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Jesus Christ Superstar

Newsgroups: Stagecraft mailing list
From: Gregory Cohen
Subject: Re: Jesus Christ Superstar questions

On Fri, 30 Sep 1994, Stagecraft mailing list wrote:

> Really-From: "Conklin, Stephen P (Steve)"
> At the end of the second act, a large cross (with Jesus already "nailed"
> to it) rises (hydraulically I assume ) from the deck. After his death, Jesus
> floats from the cross and rises, arms still outstretched. The cross begins
> to glow at the center, and as fiber optic "sparkles" spread from the center
> along the cross, the glow spreads also, until the entire cross has the
> appearance of red-hot iron. The effect was spectacular.
> Looking at the glowing cross, there were 'studs' sticking out of the front
> face at the three points where the actor was 'attached'. The entire front
> and sides of the cross glowed except for these studs. I don't really care
> about the fiber optic effect, but would like to know what material the cross
> was made from and how the lighting inside was done. The spread of the glow
> was gradual and seamless, leading me to believe that there were quite a few
> lamps inside and that many channels of dimming may have been used. My guess
> for the cross construction is that it was a fiberglass shell on top of a
> steel backplate which supported the studs on which the actor was supported.
> Does anyone out there know how this was built and lit?

Well, I know this message was posted like a million years ago in
cyberspace time, but I've been on the road and totally crazed working on
the Beauty and the Beast national/tours, so if others have replied,
please forgive me.

The cross is covered, I think with milk plexi. There are a lot of lamps
inside, and they are 6S20 lamps, in a total of seven circuits. There is
also a fan in the cross to deal with all of the heat the thing is putting
out. The cross was built by a man named Greg Stevens. If you decide
that you want the same effect for your production, I would suggest
calling the show's General Manager, Niko Assoicates in New York. THeir
number is (212) 382-3410. They should be able and willing to hook you up
with Greg.

> Also, is anyone familiar with the flying rig that was used? Since the
> actor's arms remained outstreched, he never turned or wobbled, and he
> remained upright and in the same position during the flight, I figure there
> may have been a frame supporting his arms and torso, which flew on a
> two-wire rig. The movement was strictly vertical.
> I can see that a frame like this could "plug" into the studs on the cross,
> and then be released when the time came to fly. One difficult aspect is that
> it would be hard to hide the frame with only a loincloth for a costume.

The flying was done by Foy. You can contact them with any questions
about it. I'm glad you liked the show, and I'd be happy to answer any
other questions you might have.

Gregory Cohen
Theatrical Lighting Designer, New York City

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