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grandMA2 Controls Lighting and Video for Tony Award-Winning “Matilda The Musical”

The acclaimed “Matilda The Musical” packs the house at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre while backstage a grandMA2 console controls the conventional and moving lights, scrollers, LEDs and video cues for Tony Award-winning lighting designer Hugh Vanstone. A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive distributor of MA Lighting in North America.

“Matilda The Musical,” based on the novel by Roald Dahl, tells the story of an extraordinary girl who dreams about a better life and changing her destiny. It won Tony Awards for best book, featured actor, scenic design and lighting design and special Tony Honors for the young actresses who portray Matilda; the show also netted Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical. A Royal Shakespeare Company production, the show was transferred to Broadway after its West End London debut.

“It’s the second time I’ve worked with Hugh [Vanstone] on a transfer from the West End,” says lighting programmer David Arch, who previously worked with him on “Ghost.” “I had a pretty good idea of what to expect, the hardest part of any transfer is usually getting your head around someone else’s programming. The biggest challenge for me was the substitution of a couple of fixture types that had very different feature sets from what was used in London. Doug Mekanik at A.C.T support was a huge help when it came time to clone them into the show file.”

Hugh and Joel [Schier] the US Lighting Associate worked every day finessing and making the necessary cue and timing changes.

“As well as the lighting package, video, lasers, confetti, haze and footlight pop-ups are all controlled from the grandMA2. We are using time-code on some of the big production numbers as well as sending and receiving midi show control triggers to sync with various sound effects.”

“Matilda The Musical” was David’s first Broadway show on the grandMA2. “It’s been really great,” he says. “They’ve implemented some new features recently with the Theater community in mind. I found myself using “Part Cues” and “Blind Preview Edit” everyday.”

Laura Frank programmed the video cues for the show. “It’s a pretty simple video show,” she notes. “I use the grandMA2 to trigger a video switcher as well as a media server and tie everything to David [Arch's] master cue list – he does all the heavy lifting.”

She points out that the original London production did not run video through the system. “The video cues were in the media server,” she explains. “For Broadway the video components of the show were entirely rebuilt, and I put them on the grandMA2 so everything is triggered from the console. The platform is very fast, and the desk can do so much – it allowed me to manipulate the screen feedback structures so I could create a visual feedback and not numbers. I was only interacting with essential data, and that made for a very useful environment for me.”

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