Ice Palace Arches

Built for Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ The Unsinkable Molly Brown, 2014

Designed By: Derek McLane

Built By: Justin Hicks, Tyler Stauffer, Keli Sequoia, Mel Springer, Jana Mitchell

Materials: Aluminum tube, acrylic glass, vacu-form plastic

Part of the joy we have had working for the DCPA is the multitude of interesting projects that requires us to use our skills in unconventional ways. In their production of The Unsinkable Molly Brown, written by Meredith Willson, a musical number took place in the famous Ice Palace of Leadville and required scenery to be made of ice, or to at least appear that way. Our solution was to make arches consisting of an aluminum frame and faced with acrylic glass. Then each frame was fitted with 44 custom “ice cubes” made from vacu-formed plastic. Each cube was attached individually so when lit, the cubes appeared to be separate blocks. Two arches were equipped with castors to be pushed onstage by actors, while one more arch was rigged to be flown in on a line set. The paint treatment from the DCPA’s charge artist, Jana Mitchell, and the brilliant stage lighting from the theatre’s electrics crew help to finish the illusion over ice appearing onstage. The show would go on to be nominated for multiple Henry Awards from the Colorado Theatre Guild.

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