Friday, February 10, 2012

The Music Man!

Ah, The first set project of the 2012 Wichita Theatre season! Not only did we have a show going up, but massive renovations going on at the theatre. None the less in the grand tradition of Theatre the show went on!

My Projects included...
Two Train 1910 Train Cars,
The Interior of Paroo Home,
The Interior of the Library,
A Foot Bridge,
Along with all manner of vintage props and furniture.

Meridith Wilson's "The Music Man" begins on a train headed for River City Iowa July 4th 1912.
(The Rocky Island Express)
Because there was a crunch for time, we reused the "train sets" from White Christmas. The seats you see on the car, are out of the Balcony of the Wichita and date to 1939.  Being my specialty, I used several paint effects to create a early 1900's "express" travel car. My favorites being the "wear" on the lower wainscot, the "toughed fabric" on the upper wall and the effect of "motion" painted in the windows.
The end result is a well worn train car!

*  *  *

The Paroo House

Provably my favorite of the sets. (as it was the only one that turned out how I planned and expected.)  fairly simple, painted to look like period wall paper.
After the "wall paper had dried" I added a few Victorian silhouettes.
I will say the stand out pieces of this set are the blue velvet Loveseat/Settee and the upright piano! The Settee is on loan from a great antique store across the street from the Theatre "Ally Cat"
This was that one "I must have it" signature 'makes all the difference' piece I'm famous for. its so ornate, and period it makes me giddy!  However not to be out shined was the renovation of the Upright Piano.
 (What we wanted to do with it...)
 Actually this Piano is a veteran of the Wichita, its been in several productions and BELIEVE ME it showed. The front legs had snapped off (because the casters were not meant for frequent stage travel). The wood was in bad shape, and the keys yellowed beyond belief !

(Jordan googling "how to whiten piano keys" and Bryson revamping the legs.)
The old supports for the caster were pretty much nonexistent  at this point.  After jumping up and down yelling "TAKE A SAW TO IT!" on my part much debate, Bryson  decied the best way would be to add new footing supports made out of 2x4's to support the Piano. 

A couple screws later and a good furniture polishing all over and the piano was looking good as new. (its now one of my favorite in house props) and with 3 inch ball bearing casters it can glide all over stage with out a snag or fear of breaking! 
 (Jordan, Jeremy and Myself scrubbing the piano keys with toothpaste)
Look ma, no cavities! I swear 30 people most have walked by and said that as we covered and scrubbed the yellow keys. BUT believe it or not, the whitening toothpaste actually did help make the keys less yellow.

The Interior of the Madison Public Library
Let me say, this set was just helter-skelter. I can assure you readers that this is the first time the :Library" in a production "The Music Man" that it has had a "Spanish American revival" interior.  It started out with this idea of a Neo-gothic  Greek revival  Library interior with two double spiral staircases and a library ladder, with a huge stain glass window. and the only thing that made the final cut was the Window.
(Started with a base of white)
(Next painted the "light" primary colors of the window)
Darker colors painted on top of lighter to imitate real stained glass. Bryson stands next to it as an indicator of size. I am SO pleased with how it turned out, its gotten compliments all across the board with this piece.
(Contrary to popular belief, the "M" stands for 'Madison' not 'Mickey')
(Next we drew in the bookcases and books)
The began the tedious process of filling in the books and items on the shelves.
(Jennifer & Abby all 1912'ved up!) 
A  special thanks to cast member Jennifer A., She drew in books and came up with the most items on the shelves a globe, a stuffed owl, and a plaster bust of 'Aesop' (That cast member Kyle painted in beautifully!) The Library took so much time... so lets have a photo montage!
(-End Montage-)
Thanks to everyone in the pictures above who came and helped paint! It took a lot less time with all of us working together!

The Foot Bridge-
Seen here in a pink wash with the star curtain setting the mood.
Pretty simple 2x4" contstruction, a Special thanks to Larry, Bryson and "Coach" for putting it together.
I used a white base coat of paint, and while it was still wet blended in some medium brown with a sponge. to give it a "weathered" look. As a finishing touch I added two stings of white roses in bloom, its nice because in a lyric of the song "Till there was you" that takes place on the bridge Marion the Librarian sings-

"...And there was music,
And there were wonderful roses,
They tell me,
In sweet fragrant meadows of dawn, and dew."

*  *  *
All in all I have to say this has been a GREAT production.  I have enjoyed working with the cast and crew, and of course owe a huge thank you's to my faithful set dressing team (all featured in pictures above). For reason out of my hands I don't think I did justice to this shows over all feeling and period correct details, however I am very pleased with the outcome of my work.  I've had a lot of fun working with everyone in the cast and made some new friends along the way, so chalk another one up to success! It's also just amazing to think that this show is set 100 years ago in1912- and here we are in 2012. Its just mind boggling!



Dana@Mid2Mod said...

Everything looks great. Congratulations on another wonderful job.

wildcatfey said...

It was great fun working with you! Everything looks great. I'm just sorry that I can't watch from the house anymore!

Jim said...

That WAS a lot of work Mick! But I can tell by your 'voice' that it is all worth it in the end.
Piano keys.....when I was a kid it was one of my jobs to keep the ivory piano keys white by using.....baking soda! Just another product that works along with toothpaste! Makes sense though, eh?

Lorlore said...

Love the Music Man!!!! Wish I could see it!!!!!

Hollywood forever, Kevin said...

Micky, It is always a pleasure to come visit you and the on going trials and tribulations of theater life. Keep up the good work. There seem to be more talent at the Wichta Theater than all of Hollywood.

Amber Von Felts said...

Looks great! The window is really the show stealer huh? Fantastic Job!