Frozen gets $100,000 in equipment…for free
Audio and lighting technician Nick Holtz gets the lighting and audio setup during a rehearsal of Disney’s Frozen.
by Parker Loew
Dodd Technologies is providing Ely’s production of Disney’s Frozen: The Broadway Musical with all the equipment and technology it needs to make the performance magical and is doing so free of charge.
Musical director Billie Rouse went to high school with the owner of the company, Mark Dodd, who decided to donate the equipment when he heard about the production.
“In high school, Mark was a tall and skinny farm kid,” said Rouse. “Now he owns this amazing company. I toured their facility last summer, it’s huge. It was the size of four football stadiums.”
Dodd Technologies is an audio/visual rental service company with an extensive inventory of staging, lighting, truss, audio, video, and LED display technology.
For some scope, Dodd Technologies will be equipping this year’s NBA All-Star game with audio/visual equipment, as well as the USA swimming Olympic trials at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“I called him and told him what we were doing, and he said ‘Thanks for taking care of kids. Thanks for bringing magic to kids. I’ll help you out,’” she said. “Right now, there is roughly $100,000 worth of equipment in that auditorium, and he’s doing it for free.”
Initially, when Rouse saw the equipment Dodd Technologies had to offer, she thought there was no way they could afford the state-of-the-art equipment on their modest budget.
“When he said he was giving us the equipment to use in the musical, I was speechless,” said Rouse.
The company doesn’t usually do high school musical productions but made the exception for this one.
“He asked me ‘What do you want?’ so I said, ‘What about 20 microphones? How about snow machines? How about a hazer? And how about some moving lights? And how about a projector?’ and he said yes. If we could dream it, he sent it,” said Rouse.
The amount Dodd Technologies has helped the musical production cannot be understated.
Along with “Any equipment you could dream of,” they also flew out audio/visual production designer Robert Gough to help with setup and installation.
“It’s my job to create ‘The magic’ in the musical,” said Gough. “Digital production is probably the most obvious. Our projectors, along with the stage design, will allow the musical to be visually compelling.”
Gough said how the projectors will make the set come alive with motion.
One of the main obstacles was the original stage design and how it was not conducive for projections and the style of musical required by Disney.
“We have these large orange and blue archways on the stage which don’t scream ‘Frozen,’” said Rouse. “I wasn’t sure what to do about them.”
Dodd Technologies took care of any concerns Rouse had and transformed the stage into something that could be projected upon.
To do this, they covered the original stage almost completely with large white sheets.
This transformed the stage essentially into a large screen that can hold multiple projections.
“It’s kind of like contact paper and covers all the unnecessary parts of the stage for the production,” said Gough. “The sheets also allow me to use a second projector to project additional images onto the sheets to almost make a moving image.”
Disney provides all the backdrops for the musical to use for the projections but allows some leeway for the production to get creative.
“Part of the challenge was how to make the musical our own but also follow Disney’s rules,” said Rouse. “We tried to answer the question ‘What really makes this ours compared to everybody else’s?’”
The projections, along with some of the props, will incorporate all of Disney’s requirements but also contain a little extra Ely flare.
“There will definitely be some Easter eggs in the projections and props involving Ely that audience members should look out for,” said Rouse.
Directors Michael and Billie Rouse and the rest of the production are extremely grateful to Mark Dodd, Robert Gough, and Dodd Technologies for helping bring ‘the magic’ to Disney’s Frozen: The Broadway Musical.