Poppins’ Projectors

More stories from Gavin Drees

Trashy Goals
March 15, 2021

Gavin Drees

Justin Grawe (12) sings with Denise Cherry (12) as the new projector shines down behind.

Lights. Projectors. Action.

In the middle of September on the first night of musical rehearsal, Duane and Michelle Philgreen announced that they planned to use projectors in the school’s upcoming musical, “Mary Poppins.”

“Video projection is where it’s at in Broadway,” director Duane Philgreen said.

Previously, musical backdrops were large paintings that cost up to $1,000 each. Crew members working backstage would pull these up and down depending on the scene.

They really add that whimsy and magic to the show.

— Tyler Salow (12)

In comparison, the new projector costs just over $10,000 and allows for animated scene changes and effects. If a certain musical required fire, for example, the projector would allow actors to appear to interact with the fire.

The new projector is four times as bright as the previous projector, which hadn’t been bright enough to use in previous musicals.

“Technology has just gotten so much better,” Duane Philgreen said. “When we got the old projector ten years ago, we thought it was a pretty cool projector. I just feel so lucky having a resource like this. When I’ve seen this in action, my jaw was just on the floor.”

The cast and crew of “Mary Poppins” also welcomed the projector once they saw it in action.

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“I loved the color and how vibrant and fun the transitions were,” senior and stage manager Tyler Salow said. “They really add that whimsy and magic to the show that I think we have been lacking.”

Students are in the process of learning how to use the program and run the projector, which will end up saving time. In the future, some students may learn how to create projections on their own and tailor it to the director’s every need. This saves the school money as the music department will no longer have to rent backdrops.

“It’s a learning curve for all of us,” Duane Philgreen said.

Despite the steep learning curve and an absence of a physical backdrop, Salow thinks the show will awe the audience.

Salow’s thoughts on what the audience should expect? “Be prepared for magic.”