Meet the team behind Madonna: The Celebration Tour

With the remit of celebrating the queen of pop’s entire career, Madonna’s large team brings together a very ambitious production – turning arenas around the world into her own personal playground and bringing a modern edge to her legendary back catalogue.

Working at TPi, we’ve become accustomed to the privilege of getting early access to venues on show days before the doors are open to the public, walking around some of the biggest stages while interviewing the hardworking working crews that put them together. However, as I dropped by The O2 at the end of 2023 and was greeted by Madonna’s Production Manager, Chris Coffie, who swiftly took me up onto The Celebration Tour’s stage, I can honestly say I’ve never stood on anything quite like it. Returning for their fourth Madonna tour design, with a massive stage set designed by STUFISH Entertainment Architects and a mega lighting rig designed by Rob Sinclair that sprawled out onto a good proportion of the venue floor, this was certainly a production that lived up to the expectations of celebrating the career of one of pop music’s biggest stars.

After a tour, TPi stopped by the office of Production Director, Mike Morobitto. Having worked with Madonna for almost 20 years, he is well versed in how her productions go from the initial planning stage to a tangible performance. With conversations about the show starting back in June 2022, the wider team spent the rest of that year pulling together an initial plan for the set and lighting and ensuring some key personnel were in place.

Although there were several familiar faces brought back from Madonna’s past touring campaigns, there were a few new names to the crew roster including Production Manager, Chris Coffie. “Chris and I have worked together a lot over the years,” stated Morobitto, outlining how he and Coffie divided their workload. “As this show continued to grow in the planning stage, it became clear we were going to need a few people to cover different areas. Chris can deal with a lot of the day-to-day duties while I can oversee a lot of bigger picture elements as well as keep a dialogue with the venders who I have the relationship with.”

Despite having the bird’s-eye view of the tour, Morobitto has a very hands-on approach to the show. “I deal with Madonna a lot as there is a familiarity, having worked on several tours over the years. I have a version of her mix on my own IEMs and I’m out on the floor during the sound checks and the show, so if she needs anything either I or one of her close team can aid her,” he revealed. “The role varies from tour to tour, but Mike and I constantly check in to ensure that all jobs are taken care of,” reflected Coffie. “It’s working well.”

In terms of suppliers, the production put its faith in TAIT for staging, PRG for scenic props, along with Czinkota Studios for additional props. Solotech supplied lighting and video, while Eighth Day Sound supplied audio with Light Initiative supplying additional LED elements and Strictly FX providing lasers and flames.  Beat the Street, Phoenix Bussing, Fly By Nite, Rock-It Global, Delico Catering, and Fourth Generation were also on board. 

Words: Stew Hume

Photos: Kevin Mazur