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Best Scene Changes (Message Board)

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Best Scene Changes

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RippedMan
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Best Scene Changes #1
Posted: 6/3/20 at 2:47am

What are your favorite scene changes? I loved the "Company" revival - before all this happened - and loved "Angels in America" where they replaced the entire stage deck with another stage deck for Part 2. I've never seen something so technically impressive before. 

Videos if you have them! 

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Scarlet Leigh
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Best Scene Changes #2
Posted: 6/3/20 at 3:10am

The 1996 revival of "Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" in the opening number. I think it was all done mainly with lighting but it was impressive never the less the timing of it the change and the speed of the actors. 

The curtain raises to reveal a dark and tragic setting with actors all in black standing and kneeling on the stage. Really just something you'd see in a dark Greek tragedy. The curtain comes down and 3 second later... like not an exaggeration it is LITERALLY 3 seconds... the curtain raises back up to reveal the the set totally transformed into a bright and colorful comedy setting. And the fact that the actors on the stage were able to get off THAT fast is what really blows my mind. They must have made a MAD dash for the wings to make the tight timing. I'm not SAYING you can find footage of it on the net if you look with the right search words on youtube... buuuut.... the Whoopi version shows the scene change best

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bwayphreak234
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Best Scene Changes #3
Posted: 6/3/20 at 7:30am

The Lincoln Center My Fair Lady revival when Higgins' house appears for the first time, and when it begins to rotate!

I also thought that Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Therese Raquin a few years back had some of the most breathing scene changes I have ever seen on a stage. From on an upstage river that spanned the entire back half of the deck to rooms complete with furniture gracefully dropping in from the rafters to a floating loft in a starlit sky, it was just all around a real stunner.

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Lot666
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Best Scene Changes #4
Posted: 6/3/20 at 8:08am

The first show that comes to my mind is the production of 1984 at The Hudson Theatre a few years ago. Most of the show is performed within what appears to be a small, dingy interior space. As the story nears its climax and it is revealed that Big Brother has been watching Winston and Julia all along, the set literally flies apart - all of the walls grow much taller and move up and back, and all surfaces become bright white with extremely bright lighting as the protagonists find themselves inside the Ministry of Love. The change is both blinding and shocking.

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Updated On: 6/3/20 at 08:08 AM
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americanboy99
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Best Scene Changes #5
Posted: 6/3/20 at 8:27am

YERMA at the Armory- when the lights came up and there was suddenly a full living room, and Billie Piper was holding that baby... So good. 

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Wick3
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Best Scene Changes #6
Posted: 6/3/20 at 8:39am

Rocky musical when the Boxing ring enters the front orchestra area.

King and I revival at Lincoln Center where this huge ship just enters the stage and goes over the orchestra!

Broadway61004
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Best Scene Changes #7
Posted: 6/3/20 at 9:22am

Not sure if this technically counts as a scene change since nothing actually moves on the stage, but in The Pillowman, when you've been in the interrogation room for the first 30 minutes of the play thinking it's surrounded by three walls, and then suddenly you realize the walls are scrims and the stories begin playing out behind them.

Also, I love the first transition into Uganda in Book of Mormon.  It's so incredibly simple, but the exact slow speed in which the platform slowly rotates to downstage as the music changes to a sort of comedic "oh no" just perfectly highlights the moment and makes it absolutely more hysterical than it should be.

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JBroadway
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Best Scene Changes #8
Posted: 6/3/20 at 10:19am

There was a thread about this not too long ago: 

https://www.broadwayworld.com/board/readmessage.php?thread=1118802#

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Best Scene Changes #9
Posted: 6/3/20 at 10:38am

I had never seen that FORUM Opening. Delightful.

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Best Scene Changes #10
Posted: 6/3/20 at 10:53am

americanboy99 said: "YERMA at the Armory- when the lights came up and there was suddenly a full living room, and Billie Piper was holding that baby... So good."

If anyone wants the magic spoiled this article does a pretty good job explaining it: https://www.surfacemag.com/articles/simon-stone-talks-yerma-set-design/

I wish there was a video that showed it happening in night vision.

schubox
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Best Scene Changes #11
Posted: 6/3/20 at 11:38am

Maybe not all time best, but the first time I saw the Hadestown set expand I was pretty blown away

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Best Scene Changes #12
Posted: 6/3/20 at 11:54am

Even though I didn't care for the show, I will aways be amazed by the nursery from Mary Poppins.

NJGUY
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Best Scene Changes #13
Posted: 6/3/20 at 12:15pm

Overall I liked the cinematic sweep of the original Dreamgirls; I also liked the Roundabout's production of Machinal, with the rotating box set, sort of mirrored the spiraling of the lead character.

