Natasha Katz says the task of lighting the show involved taking a straightforward approach to the book scenes— “with no projections, real molding, and sets that move in front of the audience”—and employing a more uninhibited style for the rock scenes. If it sounds simple in theory, it proved to be more complicated in execution. “The challenging thing is that, normally, I really respond to a show’s music, and Andrew’s songs have so many key changes and rising and falling melodies, in addition to the rock element,” she says. Specifically referencing the numbers set in the classroom, such as “You’re in the Band,” which in Dewey recruits the kids, or the rehearsal version of “Stick it to the Man,” Katz says, “I would normally create effects with beams of light and color. But I couldn’t do that, because I had to leave that for the finale. The lighting of these scenes is more understated than I would normally do in a big musical.” Still, she notes, “These numbers still have some power behind them. ‘Stick it to the Man’ gets more intense as it goes along, with beams and a certain kind of brightness. Moments like this honor the rock-n-roll aesthetic, but nobody wanted to undercut the fact that the show is about the kids; if we had too many flashing lights, we might lose them.”
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