First premiered in 2006 and later adapted as a concept album, Hadestown is a musical based on Greek mythology written and composed by singer and songwriter Anaïs Mitchell. Currently playing at the historic Walter Kerr Theater on Broadway, the musical has already won multiple awards, including a Tony for Best Lighting Design in a Musical. To evoke maximum emotion, the production required a sophisticated lighting solution with excellent color fidelity and near-silent operation.
Martin by HARMAN MAC Encore Series lighting fixtures allowed Lighting Designer Bradley King to bring Hadestown to life while contributing minimal noise. King applauds the MAC Encore fixtures for providing rich yet subtle colors, a key element in composing a lighting design that complements the depth of the music without distracting from the action on stage.
But on Broadway, it’s not enough for a light to provide great illumination. Just like the hushed audiences watching the performances, the equipment itself must respect the space and the art by contributing as little noise as possible. For this reason, King appreciates the MAC Encore Series’ near-silent operation.
“I think of the lighting design of Hadestown as a visual score for the music,” King says of his approach to designing the show. “Just as there are different instruments with different timbres, I am doing the same thing visually. I have different types of lights, I have color, I have angle, I have movement; and I am using that to compose a visual language for the show.”
“Especially with the Encore, one of my favorite things is the color fidelity,” says King. “The color is so specific, and I love specific color. Hadestown’s color palette is very restrained—there are many shades of white; it sort of runs from warm to cool, and the Encore has such fantastic color fidelity that all the lights match all the time and I’m confident in their ability to maintain that over a long run like we’ll have with Hadestown.”
“One of the best things about the Encore is it’s deathly quiet,” King says. “Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, our sound designers, joke with me that it’s actually our incandescent lights in this rig that are louder than the moving lights, because of things like lamp buzz and harmonics. So in a space as small as the Walter Kerr, where you can hear a pin drop in the quiet moments, having a really quiet light like the Encore is hugely important.”