Community Theatre

White Christmas At River City Theatre Company, Sacramento, California

John Iniguez shares River City Theatre Company’s experience piloting Broadway Media’s Scenic Projections for their production of White Christmas!

The holiday season may be behind us, but we’re still dreaming of a White Christmas! 

As Broadway Media continues to expand our Scenic Projections catalogue, we are delighted to share White Christmas is now available for licensing. Our creative design process involves extreme detail when developing scenic and animated elements, ensuring our scenery is script-accurate and reflective of the author’s intent. The final result brings easy-to-use animations for use through our app, Stage Player.

In order for us to deliver our script-accurate promise, we partner with theatre companies to test new materials through our pilot program. For White Christmas, we had the fantastic opportunity to work with John Iniguez at River City Theatre Company in Sacramento, California. During the pilot process we take thorough feedback from theatre-makers like John to aid in our production of the product. These conversations influence our work to produce the best, most useful digital scenery possible.

We recently had the opportunity to chat with John Iniguez himself, about River City Theatre Company’s recent production.

Melissa: John, thank you so much for joining me today. To start, would you mind telling our readers a little bit about your organization?

John: River City Theater Company is a community theatre that brings kids together from all over Sacramento County and neighboring towns. Our primary philosophy is that we don’t want to reject anyone. We do auditions for the leads, but everyone gets a role in the show!  

Melissa: That’s wonderful! What made you choose White Christmas for this particular production?

John: Well, there’s a couple of reasons…we had just come off our Covid-19 shutdown, so we wanted to pick a show that was holiday oriented, had enough parts for everyone, and that most of the kids and/or their parents would recognize. Our theatre produced the show 7-8 years ago, so not only was our production team familiar, we also had several resources onhand (like 90% of costumes), making it cost effective. Plus we still had the snow machines and a few of the built set components. Not to mention it’s a great show and our show dates were at the beginning of the holiday season. I just love the music and the storyline.

Melissa: That all makes sense! So what led you to choose using projections for this production?

John: We’ve been using Broadway Media’s projections for several years now. We started with Addams Family and Beauty and the Beast about six years ago, and after that we were convinced they were the way to go. We’ve been using projections ever since, especially because our theatre is volunteer based, and we don’t always have enough volunteers to build sets or paint scenery. Not only that, renting drops can be expensive (especially when you factor in rising shipping costs). The theatre we usually rent for performances can only support 2 - 3 drops, and we need to find extra backstage hands to change them. With Broadway Media’s images, you get every scene in the show; you don’t have to pick and choose which are more important to have as a more detailed drop, instead you can show everything!

Melissa: Every scene, setting, and magical moment!  Those are definitely some of my favorite perks of utilizing Scenic Projections as well. How did projections play into your production's scenic design? 

John:  We used a combination of projections and built sets. With this particular production, we were in a smaller venue than normal.  We quickly found that the set pieces from our original production years back didn’t fit in the new space.  Once we saw that our piano set piece was too large, we opted for smaller pieces (like desks, tables, chairs, etc.) versus a full built set and relied on the projected images to create the setting.

Melissa: Was there a moment in the show that stood out as your favorite? 

John: Personally speaking, my favorite moment was seeing my granddaughter portray Susan…she was so good! Overall though, the scene stealer was the group of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders. I don’t care what show or dance it is, they always get the biggest applause, they’re just too cute! The finale scene was great, it was just so colorful with everyone in their red costumes. It’s hard to pinpoint just one favorite.

Melissa: Oh yes, I can certainly understand how it was hard to pick a favorite moment! As someone that’s used projections through the years, what words of wisdom would you share with theatre-makers new to digital scenery?

John: Of course! I have two main things:
One - make sure that whatever theatre you’re going into has the right setup for your projector. Decide short throw or long throw early on in your process. Personally, I’m partial to short throw since you don’t have to worry about shadows as much, but every set up works differently.
Two - Start working with your projections as early as you can, experiment and see how they work. Do NOT be afraid to call Broadway Media for help in advance. The first few performances, my team was afraid we’d be bothering you all with calling, but we learned your teams are here to help! You always get a helpful and friendly answer.

Melissa: Solid words of wisdom, John! Here at Broadway Media we like to think of ourselves as bonus members of your production team, so we’re absolutely here to help. Tell me, would this experience encourage you to continue using Scenic Projections for shows to come?

John: Oh, heavens yes! For us, from here on, this is the only way to produce shows. In fact, we look at your show collection to determine what titles to request rights for.

Melissa: John, thank you again for taking the time to speak with me today. I just have one last question for you. Can you tell me about what your experience was like working with the team at Broadway Media on developing new content?

John: It was great! I don’t have any complaints whatsoever. Correspondence was immediate, etc. You’re truly our go-to company. We’ll see you again for our next show, Shrek!

We thoroughly enjoyed spending the holiday season with River City Theatre Company. Take a look at our White Christmas Instagram Highlight to see our visit to the production. We also invite you to view our resources for White Christmas here.

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