Broadway61004
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Best Scene Changes #14
Posted: 6/3/20 at 12:32pm

I absolutely hated the 2001 Follies revival, in part because everything leading up to Loveland was so sparse and dreary, however that did make the transition into the follies that much more emphatic, when suddenly this lavish set appears and transports you to a different world.  Still didn't make up for the first act and a half, but at least that particular transition was effective.

Dollypop
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Best Scene Changes #15
Posted: 6/3/20 at 1:03pm
Although it is now gone, the Franco Zeffirelli production of TOSACA at the Met. It started dawn breaking on the city of Rome as seen from the Castel Sant Angelo. Through the morning mist, various buildings emerged as the church bells of the city rang the hour. Then a guard walked through a doorway leading to a downstairs prison cell. As he climbed down the stairs, the entire stage floor rose as he was walking down, qrevealing the prison cell where Cavaradossi was being held.

Breathtaking!

Ironically, this stunning production was replaced with a virtual clone --minus this magical scenic effect.
"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)
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Skip23
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Best Scene Changes #16
Posted: 6/3/20 at 1:04pm

Broadway61004 said: "I absolutely hated the 2001 Follies revival, in part because everything leading up to Loveland was so sparse and dreary, however that did make the transition into the follies that much more emphatic, when suddenly this lavish set appears and transports you to a different world. Still didn't make up for the first act and a half, but at least that particular transition was effective."

 

All time best scene change:  Original Broadway FOLLIES - Change into Loveland. Jaw Dropping

 

Also:  Original Broadway PACIFIC OVERTURES - When the boat appears and spreads out like a Fan. 

 

Original A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC - when the amazing Birch Trees part and we see the mansion. 

 

ASPECTS OF LOVE - when the mountains appear  

 

PHANTOM - the grotto reveal 

 

 

 

 

 

Amalia Balash2
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Best Scene Changes #17
Posted: 6/3/20 at 1:32pm

When the set comes out of the floor in the original production of Pippin!!

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Best Scene Changes #18
Posted: 6/3/20 at 1:39pm

IDK if it's technically a scene change, but the wall lifting up halfway through the most recent Three Tall Women revival was such a brilliant way to indicate the shift that's just occurred, and it was also a totally bizarre optical illusion.

GrantGrant
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Best Scene Changes #19
Posted: 6/3/20 at 5:18pm

Scarlet Leigh said: "The 1996 revival of "Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" in the opening number. I think it was all done mainly with lighting but it was impressive never the less the timing of it the change and the speed of the actors.

The curtain raises to reveal a dark and tragic setting with actors all in black standing and kneeling on the stage. Really just something you'd see in a dark Greek tragedy. The curtain comes down and 3 second later... like not an exaggeration it is LITERALLY 3 seconds... the curtain raises back up to reveal the the set totally transformed into a bright and colorful comedy setting. And the fact that the actors on the stage were able to get off THAT fast is what really blows my mind. They must have made a MAD dash for the wings to make the tight timing. I'm not SAYING you can find footage of it on the net if you look with the right search words on youtube... buuuut.... the Whoopi version shows the scene change best
"

This reminds me of the opening of Act 2 of The Play that Goes Wrong when the curtain comes up with the cast and crew frantically resetting the set, then curtain comes down, a couple of seconds later the curtain comes back up with the set back to normal, and beat later the set falls apart again.

ImaginaryManticore
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Best Scene Changes #20
Posted: 6/3/20 at 5:35pm

It may be obvious, but I will always think of the moment the barricade appears in Les Mis. As spectacular as it is from a mechanical point of view - with the set rotating from vertical to horizontal while moving across the stage - it's how the moment's used that's important.

The stage is dark and empty except for Eponine. Right before she runs off, the two hulking pieces of the set start moving in from either side, looming over her so you can see the scale. It's the ramshackle Paris set, made of wheels and stairs and planks of wood, only now it's turning onto its side to become the barricade. The orchestra is blasting ominous music, but when the barricade has been built across the centre of the stage, the music changes to the hopeful 'Red and Black' theme, and the students run on and plant their red flag.

(And now I'm talking as if it's still used in current productions, when it's been replaced with the static and literal touring set. Damn.)

Updated On: 6/3/20 at 05:35 PM
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trentsketch
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Best Scene Changes #21
Posted: 6/3/20 at 5:51pm

The productions at the Armory tend to have some pretty impressive sets and scene changes with the space they have to work with. Yerma was stunning. I'll shout out The Harry Ape. They built a rotating platform around the audience and rolled in sets built out of steel shipping containers for the scenes on the boat. When they landed in NY, they started using the rest of the building all the way to the model cityscape on the back wall. 

I also second the mention of The Pillowman. The scrim reveal was really well done.

I know it's quite simple, but I still love the scene changes in Book of Mormon. Simple but effective.

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Best Scene Changes #22
Posted: 6/4/20 at 9:51pm

I thought the Act changes in the Roundabout's TIME AND THE CONWAYS were very memorable.  Set by Neil Patel.