ETC Energy Saving LED Lights for West Side Story

Thousands of venues around the globe have staged West Side Story, but none have approached the musical like the 49-seat Chance Theater in Anaheim, California. The theatre is doing West Side Story with a modern lighting twist: an all-LED rig, featuring ETC’s latest lighting innovations. The goal of the show is to demonstrate how to use ETC LED fixtures to achieve the look of a conventionally lit show – with full-spectrum colour and naturally rendered flesh tones – while achieving huge energy savings in a small theatre.


Show director Oanh Nguyen wanted to present a gritty, contemporary version of the classic West Side Story, so he and lighting designer KC Wilkerson discussed using a rig of practical, industrial fixtures – fluorescent, metal-halide, sodium – to achieve an edgier lighting design. A trip to the USITT 2012 tradeshow in Long Beach, California, changed all that.


Wilkerson saw a demonstration of ETC’s new Source Four LED fixture and the company’s Selador LED luminaires. “By the time I left USITT, I had decided that I wanted to pursue the idea of an all-LED show,” says Wilkerson. “To my knowledge, it had never been done before and I found that intriguing.” He brought Nguyen on board with the idea and began planning a design using only LEDs.


Faced with the typical budget worries of a theatre of its size, the Chance Theater enlisted a coalition of sponsors to make the show happen. Wilkerson contacted ETC dealer BCT Entertainment. “This was an untested area to some degree,” he notes, “and I was confident that they could deliver the support we were looking for.” BCT responded enthusiastically, purchasing 25 Source Four LED Lustr+ fixtures to be used on West Side Story’s rig. Chad Brook, CEO of BCT Entertainment, explains the company’s participation: “Our target market consists of lighting designers, video and film technical directors and producers. We thought this was a great way to bring attention to these new fixtures, considering it’s the first professional production we know of where every conventional fixture has been replaced by ETC’s LED fixtures.”


West Side Story also uses 28 Selador Classic LED luminaires – including Paletta, Vivid-R, Fire and Ice arrays – and four Selador Desire D40 Lustr+ fixtures, all on loan from Pomona College. An ETC Ion control desk with a Universal Fader Wing, also from Pomona College, controls the lighting.

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