The recent Media Hard Hat Tour of London Rocks at Busch Gardens unveiled what is to be the most imaginative and technology-laden live musical show to hit the stage. The names behind this show would fill a Broadway playbill. It was such an honor to be able to listen to the creative process and see the excitement in the faces and voices of those involved. One team member was barely able to contain himself as he practically lit up the room talking about costumes, lighting and sound and stage design.
An international team of more than 500 artists, performers and craftsmen are putting the final touches on this musical extravaganza that will take guests on a journey through British rock-n-roll culture via live action and multi-media elements.
Here’s a bit about the London Rocks Media Hard Hat Tour. Carl Lum, Busch Gardens’ Park President, started off by saying that the show is not only an investment in the park, but the destination of Williamsburg, Virginia as a whole. The combination of an excellent product and good people is what makes it all happen. He mentioned that he really enjoys seeing his team get excited “like a kid at Christmas with a new Big Wheel.” The Busch Gardens Entertainment team is certainly overflowing with excitement.
Scott Gasparich, Vice-President of Entertainment, called London Rocks a “crown jewel,” and described it as a “deep dive into British culture. “ The show will bring the benchmark of entertainment to a whole new level.
"We are returning the Globe Theatre to its rightful place as Busch Gardens' premier live performance space." - Scott Gasparich
London Rocks: The Team
- Sam Buntrock – Tony-Nominated Stage Director of “Sunday in the Park with George”
- Chase Brock – Choreographer – Brock’s past work includes “Spider-Man Turn off the Dark.” The Chase Brock Experience is a New York-based contemporary dance company that focuses on live music and artists from a broad range of media.
- Ken Billington – Lighting expert and Tony Award-winner for “Chicago”
- Jason Kantrowitz – Lighting designer – Kantrowitz has done work for Broadway as well as themed entertainment for SeaWorld and such shows as the fireworks and water extravaganza Fantasmic at Disney Parks.
- Toni-Leslie James – FANY Award-Winning Costume Designer, James is the Director of Costumes at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her Broadway costume credits include “The Scottsboro Boys,” “Footloose,” “The Tempest,” and “The Wild Party.” TV credits include “Whoopi” for NBC and “As the World Turns.”
London Rocks: The facts
- 18 - Performance platform levels
- 27 - Songs in the show
- 76 - Miles of audio, video and electrical cables
- 150 - Wigs used during the show
- 323.5 - Vinyl records used in the set
- 876 – Hidden peace signs used in the set design
- 900 - Costume pieces in the show
- 1,839 - Speakers inside the Globe Theatre
- 24,440 - Musical notes in the show’s 27-minute score
- 54,000 - Video animation cells used during the show
- 1,541,765 - Feet of rigging inside the Globe Theatre
London Rocks: The Story
The show opens with the feel of London’s rain, and the interactive seats take it from there as we follow along in the life of a young girl named Lucy. Each decade in the progression of British rock-n-roll is represented in the storyline as Lucy grows up and discovers new sounds, groups and solo acts. The show lasts for approximately 30 minutes and includes 27 songs.
London Rocks: The Cast
The casting process for London Rocks took the talent searching team to a variety of places, including New York City where performers were auditioning for a variety of shows, including Broadway venues. London Rocks has a cast of 14 performers. It was double cast to include a total of 28 world-class performers that will put on 6-8 shows a day. The cast was hired specifically for London Rocks.
London Rocks: The Set
With a nod to the theatrical rather than the industrial side, a new stage has been constructed for the show. The monochromatic set represents London’s pre-rock era as it bursts into a colorful psychedelic journey through the heyday of British rock music. Powerful video projectors and nearly 2,000 audio speakers will turn the Globe Theatre into a rock-n-roll mecca for music fans of all ages.
London Rocks: The Sight and Sound
Video-mapping and audio-imaging will envelope the audience and transport them to the scene, making them feel as if they are actually there. Video-mapping is a type of “third-dimension” in video technology where an object becomes the display surface. Specialized software allows an optical illusion to be projected onto stationary objects, making them appear to move and come alive. With audio-imaging, you can close your eyes and picture the scenes and sounds around you.
London Rocks: The Scene
Not only has the Globe Theatre gotten a complete makeover, but the England village itself has taken on a refreshed look with an infusion of British fun and flavor. A Coca-Cola and tea market has been set up across the street from the theatre, along with a double-decker merchandise bus. Fish and chips has been added to restaurant menus.
London Rocks: Groovy Guest Experiences
- Photo ops with the cast before the show
- Backstage Tours (at an additional fee) to view the cast lounge, hang out with the cast and see the puppetry and technology departments
London Rocks has been a four year labor of love and will take Busch Gardens’ live performances to an unprecedented level in terms of technological innovation and creative talent. It also marks the return of live entertainment to the Globe Theatre after nearly 20 years.
May 23, 2014 is the official opening date for London Rocks, along with Colossal Curl at Water Country USA.
Visit Busch Gardens online at www.BuschGardens.com
Disclaimer: The author attended the Media Hard Hat Tour as part of Busch Gardens’ Ambassador Blogger program. All opinions are strictly those of the author.