The design of the new Celebrity Edge main theater is another step away from the traditional theater design that we've known on cruise ships, with a proscenium arch and separate areas for the audience and performers.
If the classic cruise ship theater is like Broadway, or London's West End, the Edge will be more like Off-Broadway.
Judging from renderings released Monday by Celebrity, the performers will be surrounded on three sides by seats. The fourth side, the back of the stage, will be a projection screen with backgrounds, rather than a true backstage area.
In aesthetics, the theater most resembles the Two70 Lounge on Royal Caribbean International's Quantum-class ships. That's perhaps no coincidence, as both were designed by Scott Butler of the design firm Wilson Butler Architects.
But it also bears some resemblance to the World Stage, the innovative theater that Holland America Line debuted two years ago on the Koningsdam, and which will reprise on its upcoming Nieuw Statendam.
The World Stage also projects the stage way out into the audience, and makes use of large LED video screens to envelop the theater in images.
The growing sophistication of LED screens and video projection mapping, driven by computers and software, is revolutionizing the way theater is presented at sea. The imagery, fantastic in itself, also solves the problem of where to store stage sets at sea, where every space is at a premium.
But it's more than a technical issue. Royal Caribbean International has long been trying to use spaces other than the main theater to enact entertainments for guests, notably in its drive to use the atriums on older ships for aerialists and other performers.
Entertainers regularly appear on the Royal Promenade on non-Oasis-class ships.
Carnival Cruise Line, too, is dispersing entertainment around the ships. It uses a variety of public spaces for it Seuss-A-Palooza children's parade. And its theaters on the newest ships have become flex-space Liquid Lounges, with stages, but not dedicated 24/7 to use as theatrical space.
Although I have not seen them, the theaters built exclusively for Cirque du Soleil on MSC Cruises' Meraviglia class ships also look, well, circular. And the performers are flying all over the house.
So while there's still a decent amount of Broadway being presented on ships (Royal and Norwegian Cruise Line both have authorized Broadway shows) the trend going forward is going to be new spaces and new ways of presenting shows at sea.
By Travel Weekly
Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
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