Northwestern’s “Starry Variety Show” features shining stars and dazzling designs

Northwestern University’s School of Communication hosted “A Starry Night”, an alumni benefit to raise funds and celebrate the department, as part of their 2018 spring events.

The stage was aglow with alumni stars such as Heather Headley (Broadway’s The Lion King), Ana Gasteyer (Saturday Night Live) and host Stephen Colbert (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert). Colbert also appeared in a video monologue alongside fellow alum Seth Meyers (Late Night with Seth Meyers).

Chicago Scenic collaborated with Northwestern MFA student designers to take their design concepts and bring them to life.

Chicago Scenic had several rolls in the event, including partical set design, and scenic construction and installation of the main deck, which featured a custom curved facade, the proscenium arch crafted from aluminum tube, and MDF-covered chrome vinyl shards with programmable internal LED lighting.

The proscenium posed a challenge because of required weight specifications, but Chicago Scenic’s metals and carpentry teams were up to the challenge. The truss needed to support the weight of the internal lighting, and was blacked out on the inside, outside and upstage faces to prevent light leak. The downstage face was a projection screen dressed in a scrim.

The shards in front of the screen added a dazzling effect, and were divided into large panels pre-wired with LED nodes. Chicago Scenic’s custom-designed pixel-mapped shards were programmed to twinkle at various times, in a variety of speeds and colors, and with a variety of effects.

Chicago Scenic performed as much work as possible offsite so the time the team spent in the Gala space was solely dedicated to efficient installation. With an event of this size and numerous moving pieces, Chicago Scenic needed to be as thorough as possible.

Four supervisors were assigned to oversee the load in and out, and local labor was employed to assemble and strike.

Project Manager Stefan Koniarz said this project especially demonstrated Chicago Scenic’s exceptional collaborative efforts. “We can take design concepts, like the ones from Northwestern MFA students, and make them a reality through technical design and feasibility.”

Koniarz noted communication as one of the key factors in the success of this project.

Starry 1 Web