Imagineering Broadway – Part Six: Construction

This is the sixth in an 8-part series that looks at the process by which Broadway musicals are conceived, developed, and produced through the lens of the Imagineering Process.

Construction

Build the actual project, based on the design developed in the previous stages.

During the Construction stage, all of the pieces of the show are brought together so they can be staged and the show can (eventually) open. This includes set construction and build out, creation of costumes and props, and rehearsals.

As the various elements of the show are finalized, they are brought together through a series of technical rehearsals, rehearsals focused “on the technological aspects of the performance, in theatrical, musical, and filmed entertainment.” Some technical rehearsals (sometimes simply referred to as “tech”) involve a specific designer, such as the sound designer or lighting designer or production designer, running through their segment of the production while others use a “cue to cue” approach in which “the sound and lights are run with certain parts of scenes within the production. Usually a scene will start with the first few lines and then skip to the lines and staged blocking for the next cue.” Costumes can also be added during technical rehearsals, to test how the lighting works with the costumes, or in the case of elaborate costumes, to ensure that the actors are fully able to perform their roles, or in the case of a quick costume change, to confirm that the change fits within the timing of the scenes on stage.

Hamilton_the_Revolution

Describing Hamiton’s technical rehearsals, McCarter notes that Hamilton is one of the most complex productions ever staged in the Newman Theater”, with 1,300 cues according to production stage manager James Latus. The Hamilton production team faced difficult circumstances during their technical rehearsals and had “only eight working days left to get the show ready for its first audience.” As McCarter puts it, “Tech is grueling in the best of circumstances, and these were not the best of circumstances”

 

Previous Imagineering Broadway installments:

 

Sources:

 

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