Fabric Flow Crucial for Sunset Boulevard

Digital Art by the Palace Theatre, NYC

When Glenn Close decided to reprise her award-winning role of Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard” by performing at the Palace Theatre in New York City every detail – scenery, costumes, props, and even a 40-piece orchestra – was designed to convey the bigger-than-life dreams of Hollywood during the Silent Screen Era.
Quality and schedule were especially important because Close’s public relations team took time to meticulously review and approve the final digital art. This compressed the schedule for producing the large-scale prints on soft materials during the normally slower holiday season.

Project Manager, Kyle Crose of PRG Scenic Technologies, contacted Big Image Systems to produce two banners with the studio numbers 27 and 30 printed on them and a “Kabuki Drop” that featured a photo of Close’s face and required a “flowy fabric.”

Big Image is always learning about new materials and testing products when these become available while investing in refining and improving printing technology. Since not all theatrical materials can be printed on, it’s important to let designers know what can and can’t be accomplished. In this case, a theatrical silk material had been specified. However, one that could be dropped repeatedly without affecting the printed surface wasn’t available.

Photo courtesy of the Palace Theatre, NYC

Big Image’s creative staff recommended Eco Satin for the Kabuki Drop because this fabric maintains a foldable printing surface with a soft hand and sheen when dye sublimation printing technology is used. Since there wasn’t sufficient time to review samples that would show how the images looked on different fabrics, Crose relied on these recommendations. He’d worked with Big Image on several theatrical produc­tions in the past and knew we could deliver the quality fabric prints he needed within a short turnaround time.

Crose collaborated with Big Image to select Cloth 201 HzN for printing the banners. This material is ideal for backlighting and is commonly used for film sets.

According to Crose, the completed prints ended up looking “pretty perfect.”

“Big Image sent a finished, really nice drop [and banners] right on time directly to the theatre,” he says. “The production [team] liked the look.”