Oklahoma!

Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire IL   |    April 2018

Projection Design

  • Direction      Aaron Thielen
  • Lighting       Jesse Klug
  • Scenic          Kevin Depinet

This show was a 75th anniversary performance and used a minimal scenic design in conjunction with projections and lights to create the different locations in rural turn-of-the-century Oklahoma.  Because the surface expanded around the back of the audience, we had to use material that could be seen through in places - as you'll see the board op in one of the photos below.  Almost all of the content for the show was static images that slowly transitioned in support of the text and music.  We used mostly realistic composited vistas - with exception of the dream ballet which got quite surreal.

We used a variety of high-end projectors, from 9000 to 12000 lumens, to achieve a full 360 degree experience in the arena setting of the Marriott.  Fourteen projectors made up the system, controlled by five Watchout computers.  We projected on burlap which had a lovely diffused quality that was perfect for the rolling landscapes of Oklahoma. 

 

"The designers Kevin Depinet and Anthony Churchill have come up with a circular projection at the rear of this theater in the round, here used to create a sense of endless flat land, of flowers on the prairie where the June bugs zoom, of the possibilities of pasture. It’s not cutting-edge technology — it reminded me of the old display in the visitor’s center in Gettysburg, Pa. — but it’s done well, and it has not been done here often.

The ribbon became visible as the orchestra struck up a new set of orchestrations with more of a country flavor — heavier on the acoustic guitar and fiddles — and it connected one slice of statehood prairie in one time to another on the brink of becoming a territory. All around me, arms snaked around the backs of partners."

             -Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

Long Way Home

Q Brothers Collective & The Chicago Children's Choir, Chicago IL  |     February 2018

Projection Design

  • Direction      The Q Brothers Collective
  • Lighting       Nick Belley

This show as a modern hip-hop musical version of The Odyssey, by Homer.  Three heroes go through a magical journey through Chicago music genres - gospel, punk, house, and blues - to get to a rap competition.  Featuring the Q Brothers, several leads, and more than 70 Chicago Children's Choir members as the chorus, this show was a massive undertaking at The Studebaker Theatre in Chicago.

We used a large 20,000 lumen projector to accomplish a lot of different looks for this show.  There was a number of scenic elements and performers that had to be masked and we integrated a lot of moving video to look like pieces of the set.

 

 

Merrily We Roll Along

Porchlight Music Theatre, Chicago IL  |     January 2018

Projection Design

  • Direction      Michael Weber
  • Set Design   Jeff Kmiec & Greg Pinsoneault
  • Lighting       Denise Karczewski

This show is a rarely-seen musical that tells the story of three friends in reverse, starting in 1976 (this production actually began in 2018) and moving backwards to 1953.  The production used a bare set as a canvas for media to help audiences understand the times of each scene and better communicate the story in collaboration with the text, costumes, and detailed direction.

Merrily was a gargantuan undertaken that included projector mapping, static and moving images throughout the show, photo and video manipulations to indicate time and story, and a four projector system across the entirety of the set.

 

"This writer was also wowed visually at the very start, when Projection Designer Anthony Churchillbegins to show his stuff. A mosaic of images catapults the story from its mid-70’s time post to today—very today, replete with #MeToo signs, Trump in his most Orange Hitler stance, and more. How fun! Churchill’s ability to bottle the zeitgeist continues as the story rolls the clock back, even thinking to include that iconic clip of Lucy and Ethel trying to keep pace in the chocolate factory. Churchill’s eye for detail even included meshing a bridge image with the trim in the Ruth Page Performance Center, the Porchlight's new home. Just exquisite!"

     - Picture this Post, Amy Munice

"...but Merrily is the kind of show that was made for projections, and Anthony Churchill’s are exemplary: moving through time, setting the scene, making a joke, but never distracting."

    Chicagoland Musical Theatre, Patrikc O'Brien

"...using the smaller and very intimate stage of The Ruth Page Center For The Arts to its best advantage and the projections by Anthony Churchill were sheer perfection."

      - Around the Town Chicago, Alan Bresloff

 

Photos by Anthony Churchill & Porchlight Music Theatre

Harbur Gate

16th Street Theatre, Berwyn IL  |     January 2018

Projection Design

  • Direction      Ann Filmer
  • Set Design   Nicholas Schwartz
  • Lighting       Ben White

This production had a number of special effects using projectors that were specified in the text.  Additionally, the show had several distinct locations that used projections to indicate time and location.  Harbur Gate used two ultra-short throw projectors in the back and one high output projector over the audience that sync'd up to create a number of different looks on the small rep set.

"Tony Churchill created the projections that provide the sense of movement and heighten the tension."

