Broadway Bounty Hunter is an action-comedy musical written by Tony nominee Joe Iconis, which stars Annie Golden as a struggling actress who becomes a bounty hunter and travels to the jungles of South America through a strange turn of fate. Inspired by retro exploitation films and kung fu movies, Broadway Bounty Hunter is heavy on action with plenty of funk and soul music performed by a live band to add to the excitement. The show, which ran from July 23rd to August 18th, 2019, was directed and choreographed by Jennifer Warner and featured lighting design by Co-Lighting Directors Peggy Eisenhauer and Jules Fisher. Packing all the action of a big musical production into the small, off-Broadway Greenwich House Theater required a powerful yet compact lighting fixture with advanced features.
Co-Lighting Directors Peggy Eisenhauer and Jules Fisher deployed versatile, compact Martin MAC Allure Profile lighting fixtures to give Broadway Bounty Hunter a larger-than-life feel.
The Allure’s powerful RGBW LED engine provided all the brightness of a big Broadway production with fine color mixing to create just the right mood for every scene. The fixture’s wide zoom range was ideal for getting the right look in such a compact space, and the rotating gobo wheel and four-facet prism provided dazzling effects. Notably, the Allure’s advanced P3 control capabilities allowed Eisenhauer and Fisher to add an extra layer of immersion by augmenting video elements in the show with subtle synchronized lighting.
Beyond their technical demands, Eisenhauer and Fisher had several practical requirements in choosing a fixture to light Broadway Bounty Hunter. According to Fisher, working in a small theater without the usual extra space above the stage and to the sides required an ultra-compact solution.
Equally important to the lighting team was the MAC Allure’s extremely low noise output. Unlike concerts, where the sound of the lighting fixtures is usually masked by the music, theater productions require absolute silence to maintain a sense of immersion and allow the actors on stage to focus.
“What the Martin MAC Allure gives us is amazing flexibility for an insane amount of different locations and looks and design feels, from big production numbers to very intimate moments,” said Director and Choreographer Jennifer Warner. “It’s a very environmental production. The Allure lets us spill out into the house and isolate in ways that are very exciting for the audience, and really gets me all the flexibility I need to bring what comes into my imagination of what a scene should be. The Allure lets you realize that in many, many different ways.”
“Our brilliant video designer, Brad Peterson, got together with us and talked about how we could extend the video into the lighting rig using the articulation of the Allures as ‘fingers’ reaching out from the video,” said Lighting Director Peggy Eisenhauer. “With just some simple edge content to his main image, we were able to express the pixels into the backlighting in a way that we hope created a complete shape of light around the performers. Our goal was to make it feel like it’s coming around the performance. Nothing particularly pointed or isolated, just to blend it as much as we could.”
“This is a very small theater with no fly-space,” said Lighting Director Jules Fisher. “Stage right, there’s no wing space. There’s a wall a few inches offstage, and how were we going to get the kind of exciting lighting that related to the music in such a tiny space? Today, people are used to good lighting, whether it’s theater or television-type lighting. We had to mimic that in this tiny space, and it was a complicated problem.”
“Quietness, small size and reliability are so key in the theater, because Broadway theaters are never going to get bigger,” added Eisenhauer. “Lighting is only going to be squeezed in more and more. And the responsibility of being silent in the theater is so specific that we tend to choose fixtures based on those attributes first. Then, you add the quality of light, the control and the dynamic range of the fixtures, and now you’ve got the whole package.”