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Best Scene Changes

SouthernCakes
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joined:7/29/19
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Best Scene Changes #1
Posted: 8/27/19 at 2:58pm
Anyone have a favorite transition?

I remember seeing an early preview of Motherf*cker With the Hat, and the couch came out of the stage vertically and then fell over. Was a cool transition.
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JBroadway
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Best Scene Changes #2
Posted: 8/27/19 at 3:10pm
By far the coolest scene change I’ve sever seen was in the National Theatre’s production of As You Like It a few years back (starring Rosalie Craig as Rosalind, actually).

The first few scenes took place in a huge office with lots of desks, chairs, etc. We couldn’t see it, but every piece of the office had been attached to a cable, and when we transition to the forest of Arden, the office walls split apart and all of furniture was dragged backward and up at once by the cables, until they were all suspended from the ceiling, which created the effect of a dense, menacing forest, except the trees were pieces of furniture hanging from the ceiling. It was very impressive.

If you search around the Internet in the right places, you might be able to find the NTLive recording of this production. Not that I condone such illegal behavior! Best Scene Changes
SouthernCakes
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Best Scene Changes #3
Posted: 8/27/19 at 4:05pm
That sounds amazing!

Also at the National: at the end of Angels Part 1 when the entire stage floor moves back and an entirely new stage floor is brought into place is just a technical marvel that had me gasping!
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OKBroadwayFan
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Best Scene Changes #4
Posted: 8/27/19 at 4:25pm

I found these pictures of the As You Like it Set.   It looks amazing.

http://www.victoriasadler.com/review-as-you-like-it-national-theatre-bold-if-flawed/

victoriafr
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joined:12/26/18
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Best Scene Changes #5
Posted: 8/27/19 at 4:46pm

The scene change into Hadestown at the end of Wait For Me is amazing.

Fordham2015
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Best Scene Changes #6
Posted: 8/27/19 at 5:05pm

I loved the moment in Lifespan of a Fact when Cannavale says "He's in my house!" and the projection drops to show Radcliffe sleeping on a couch in the living room

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Luminaire2
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Best Scene Changes #7
Posted: 8/27/19 at 5:27pm
I always found the transition from the opening number in 9 to 5 into the office was insanely impressive. It happens so quickly and seamlessly. Columns rising out, lights lowering, walls sliding in, desks. Amazing.
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JBroadway
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Best Scene Changes #8
Posted: 8/27/19 at 6:06pm
Anyone notice that 3 out of 6 productions mentioned in this thread so far were from the National Theatre? You can do a lot of cool things with the set when you have the kind of resources they have!
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FANtomFollies
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Best Scene Changes #9
Posted: 8/27/19 at 6:09pm

Basically the entire "Drowsy Chaperone".

Sampatches
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Best Scene Changes #10
Posted: 8/27/19 at 6:26pm
In Once on This Island when the sand is pulled away to reveal the hotel rug and then the rug is pulled away to reveal the ballroom floor
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Broadway Bob*
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Best Scene Changes #11
Posted: 8/27/19 at 6:37pm

It might seem cliché', but the first time the mansion silently floated from the rafters onto the Minskoff stage in SUNSET BLVD. was breathtaking and awe inspiring. That anything that huge could move so swiftly and quietly left me speechless.

<-- Tevye, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, March 2018
MollyJeanneMusic
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Best Scene Changes #12
Posted: 8/27/19 at 6:45pm

I love the transition from "So Big/So Small" into the Finale scene in Dear Evan Hansen.  The opening up of the back wall, the trees growing from the ground, with that epic playoff music...breathtaking.  Also, I'll second the Hadestown "Wait For Me" scene change - DEH and Hadestown are the only two shows to make me cry at a technical element.

I also really like the transition from the fight scene to "Santa Fe" in Newsies.  It's so seamless, and it's able to convey the tension as Crutchie is dragged away really well.

"It's you." "It's me. Orpheus." "Eurydice..." *crying*
SouthernCakes
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Best Scene Changes #13
Posted: 8/27/19 at 6:48pm
^iIs that in the Netflix’s one? I always hate when they record shows live because they very rarely show you the scene changes.
bwaylvsong
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Best Scene Changes #14
Posted: 8/27/19 at 7:16pm
There was a transition in Susan Stroman’s production of “The Merry Widow” at the Met during which the Can-Can dancers were lowered from the ceiling. I don’t remember the details beyond that, but it was a breathtaking moment.
ThaDudeAbides
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Best Scene Changes #15
Posted: 8/27/19 at 7:25pm

I don't know if it can really be called a scene change, since it happened at the top of the show, but the way the set came apart and sort of exploded at the beginning of Signature's recent "Curse of the Starving Class" was pretty magnificent. It was also the best part of the production.

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BeNice
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Best Scene Changes #16
Posted: 8/27/19 at 8:33pm
Set designer Anna Louiza’s transition in Honeymoon in Vegas from a jewelry counter that folds out into a hospital bed in seconds was pretty impressive.
MollyJeanneMusic
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Best Scene Changes #17
Posted: 8/27/19 at 8:47pm

SouthernCakes said: "^iIs that in the Netflix’s one? I always hate when they record shows live because they very rarely show you the scene changes."