        -Oak Park Wednesday Journal

 

Photos by Anthony Aicardi

 

Bridges of Madison County

Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire IL  |     Summer 2017

Projection Design

  • Direction      Nick Bowling
  • Set Design   Jeff Kmeic
  • Lighting       Jesse Klug

Bridges of Madison County used twelve projectors controlled with WatchOut 6 to project an image that was 350' x 9' in Marriott's in-the-round space.  We projected on reclaimed barn wood that ran behind the audience.  Images showed the rolling landscape of Iowa and suggested the quickly shifting locations through signage, and lighting changes.  This production was particularly challenging as it involved a 32 hour change-over.

"...set designer Jeffrey D. Kmiec and projection designer Anthony Churchill capture both the beautifully flat expanse of Iowa while also conveying Francesca's boxed-in feelings as a dissatisfied housewife."

        -Daily Herald

Photos by Anthony Churchill 

Wild Boar

Silk Road Rising, Chicago  |     Fall 2017

Projection Design

  • Direction      Helen Young
  • Set Design   Yeaji Kim
  • Lighting       Lindsey Lyddan
  • Costumes    Melissa Ng

Wild Boar had its North American premiere with this production.  It involved cinematic transitions and a noir palette that raised tension and told a story of media, truth, and social hirearchy.  The set utilized rear-projection screen as a representation of a modern glass curtain wall.  I used two ultra-short throw projectors to cover both the upstage wall - including two doors - and the stage right wall which was on a thirty degree angle.  

Media was still images that established location as well as several video sequences for the more ethereal scenes.  

Photos by Anthony Churchill & Airan Wright

 

Honeymoon in Vegas

Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire |     Summer 2017

Projection Design

  • Direction      Gary Griffin
  • Set Design   Kevin Depinet
  • Lighting       Jesse Klug
  • Costumes    Brian Hemesath

Honeymoon in Vegas saw its midwest premiere in Lincolnshire with a several members of the original Broadway play's production team.  We used four 3mm LED panels from VER to set the scene and support a number of the musical numbers with extra visual elements.  The Marriott is in the round, so the screens worked together and frequently used different images to help with a number of different areas indicated by the blocking.   

Photos by Liz Lauren

 

Urinetown

BoHo Theatre at Stage773     |     Spring 2017

Jeff Nominated for Best Musical - 2017

Set Design

  • Direction     Stephen Schellhardt
  • Lighting      G Max Maxin IV
  • Costumes    Elizabeth Wislar

Urinetown was an amazing show with the challenge of pushing a tiny space with an epic score, cast, and band.  Our piece had the added task of having a ambitious and amazing choreographer (Aubrey Adams) alongside a director with loads of choreography and movement experience as well.  

We used a combination of withered foundational architecture alongside corporate logos and identities to show a world run over by greed.  The play worked on Brechtian levels with loads of epic elements such as exposed means, text and out-of-place elements, and consistently alienating spaces for the characters.  

Photos by Katie Stanley

The Body of An American

StageLeft Theatre at Theatre Wit         |     Summer 2016

Projections & Set

Jeff Award Winner for Projections - 2017

  • Direction     Jason A Fleece
  • Lighting       John Kohn III
  • Costumes    Brenda Winstead

The Body of An American is an exciting true story about regretting the things we've done and haven't done.  The story is told by two actors who play dozens of roles around the globe, from Africa to Alaska and everywhere in between.  Projections are key to this play, because one of the main characters, Paul Watson, is a photographer and much of his original work was used in the show.    

For this piece, I collaborated as set designer and projections designer which gave me the freedom to create the surfaces I was projecting on.  We felt it was important to leave the set fairly simple - yet evocative - and so the projections did a lot of the work in showing locale.

Photos by Ian McLaren

 

Spring Awakening

Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire   |     Winter 2016

Projections

  • Direction      Aaron Thielen
  • Set Design   Thomas M Ryan
  • Lighting       Lee Fiskness
  • Costumes     Susan Hilferty and Nancy Missimi

This show used two ultra-short throw projectors to map the entire back wall - an unusual element for the Marriott.  Projections included art work from the period and special effects including chalk board graffiti and text.  We also enhanced a shadow play scene by projecting into the shadows of the actors.

Chicago Sun Times: "Thielen’s fluid, out-of-the-box direction (with choreography more reminiscent of Steven Hoggett’s work for “Once” than Bill T. Jones’ moves for Broadway’s “Spring Awakening”) uses the Marriott stage in a whole new way. And he is immeasurably helped by Thomas M. Ryan’s spare, subtly prison-like steel pipe set, Lee Fiskness’ stunning lighting, Anthony Churchill’s gorgeous projections (with images suggestive of such German Expressionist artists as Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt), and the period-perfect costumes by Susan Hilferty and Nancy Misaim"

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Photos by Liz Lauren