Since opening on Broadway in 1972 and being turned into a smash-hit movie starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John, Grease has cemented its place in musical history. The unforgettable show is now back for a brand-new UK tour. Following its work on previous West End and touring runs of the show, WL has been called upon to supply the lighting equipment.
This current production of Grease stars Tom Parker (The Wanted) as Danny Zuko, alongside Danielle Hope as Sandy and Darren Day as the Teen Angel. The show is being lit by Mark Henderson and the Associate Lighting Designer is Stuart Porter. Porter commented: “I have worked on Grease since it was at the Piccadilly Theatre back in 2007. Mark has actually worked on it since it was at the Dominion Theatre back in 1993! As a result we both a strong connection to the piece.”
One of Porter’s main roles was to work alongside Henderson in order to create a rig that would be tourable. Porter added: “Mark has lit this show so many times now so is aware of the feel and what he wants to achieve in certain sections. As the content never changes, our role with the lighting is to upgrade the previous set up and update it with the very latest equipment.”
This upgrade included removing the previous scrollers and completely replacing these with Philips SL Par155 Zooms. Porter commented: “We wanted to upgrade the rig to LED for both the look of the show and the benefits of reduced heat and energy. The PAR155 Zooms were recommended by WL’s Technical Director Dave Isherwood and they have been a fantastic addition. They have made the show look slightly brighter and given it a vibrant feel.”
Alongside this, the LX team removed a previous bar of tungsten fixtures and replaced these with the Vari*Lite 1000 TS. Porter stateed: “The Vari*Lites are ideal for this show as they still retain that tungsten feel and are fairly weighty fixtures for a conventional rig. However they can be focused remotely which has been hugely beneficial on a show like this.”
Other fixtures on the rig include Martin Aura LEDs, Martin by Harman MAC Viper Washes and Martin by Harman MAC Viper Profiles. There were also Unique 2.1 Haze Machines and Jem Glaciator X-Stream Smoke Machines, while the show was programmed on an ETC Eos 4K console by Nick Simmons.
Porter commented: “We were very conscious that this was a touring rig and, as such, we had to keep it as streamlined as possible. Therefore we ensured that we drew on fixtures that we knew could deliver powerful results yet didn’t require vast quantities in order to do so.”
The tour began in Manchester back in March. It will continue to travel the UK for the rest of the year, concluding at Brighton Theatre Royal where it will spend the Christmas season.
Porter added: “It’s always a pleasure working on Grease as it really is a timeless show. We’ve been particularly lucky on this tour as we’ve worked with a brilliant team including Production Electrician Neil Anthony, Head of Touring Staff Andy Christie along with countless others. It’s also been great working with WL again who we have always used when lighting Grease and with whom we have a strong working relationship.”