How To: Create the Music Man Train Scene Progression

Here’s our latest how to- the progression of the Music Man Train Scene, contributed by CYT Houston Set Designer Cindy Johnson:

First, [get] your basic tan wall. Tape and frame the windows out for the future ‘salesmen train.’ We’ve got it in two big pieces here, for ease of quick on-and-off movement during the show.

We’ve learned a lot about sets weight, and now are trying to go as lightweight as possible for ease of moving from where we build it to the theater. I remember when we did Aladdin, we moved some sets from my driveway (in the rain,) and they literally fell apart when the truck and trailer went over the curb. Wow! We’ve come a long way!

Here’s one side of the train [above] complete with wonderful salesmen, and Professor Harold Hill hiding behind the newspaper. Since the show took place in Iowa, paint only cornfields. It took about 45 minutes to tape up and measure the windows and paint them red, and probably a half hour to paint the sky and fields. It got slapped up really fast, and for the corn, we simply laid down yellows, blues and greens and took a ruined 6″ brush and smeared ’em for motion. It was fun.

The thing that took the longest was taping… waiting for the paint to dry… taping. Suitcases were easy and fun, too, and of course paint[ing] on some of those cool travel stickers that I wish we still used.

[We] had YARDS of gorgeous red velvet stapled up around [the] windows. At first, [we] stapled only the end curtains on each side, but had a little trouble because of a minor fault in my personality – (I HATE to measure!) The curtains ended up a little higher and a little lower in places. That was the first night of full run-through in the theater. The second night I found more velvet and stapled up the swags across the top. I think it added an extra richness, AND it hid my un-measured side-curtain tops!

Contributed by: Cindy Johnson, Color Cat Studios
Edited by: Jessica Cortez


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