‘Cats’ is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot and today one of the most important musical stage playsin the world, along with ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ and ‘Les Miserables’. As the second longest-running show in Broadway history and the fourth longest-running West End musical, it has been performed in numerous locations throughout the world and translated into more than 20 languages.
After more than 20 years’ absence on the national stage, Gerardo Quiroz, a well-known Mexican actor, broadcaster and theatre producer, is once again presenting this spectacular production. The Mexican version of ‘Cats’ is staged in Mexico City at Teatro San Rafael, which features all the technological advances to improve production, and provides great comfort to the audience as well as the actors.
The musical tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make what is known as “the Jellicle choice”, where it is decided which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and be reborn into a new life. The show is entirely told through music and dance with virtually no spoken dialogue between the songs.
This increases the demands for the stage set, and in particular the lighting, to ensure that the audience can identify with the characters and the tale of the musical.
In order to fulfill the technical demands of this renowned production, Quiroz, together with lightning designer, Manolo Toledo, entrusted SGM’s distributor in Mexico, Representaciones de Audio S.A. de C.V. (RDA), with providing the lighting equipment. This consisted of a total of 40 SGM moving heads – 14 x Idea Moving LED 300, 14 x Idea Beam 300 and 12 x Giotto Spot 400 – together with 8 x P-5, SGM’s new generation LED fixture.
Toledo has been working with SGM products since the 90s and therefore felt confidence in the brand itself, which he describes as one of the most reliable on the market. He recalls a beach festival in Acapulco years ago, where he employed 12 SGM Galileo 4. “There was a storm overnight and all the lighting fixtures got soaked. The following day, we had to make a damage report and only five lamps from the 24 other brands were functioning, while surprisingly all the 12 Galileo 4’s ran without problems - SGM has been one of my favourite brands since then.”
Based on musical producer Quiroz’ desire for a renewed and different design from his first Cats musical 20 years ago, and the great scenery of Salvador Nuñez, Toledo was able to create atmosphere, depth, volume, contrast and appropriate textures for each musical number with the SGM products. “The high quality LEDs helped me refine the costumes and create the right atmosphere,” he says.
SGM Sales Manager of RDA, Estuardo Zarate, was excited to be chosen as supplier for a musical with such a global pedigree. “We knew immediately that we had the right equipment to enthrall the audience at this award-winning musical. The P-5, in particular, provided a highly effective glow over the entire staging,” explains Zarate. “With the SGM portfolio, RDA can influence the production values of leading mainstream artists, along with our new concept Global Solutions for Great Stages.”
The SGM P-5 wash light, with its 44 high power RGBW 10W LEDs, offers an extremely high output with low power consumption, and together with the SGM Idea Moving LED 300 it provides the setting with a great atmosphere and creates an outstanding colour combination between the audience seating and the stage. The SGM Idea Beam 300 and the SGM Giotto Spot 400 are used to illuminate the actors and enhance the interpretation of each of the characters. Toledo has become a big fan of the latest addition to the portfolio and states: “The P-5 is the crown jewel, the most powerful LED wash in its class. The power and quality of the LEDs in this lamp is just amazing!”
The biggest challenge for Toledo was the time schedule and the height of the stage. “I had to make many alterations to the original concept because things were changed on a daily basis and the premiere was coming up; but I had reassurance from the SGM team and the technical support of the theatre, so at the end of the day they were the heroes that created the magic.” Pleased with the result, the designer adds that “the confidence gained from years of using SGM products and creating quality shows with quiet equipment – and now with the benefits and economics of the LED – made me create what you see. You judge the result!”
“This was certainly a professional set of
equipment for an amazing high-end show,” concludes Zarate.