Sometimes, success can draw you away from the things you love. Just ask Tom McPhillips, founder of Atomic Design in Lititz, one of the country’s leading scenic production shops.
“Atomic was founded as a design company,” McPhillips says. “As time went on, we started building stuff. Most of the stuff we built were projects I designed.”
About three-quarters of the way into Martina McBride’s current show, the country singer boards a glowing blue crescent moon and flies above the audience, landing on a smaller B-stage near the back of the room. It’s the most spectacular moment in the Shine All Night Tour, which takes McBride in a brand new direction - with the addition of a director.Download pdf
Throughout the final days of Upfront Week, television networks punched up presentations with surprise performances and continued celebrations late into the evening with private concerts and intimate parties. Turner Entertainment properties TNT, TBS, and Adult Swim blocked off most of last Wednesday with ploys to entertain advertisers, while maintaining a focus on strong video presentations to win their business.
In another instalment of A&E network’s Live By Request, LD Rick Siegel illuminated the legendary rock ‘n roll band Chicago for a two-hour world premiere aired live from New York on September 5th. Set Designer: Tom McPhillips
It’s a gas. It’s a multimillion-dollar, high-tech, computerized theatrical extravaganza. “The Masters of the Universe Power Tour,” a glitzy combo of sizzling special effects and non-stop action, opened Tuesday night at the Anaheim Convention Center, following much television and radio hoopla, and Mayor Bradley’s proclamation of April 28 as “Masters of the Universe Day” in Los Angeles.
International producers included David Goldberg, Harvey Goldsmith, Ken Kragen, Don Mischer and Jeff Pollack. London’s production team was headed by promoter Harvey Goldsmith, project co-ordinator Emma Cope, production manager Steve Allen, site coordinator Pete Edmonds, stage managers Steve Jones and Rik Benbow, LD Tom Kenny, set designer Tom McPhillips, sound designer Andrew Frengley, TV director Chris Cowey and production companies Canegreen, LSD, Screenco, Star Hire and Star Rigging. Mike Weaver Communications, Powerent and Stage Miracles also figured in delivering the audio side.
When Ethan Weber was contacted to design and program lighting, and Atomic Design’s Tom McPhillips to take on production design for My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade Tour, they knew they were looking at the band’s biggest outing to date. This was to be the first time the group was setting out to conquer the arena world, having performed as the opening act for larger tours, but only headlining at theatres and smaller arenas. While fans know the band for its openness offstage, lead singer Gerard Way “really wanted to appear more like heroes onstage,” says Weber.
In came production manager David “51” Norman, and the two started to look for a scenic vendor to help design and build a new set. Jibson had previously worked with Soren West of Atomic Design on another project, and he “remembered the great experience I had with him.” So the two got together and started tossing ideas back and forth. West, in turn, brought in Atomic Design colleague Mike Rhoads, and they started producing renderings and designing “the more intricate details” of the set pieces.
Tom McPhillips became fascinated with the pinwheel shape while staging a Japanese music festival for his rental display and stage fabrication company. “It’s such a fantastic dimensional shape, both simple and complex at once,” says McPhillips. His absorption has now emerged as a modular Pinwheel Panel, a two by-two-feet square panel that ships flat and transforms into a light-reflecting textured surface for full scenic backdrops, columns, groupings or space dividers.
Two-thousand attendees. Dozens of high-powered executives. A cavalcade of actors and one rock star, Lenny Kravitz, topping off the night. Putting on the annual Turner Upfront event, where TBS and TNT sell their upcoming season and programs to advertisers of Turner Broadcasting, is no small feat. This year set designers Atomic Design not only transformed the Theatre at Madison Square Garden into a flashy corporate showcase, they also reinvented the lobby as a glitzy faux nightclub for the after-party.