Posts Tagged ‘Memphis’

The Showman Standard

July 25, 2010

by Amy McLeod
July 25, 2010

Last Monday we visited Showman Fabricators in Queens. This company has built sets for some of the most recognizable television shows and Broadway productions.  From American Idol to SportsCenter to Rachael Ray’s kitchen, Showman has made it all happen.

I can’t build anything unless the pieces are all clearly labeled and the instructions are explicitly detailed.  At Showman, they work backward.  They are given a final image, a visual of what the end product should be.  Then, they make all of the pieces that fit together to create that product.

There are so many different skills that are necessary for this type of work.  Mathematics, electronics, attention to detail while also being able to think holistically.  The smallest error in measuring can keep the pieces from coming together properly.

To demonstrate this need for precision, we saw a pair of tweezers cut from a piece of steel.  With the help of a computer program and some very high pressure water, the tweezers were cut with one single stroke.

A few days after visiting Showman, the class went to see Memphis.  We learned that Showman had built the scenery so I made a mental note to pay close attention to all of the scenery in the show.  And I was blown away.  There were so many different elements that allowed for the show to take place in various “locations”.  The radio booth, the basement club, Mama’s house, the television studio and the streets of Memphis were all so well done.  It’s amazing that with just a few pieces, the set can be completely transformed.

Showman Fabricators are certainly in a league of their own.  I have a whole new appreciation for television and Broadway sets.  They don’t come nicely packaged and labeled with instructions like my shelves from Target.  They come from a giant warehouse in Queens, where they have been altered and perfected for weeks, where people have labored over them to make sure that they are up to the Showman standard.  And that standard is practically perfection.