Near the beginning of the original London production of Love Never Dies, the transition from the derelict, black and white boardwalk into the fully illuminated and colorful amusement park was breathtaking. Also, in the recent Broadway production of 1984, the revelation that Winston and Julia had been under surveillance the entire time was heart-stopping. The small, simple box that comprised the entire set for 90% of the show suddenly exploded, with the ceiling and walls flying away to reveal the camera operators and then the vast and blindingly white interior of Room 101.
Beowulf Boritt's work on Therese Raquin that Roundabout did back in 2015 was something else. An entire room (furniture and all) was lowered from the rafters.
Love this thread, as I've always had a fascination with the mechanics of moving from one set to another in stage shows. Miss Saigon has some impressive ones for me, especially the transition into the Bangkok street scene and the entire dream sequence.Also, a very simple but memorable one for me -- the transition into the sewers in the 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls.
The set changes in “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” were amazing! A technological marvel!
A few I loved: 1) My Fair Lady, when the mansion appeared and moved forward. Know it was just a scrim going up, but still got me2) Memphis-From DJ booth to "Steal Your Rock and Roll"3) Beetlejuice-revealing of house4) Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
Not Broadway, but I saw a college production of Eurydice, and Eurydice's entrance to the Underworld made my jaw hit the floor.It was a two level set, and on the upper level were these wooden meshed slats that would slide left and right to reveal the Father, the Nasty Interesting Man's apartment, etc. Then, when Eurydice enters, the slats unmeshed, and Eurydice walked through them as it rained. Not sure if I'd call it costume or set, but when the company lets the sand fall out of their sleeves when they "return to the ashes" in Indecent, I cried.
I've always been a sucker for the Ozdust Ballroom scene change in Wicked when the green lights pop on the proscenium- simple but effective.
Here are a few that quickly come to mind:Angles in America: When Prior is given another chance at life and returns from Heaven. The transition and the way he came though the ceiling of his hospital room and lands back in the bed. Breathtaking!Hadestown: the set change during Wait for MeOklahoma: the blackouts and video projections, especially Judd and Curley sceneFiddler on the Roof (current London revival) the final scene when the villagers are fleeing Anatevka, as the scene ends: blackout and the music stops mid note.The Inheritance: end of part 1- the scene at the houseThe Curious Case of the Dog in the Nighttime: the decent into the London Underground stationHarry Potter: the first-time travel sequenceSunset Blvd: the decent of the mansion for the first timeLes Misérables: when the barricade slides in from both wings, meshing together and then begin to rotate. Also, Javier’s suicide.
Are only shows we personally saw valid? Surely the emergence of Loveland in the original production of Follies was the greatest scene change, ever.
Grey Gardens, the end of act I, Big Edie finishes singing, Will You, standing in front of the exterior of the house. She's standing there in tears. Suddenly the house opens up and she's pulled backwards into the house which then closes back together like it's sucked her in and trapped her there. Act II opens years later with her still trapped there as an old woman.
Not exactly a scene change since nothing actually changes onstage, but one moment that will always stick with me is in The Pillowman, when it's first revealed that the 3 "walls" of the interrogation room are not actually walls but are scrims and the stories begin being played out behind them.
The first one that came to my mind was actually from the original production of "Carrie": After the destruction scene, Carrie is standing on a pedestal and slowly a ridiculously gigantic staircase gets lowered from above around her and her mother walks slowly down that staircase to her daughter.Also (though technically not a scene change) the act 1 finale of "Sunday in the park with George" when all the characters sing "Sunday" and slowly move to their spot in the painting, which then comes down in front of them, framing the scene.
Also the final scene of Three Tall Women when the rear wall of the set goes up and reveals a mirror, which then tilts slowly and reflects the bedroom. The effect was stunning.
Some transitions that stand out to me are scene changes that happen with shows at The Public Theater. Phylicia Rashad was in a play at The Public Theater called Head of Passes. Towards the end of the play, she has a monologue. During this monologue-actually, I can't remember if this was the end of the show or right before intermission-but during her monologue, the set slowly sinks down into water. By the end of her monologue, I think she is standing in water, and the house around her also sinks down. I couldn't figure out how they did it, but it was incredible to watch. Rachel Weisz was also in a production at The Public called Plenty, There was this incredible element to the final tableaux of the show where a wall was slowly lowered and two actors (Weisz and someone else, I can't remember who at the moment) were on a slanted platform that made the stage look enormous. I've been in that space before and it made it look..at least three times the size that the space actually is. It was beautiful.
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