite. How far will two outsiders go to construct the identities they want? And at what price?

Golden Globe Award-winner Emma Corrin (Netflix’s The Crown) and Royal Television Society’s 2019 Breakthrough star Nabhaan Rizwan (Informer, BBC) make their West End debuts in this searing tale of self-invention, determination, and deceit. Inspired by real events, ANNA X is a new play by Joseph Charlton (Brilliant Jerks, VAULT Festival), directed by Daniel Raggett (The Human Voice, Gate Theatre).

As the Guardian notes: “The story itself is a standard romantic sting but combines drama and music with such sophisticated – and stupendous – video projection techniques that it feels like a reconceived theatrical form or a mash-up of film, pop video and immersive ‘happening’.

“Video projections transform the set from moving city skylines to hotel rooms and glass-and-steel elevators at speed. Together with the graphics, it has an adrenalising effect while hypnotising us too, as if we are caught in an electronic fever dream.”

Two disguise solo media servers feed playback video from an Epson 15k projector and an Agile Arc360 camera into a 5m x 3.5m ROE 3.9mm LED wall.

Re-opening of Tina around the world – London 5th August

The Tony Award-nominated hit musical Tina is a jukebox musical featuring the music of Tina Turner and depicting her life from her humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, to her transformation into a rock ‘n roll star. This musical, presented in association with Tina Turner herself, received its world premiere in April 2018 in London, where it opened to five-star reviews and broke box office records at the Aldwych Theatre. In March 2019, the German production opened at Stage Operettenhaus in Hamburg, and the Dutch production opened at the Beatrix Theater, Utrecht, in February 2020 and Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in November 2020.

After a year and a half’s hiatus imposed by pandemic restrictions, Tina finally returned to stage in Utrecht in a limited capacity in June 2021 and London and Hamburg in August 2021, with Broadway planning to go ahead in October 2021. A third European production is also due to open at the Teatro Coliseum in Madrid, Spain in October 2021.

The show’s narrative is set in a dream space, as Tina reflects on her life and journey to stardom. “That allowed us to really embrace this dreamscape in our video,” Projection Designer Jeff Sugg explains. “Whenever we are trying to create a place or show a location in any way, we use a lot of depth of field elements which is something that I’ve never done in theatre and that I’ve actually never seen done before, frankly. A couple of elements in the image stay clear, but everything else is blurring into this depth of field as we tie them together through smoky transitions.”

The show features an overhead array of six Panasonic RZ21k projectors with three disguise 2x4pro media servers feeding playback video into a 10m x 5m Infiled 7mm LED screen at the back of the stage. A live camera segment is also included during Tina’s concert at the end of the show so the audience can see close-up shots of the performer, much like an IMAG experience during a live concert.

New Bob Marley Musical ‘Get Up Stand Up’ begins on the West End

The electrifying new production from writer Lee Hall, Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, bursts into life from October 2021 at the Lyric Theatre in London, celebrating the story of Jamaica’s global superstar. A euphoric company of performers fuse with the finest reggae musicians to bring this triumphant tale of passion, political unrest and progress from Trenchtown to the West End.

Two disguise gx 2 media servers have been chosen to power video playback and Notch graphics from two Panasonic RZ31k and four RZ21k projectors on a wireless 1.2mm LED screen.

Frozen arrives at West End’s Royal Drury Lane Theatre on the 27th August

The highest-grossing animated film of all time, Disney’s Frozen, made its London West End debut at the Royal Drury Lane Theatre, following its massive success on Broadway. Award-winning video design team FRAY Studio was tasked with delivering the production’s theatrical world of snow, ice and the Northern Lights for the stage.

The team had developed a technique to make the scenery look like stone or wood under normal theatre lighting, then magically transform into ice when a series of custom-made LED screens surfaces from beneath the stage.

Six disguise gx 2 servers were used to deliver beautiful Notch real-time graphics for the show, designed by FRAY. The machines’ powerful graphics processing allowed the team to fill the content blocks with extra details, grading and a level of finish that they could tweak to perfection. “By using the gx 2 we didn’t have to limit the art of the show,” says FRAY co-founder Adam Young.

Weaving throughout the show, across the sets 12m x 9m LED backdrop, is one of the production’s most jaw-dropping effects – a constantly shifting, immensely intricate and entirely live rendering of the Northern Lights. Night after night, the Aurora is unique and never repeats itself as it’s not on a loop. Rather, it’s live generated using the graphics engine Notch, meaning no two audiences will ever experience exactly the same show.

“The basic strength of just how much capacity and the efficiency with which disguise can process the huge group of instructions that I’m giving it at any one moment is amazing. disguise can turn my words into the light on stage with efficiency,” says Peter Nigrini, Projection Designer for Beetlejuice, Ain’t Too Proud and Dear Evan Hansen.

Credits

Beetlejuice in Korea

Projection designer: Peter Nigrini

Associate Projection Designer: Kate Ducey

Programmer: Matthew Houstle

Consulting Engineer: Ian Crawford

Korean Systems: Jun Park and Moca Studio

Ain’t Too Proud

Associates: Dan Vatsky & Robert Figueira

Lead animator: Andrew Bauer

Programmers: Matthew Houstle & Benjamin Keightley

Engineer: Ian Crawford

Dear Evan Hansen

Associate: Dan Scully

Lead animator: Andrew Bauer

Cast replacement animator: Ryan Belock                

Broadway/US Tour:

Programmer: Benjamin Keightley

Engineer: Asher Robinson

West-End/London tour

Associate: Mogzi Bromley-Morgans                      

Programmer: Katie Pitt

ANNA X

Video designers: Tal Yarden and Mikaela Liakata

Associate video designer and disguise programmer: Mogzi Bromley-Morgans

Tina

Projection and video designer: Jeff Sugg

Associate video designer and disguise programmer: Mogzi Bromley-Morgans

Get Up Stand Up

Video designer: Tal Yarden

Associate video designer: Mogzi Bromley-Morgans

disguise programmer: Sam Lisher

Frozen

Video designers: Finn Ross and Adam Young

Video programmer: Jonathon Lyle

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