Frankie Valli’s LD Dean Egnater discusses Robe

Photo : Richard Beland

At 82 years old, legendary singer is still playing live and touring two weekends a month for most of the year with Robe as the first choice of moving light on the rider. Los Angeles-based Dean Egnater is Lighting Designer and tour manager and has been working for Valli for 15 years since originally being hired for a three week period in 2001.

Valli and his crew’s touring schedule includes a variety of venues encompassing theatres and arenas which are always sold-out, and for which the largest version of their lighting plot includes around 46-48 moving luminaires – Ideally an equal split between profiles and washes. Egnater has been using Robe fixtures for at least 10 years, when his regular US rental company – Hard Hit Productions from Elmira, New York first bought  the Robe ColorSpot 1200E ATs.

The Valli spec now includes Robe Pointes – which Egnater likes for their properly ‘hybrid’ functionality and the variety of different potential looks – even though he doesn’t use any of the gobos, prisms or other effects for this show. Egnater’s approach is to light the show in an almost architectural style, effectively building a set from the lighting, adding structure and form to the stage space with beams, intensity variations and colour dynamics plus the ability to change the focus and emphasis and follow the harmonies of the music.

Egnater needs to be able to close the space down for the intimate numbers and open it up again adding movement and excitement for the up-tempo moments.

Talking about Robe in general Egnater commented: “The colours are good and the movement is nice and smooth.” Robe is also the LD’s moving light of choice for reliability as well as versatility.

More recently, in Europe, he has used Robe BMFLs which he thinks are “outstanding lights.”

With 16 people onstage all needing to be constantly lit, Egnater creates the base washes using PAR cans then builds different looks and scenes with the moving elements on top of that. It’s a subtle and moderately paced show filled with elegant and considered lighting moves.

“The old school approach is completely appropriate,” he explained, adding that Valli performs the same show each time, note-for-note.

On tour, he swaps the moving lights as necessary according to the rig that is provided at each venue. The conventional lighting cues tend to stay the same as the rig is fairly constant, while the moving light cues will be updated according to the fixtures provided.

He when on to explain that that Robe has steadily become more of a key player in the world of moving lights in recent years. Having encountered them consistently in Europe and Asia for some time, he’s expects the recent increase in U.S. business to have the same effect at home.