I saw the show both on Broadway and on Netflix.  The Newsies filmers did a very good job of showing the scene changes - it also helps that the show itself did a great job with transitions between scenes.  One of my other favorites is the transition to Pulitzer's office for the first time - the newsies themselves move his desk and chairs onto the stage, which is a great visual metaphor for their situation at the beginning of a show.

"It's you." "It's me. Orpheus." "Eurydice..." *crying*
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stoptheworld38
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Best Scene Changes #18
Posted: 8/27/19 at 9:10pm

Every time in Come From Away when they switch from the plane set-up to a scene in Gander (e.g. the Tim Horton's). It's incredible of how much they can do just with 12 chairs, in a matter of literal seconds.

you found your heart but left a part of you behind <3
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JBroadway
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Best Scene Changes #19
Posted: 8/27/19 at 9:20pm

I thought of some more that I liked:

 

The Antipodes:
Kind of the opposite of usual. It took place in a writer's room over the course of weeks, but they deliberately do it so there is very little division between scenes, to blur the passage of time. The only way you could tell that time had passed was because of subtle shifts in physicality, and because the assistant who came in always had a different outfit. 

The Band's Visit:
The light moving around the cafe, so that the shadow moves, and it imitates the sun moving across the sky to show that time is passing. Brilliant. 

A Brief History of Women
This was a play at 59e59 last year. It was very low-tech, but extremely clever use of space to create multi-purpose set pieces that could quickly transform the room into something else. 

Hand to God
The reveal of the messed-up classroom was always brilliant. I loved the way they deliberately left some silence at the beginning of the scene to give the audience time to notice and laugh at all the little things around the room. 

She Loves Me
This isn't really a "scene change," but I saw this recent revival twice, and I always remember how everyone applauded when the curtain came up at the beginning of the show, simple because the set was so gorgeous to look at. 

Collective Rage 
Kind of similar to the one the OP mentioned. The scene changes would happen with some prop or piece of furniture just free-falling from the ceiling in a hilariously ungraceful way. 

Into the Woods 
Another one involving a forest: this was the concert they did at the Times Center back in the fall. They happened to be doing the show in an auditorium with a large floor-to-ceiling window instead of a back wall, and the window opened to a courtyard with trees. So they had the blinds down for the opening number, and when they finally go "into the woods" they just raised the blinds and revealed the tree-filled courtyard. It was a brilliant way to make use of their environment for a low-budget concert production. 

An Octoroon
This is more of a stage-effect than a scene change, but I think it technically did mark the change from one scene to another....the front of the stage had large piles of cotton swabs, and the the back well of the stage fell down, and the wind-rush from the wall falling blew all of the cotton swabs into the audience in a missive and forceful "cotton explosion." 

Also, yeah, the beginning of Curse of the Starving Class was stunning.

I'm sure I've also seen plenty of scene changes that were impressive more because of the way they were blocked, or scored, and delved into the emotions of a moment. But unfortunately those haven't stuck with me as much as the big flashy staging moments. 

AEA AGMA SM
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Best Scene Changes #20
Posted: 8/27/19 at 10:05pm

Phantom's overture transition remains a highlight for me.

I'd also add the first reveal of the castle in Beauty and the Beast at the Palace was pretty spectacular.

Did you know that every day Mexican gays cross our borders and unplug our brain-dead ladies?
Alex Kulak2
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Best Scene Changes #21
Posted: 8/27/19 at 10:26pm
Dead West Spring Awakening, at the end of Mama Who Bore Me. The boys all jump down onto their chairs, it’s perfectly timed with the lights, and we’re in a totally different location.
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SugarButterBroadway
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Best Scene Changes #22
Posted: 8/27/19 at 10:28pm
I will never forget the house dropping to reveal the Addams Family at the end of One Normal Night
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ggersten
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Best Scene Changes #23
Posted: 8/27/19 at 11:41pm
I did not see it but the revival of Our Town’s Act Three reveal sounds (and apparently smelled) breathtaking
bear88
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Best Scene Changes #24
Posted: 8/28/19 at 3:10am

stoptheworld38 said: "Every time in Come From Away when they switch from the plane set-up to a scene in Gander (e.g. the Tim Horton's). It's incredible of how much they can do just with 12 chairs, in a matter of literal seconds."

While I didn't love the show as much as many others did, Come From Away was sharply directed, designed and performed. (And I only saw it on tour from the back of the mezzanine.) I found the transitions both easy to follow and cleverly done. For a small, intimate show, it played surprisingly well in a large theater.

MollyJeanneMusic
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Best Scene Changes #25
Posted: 8/28/19 at 7:22am

How could I forget Higgins's house in the new My Fair Lady revival?

"It's you." "It's me. Orpheus." "Eurydice..." *crying*



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