PIGEON FORGE, TN – Country legend Dolly Parton may have become one of the world’s most widely recognized superstars, but through it all the Locust Ridge, Tennessee native has remained steadfastly true to her Smokey Mountain roots. Parton’s down home devotion was on full display at her recently concluded My People musical, which celebrates her brother Randy, sister Cassie and other family members who inspired her celebrated career.
As deeply rooted in family tradition as she is, however, Parton is a consummate entertainer who understands that even an old-time country show needs to make a bold theatrical statement to reach today’s audiences. This is why the director of My People called on lighting designer Susan Rose to add an extra visual dimension to the show’s stage. Rose drew on the power of two stalwart LED moving fixtures from Chauvet to accomplish this task despite the challenges presented by a small stage at Parton’s namesake Dollywood Theme Park.
“The director wanted to punch up the stage lighting for this show and give it a more theatrical touring kind of look that was less soft than what you normally see at this venue,” she said. “I was excited to do this with a lot of aerials and beams, but space was a factor given the size of the stage. I turned to Chauvet for LED fixtures that could give me this excitement without taking up a lot of space or drawing a lot of power.”
Rose chose the Q-Spot 560-LED moving yoke wash from CHAUVET Professional and the Intimidator Beam LED 350 from CHAUVET DJ to accomplish this goal. She flew four of the Q-Spot fixtures on overhead truss and arranged four Intimidator Beam effects on the floor, two on each side of the stage.
With their razor focus, 3-facet prism and richly saturated colors, the Q-Spot LED-560s helped Rose achieve what she calls “a big look on a small stage.” The fast-moving Intimidator Beam LED 350 complemented the overhead wash fixtures by shooting brilliant and intense beams up from the floor, thanks to its high output LED engine, advanced optics and sharp 4° beam angle.
“Shooting the stage beams in the air really worked very well to give the show a more dynamic look,” said Rose. “Everyone was very pleased with the production value of the lighting.”
Also adding to the production value was Rose’s well-known skill on a lighting console. Designing and programming on a Hog 3, she created about 180 cues for the show, all of which had to be precisely done to coordinate the lighting with the appearance of Dolly Parton on the video screen.
“Dolly interacted with the live cast through the video,” said Rose. “This meant the cueing had to be right on target. It was a fun show to do and a fun show to watch — and the dynamic excitement we got from our relatively small lighting rig played a big part in making this all happen.”