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grandMA Gets “WICKED” on Broadway

There’s a grandMA in the house for “WICKED,” the Broadway musical about the untold story of the Witches of Oz. The long-running show at the Gershwin Theatre recently switched to a grandMA2 console for lighting and special effects control. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of the grandMA in North America.

“It was time to replace our previous system due to its age, and it made sense to update to a grandMA2,” says Brendan Quigley, show electrician. “All of the ‘WICKED shows worldwide are on the grandMA platform, so it was our turn to move up. The grandMA is proving to be both agile and rock solid.”

He notes that reliability is critical for a production that does eight shows a week and more than 400 performances a year, not counting rehearsals. “The previous control platforms were approaching 20 years old, so it was time to ensure that we had a stable system moving forward. We need a desk we can call on day after day to deliver the show our audience expects and wants to see.”

In an understatement, Quigley notes that the grandMA controls “a lot of gear” for the show. The lighting inventory boasts approximately 650 conventional fixtures; 78 VARI*LITEs, including 3000 Spots, 2000 Spots and 2000 Washes; and more than 250 scrollers of varying sizes. The console also controls a pair of Barco R6+ projectors using Catalyst software and Catalyst moving mirror heads, three SS6K dry ice machines, two Aquafog 3000 dry ice machines “and a smattering of other ancillary equipment,” says Quigley.

Even with all that gear, “we really aren’t pushing the limits of the grandMA2,” he reports. “We’ve only replicated the original show that was programmed on other systems. The grandMA2 has far more power than we will ever need or want. We’re very happy with it and know it will be state-of-the-art for the remainder of the run of ‘Wicked.’ It’s a stable desk that will serve our needs for years to come.”

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