VL1600 Profiles from Vari-Lite, originators of the modern moving head light fixture and the Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) entertainment lighting brand, brought a blend of rock and roll energy and theatrical dramatics for Herrick Goldman’s design for the Stages St. Louis production of the musical Aida.

When the team at STAGES had to replace some older fixtures at the last minute, production manager Josh Aune approached Logic Systems. “We used the Vari-Lites because of a recommendation from our local rental company,” explained Aune. “Their owner, Chip Self, has been our go to person for years and knew what our needs where.”

When approached for the production, Self recommended the Vari-Lite VL1600 Profile. He explained, “I’ve used the VL1600’s in a variety of applications. I continue to be impressed with the quality of the light, and the flexibility of the fixture.”

“What a wonderful upgrade!” Goldman added. “The VL1600s have a tunable white source with a wide colour temperature range. We have a number of different fixtures in the rig, and the first thing I needed to do was match all the whites, and the tunable source on the VL1600s made that easy.”

Aida, the Tony Award-winning musical by Elton John and Tim Rice, blends an eclectic selection of musical styles, from Motown to gospel to pop and beyond. In the production for STAGES St. Louis, award-winning director Luis Salgado wanted to build on this diversity with a stark contrast of styles. “I wanted to juxtapose the world of rock ‘n roll with the music and lighting against the avant-garde directing style and aesthetics of Robert Wilson,” said Salgado. “The disparities are just like the differences between the Egyptians and the Nubians, and I brought that that vision to my production at STAGES.”

“[Salgado] wanted the lighting to feel like an AC/DC concert,” said Goldman. “His choreography is so special and lends itself to dramatic ‘hits’ and poses, which of course informed the rock concert lighting that we all strived for.  We also used dramatic isolation, low angles for dance, and Disney colours and effects for big musical numbers.” The low angle front lighting was supplied by VL1600 Profiles, and the fixtures were perfect for this position, according to Goldman. “The zoom and optics are beautiful on the VL1600s, as are the shutters. The fixture is so very precise. This low angle position always conflicted with the proscenium arch so having quality shutters was a must.”

As well, because the fixtures were used as a low angle side front light, they provided both visibility and sculpting that made the colour rendering of the skin tones a priority. “We have a very diverse cast and colour temperature is important,” said Goldman.  “The VL source made this so easy.  The quality is beautiful.  I especially like being able to dial in a CMY colour and then modify it ‘behind’ the colour by tuning the source.”

The VL1600 Profile fixtures were provided to STAGES by Logic Systems, and Aune spoke highly of their assistance. “Logic [Systems] is and has been an outstanding company to work with and they continually go above and beyond for us every time.”

Photo credit: Herrick Goldman.

Share this story

May 2024 issue

2024 A1 Buyers Guide