TurboRay Dazzles and Shines at McCallum Theatre

Date Posted: 1/15/2020

McCallum Theatre

Struck by the TurboRay’s face and features in the promotional industry media, Production/Lighting Director Keith Smith called High End Systems’ Terry Heisler for a demo. “I had to have some,” Smith declared.

The McCallum Theatre for the Performing Arts has been entertaining and educating residents and students in Palm Desert, Calif., since 1988. The staff thrives on providing state-of-the-art equipment for the seasons’ programs and for technical training.

Smith purchased eight of the special effect LED units through 4Wall Entertainment in Las Vegas, and immediately debuted them to dazzle their December Gala fundraiser.

“I kept wishing I had more as the show was going on,” Smith notes. “I placed them downstage on the apron edge and used them for their effects and as eye candy.”

TurboRay was designed not only for wash and aerial effects, but to serve as audience entertainment with special pixel-mapping effects. Smith likes the four different quads of the LED fixture, which allow segmenting the face or using it as a full wash unit.

“I love this fixture,” Smith says. “The four different quads of LED are great and the frost flags are effective and fun.”

McCallum Theatre

The McCallum Theatre Gala is an exclusive evening honoring well-known Coachella Valley philanthropist, Jan Salta. For this year’s event, attendees enjoyed fine dining at a local participating restaurant and then a performance by Grammy Award-winning artist, Seal, with a 29-piece orchestra performing standards by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington and more.

Gala proceeds help fund theatre operations as well as arts education programs that bring training in theater, dance, music and visual arts to 40,000 schoolchildren and educators at no cost to them. These funds also make it possible to continue to bring world-class performances to Coachella Valley residents.

While Smith wasn’t looking for a particular lighting fixture to fulfill a need, he says, “I was just intrigued by the TurboRays and thought they would be a great addition to my lighting tool box.”

He wasn’t the only one intrigued. It caught the eye of many band members, who inquired about the TurboRay, and he reports receiving a dozen calls after the event from “retired show biz people who were in the audience asking about ‘that cool fixture.’”

He’s happy with his purchase and plans to add more TurboRay to the rig this summer. “The TurboRay is a true work horse. I am an old school lighting guy but love all the amazing options. It looks beautiful and performed beautifully.”

While the TurboRay plays a role in upcoming training for technical theatre students, it may also sparkle and shine on 2020 shows including Itzhak Perlman, An Intimate Evening with David Foster, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical, The Ten Tenors, Judy Collins, Chicago - The Musical, The Illusionists, Chris Botti and more.

Photos: Marc Glassman