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Designing River City for the Music Man

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  • Designing River City for the Music Man

    Hey All,
    Some of you have heard and others not but I am working on a musical this summer, first show since high school when I left theatre to slip behind a keyboard and a camera and make movies...5 years later a little bit wiser and defintly a miser I am returning to the stage into two capacities! First this will mark my first return to the stage as an actor in as a long (if you discount my cameos in dozens of student films) as Charlie Cowell- the salesmen who turns in Harold Hill. Second I will be pseudo stage managing and designing and building sets...

    Now onto the topic of my post I am designing River City, Iowa a small town at the turn of the century and what better place to draw inspiration from the Main St USA---at Disneyland! I pitched my Disney inspired idea last night to the set builders who love it...

    Onto my questions. As I build this mock set which runs behind the town I need to include at least 3 to 4 stores, one including a Billards Hall, Grocery Store and possibly an Ice Cream Parlor... If you were you to build a small town city and draw inspiration from Main St, which shops would you have me look at?







  • #2
    Well first of all, kudos! I am myself a theater techie.












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    • #3
      how about a Welles Fargo office and Ice Cream parlor. Could use news stand also.
      >>Alan<<
      Member 216




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      • #4
        Hey, I was in Music Man! I was Harold Hill. It's a great show. Have fun with it, and I bet your set will look great! Once built, can you maybe post pics of it? Maybe you could have some clothing store? Like a hat shop or something?

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        • #5
          oohhhh, set design..... *drool, drool*

          You must include a General Mercantile (covers for grocery store) and Post Office. How popular were billiard halls at the turn of the last century?

          What a great project, Shucks; I envy you.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by speederscout
            oohhhh, set design..... *drool, drool*

            You must include a General Mercantile (covers for grocery store) and Post Office. How popular were billiard halls at the turn of the last century?

            What a great project, Shucks; I envy you.
            Huge component of the original show...huge song that revolves around the difference between pool and billards and I am not sure I know the difference myself!






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            • #7
              Earliest concept drawing for downtown river city sans two side buildings






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              • #8
                Use hanging signs for the different places and props with a backlit scrim. No need for the actual buildings. Build a mock train for the beginning.

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                • #9
                  Wasn't Main St's lead designer the same guy that did the sets for the film version of Music Man?

                  Anywho.... I don't know what the theater's capabilities are, but since the locations change a bit in the show, have you thought about a rotatable city building with different fronts on different sides? (And possibly one side opening into it for an interior location?) This doesn't necessarily need a turntable, you can use a light set on casters as well.

                  Unusually and exceedingly peculiar and altogether quite impossible to describe...


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ah schucks
                    Huge component of the original show...huge song that revolves around the difference between pool and billards and I am not sure I know the difference myself!
                    The show is about a pool table...

                    Oh we've got trouble...

                    Right here in River City.

                    We've got trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Pool.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bill
                      Use hanging signs for the different places and props with a backlit scrim. No need for the actual buildings. Build a mock train for the beginning.
                      Cost wise it was cheaper to design River City from scratch






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                      • #12
                        Ooh, a variation on his idea though.... could you use photographic slides of buildings projected onto a scrim?

                        Unusually and exceedingly peculiar and altogether quite impossible to describe...


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Morrigoon
                          Ooh, a variation on his idea though.... could you use photographic slides of buildings projected onto a scrim?
                          We thought about that...really renting the fly was the best choice but there is no good townscape available out there for under 750 so at that cost we deceided to do it ourselves.

                          We are using two rather large rotating sets along the same lines as you described and that back wall is permently back up against the back scrim.






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                          • #14
                            You don't need a town scape, that's my point. Just use a lit scrim and use hanging signs. It works wonders.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bill
                              You don't need a town scape, that's my point. Just use a lit scrim and use hanging signs. It works wonders.
                              Ohhh I see what you are saying and I totally agree some of the best theatre uses that concept. I wanted to do the same thing with the train and just fly in a series of windows but they want a train cart...

                              I am working with a commitee despite my ideas I have to work with what they want too.






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