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It takes a rare combination of talents to create a performing space that “works.” Creating the intimacy that allows hundreds in the audience to share Willy Loman’s despair at his kitchen table isn’t easy. Converting that same space to an acoustically live hall that offers each ticket holder every choral and orchestral nuance of Beethoven’s Ninth is a different challenge. Lowering the orchestra lift and flying scenery that transports audiences and performers to an imaginary world for a few hours is even trickier. Some call it magic, but those behind the scenes know that magic has no role in the process. It requires the vision of owners, architects and consultants and the down-to-earth design and project management skills of a company like J.R. Clancy to translate those visions into realities that don’t get in the way of the illusions.

To Avery Fisher Hall audiences, their complex shape and hardwood skins make them visually interesting structures; to musicians playing as an ensemble, their beauty is in their lively acoustic properties; to the people of J.R. Clancy, they presented hidden attachment challenges.


Since 1885 J.R. Clancy has been designing, manufacturing and installing theater rigging, orchestra shells, stage lifts, and one-of-a-kind systems that help its customers achieve whatever goals they have for individual theaters, concert halls, arenas, television studios, or even casino showrooms. For many owners, the creation of such a space may be a once-in-a-lifetime challenge— a challenge that can be daunting. Let’s face it, building a performance space shares little in common with building straightforward offices or retail space. How many office buildings require 20,000-pound acoustical panels that can be safely suspended over the heads of performers and audience and still be remotely adjusted to precise angles? How many stores require a full stage and 2,000 theater seats that can be nested together and made to disappear into the ceiling? Given requirements as unique as these, guidance that can be trusted is a rare commodity. With thousands of successful projects to their credit, the people of J.R. Clancy have proven their ability to tame what may seem like overwhelming problems to their customers. Those customers have turned to the company for solutions because they know they are drawing on a breadth of experience that spans five continents.


Global experience is a demanding teacher and it has taught J.R. Clancy’s engineers, technicians and craftsmen that there is no such thing as a standard project. Surprises will pop up along the way to completion. The company’s disciplined approach to project management is a valuable asset to customers who rely on J.R. Clancy to keep the unexpected from jeopardizing the job’s success. Innovative solutions to tough design problems; a reputation for equipment safety and longevity; schedule reliability; financial strength and stability; a well-honed ability to work in harmony with other contractors . . . these are the values that have helped J.R. Clancy solve problems that may seem a lot like yours.

But don’t take our word for it. The people you’ll meet on the following pages have discovered that J.R. Clancy is more than a good company to work with. It’s an experience—one they’re willing to share.


Innovation When the orchestra shell in the North Carolina Performing Arts Center drew as much wild opening-night applause as the performers, Judith Allen knew she had done her math right. The equation the Center’s president faced was a familiar one: Limited space + limited funds + limitless visions. J.R. Clancy provided the winning solution. The 150,000-pound shell, complete with a 70-pipe working facade for the Center’s tracker organ, rolls slowly out of its den on tracks. Sidewalls, folded like the pages of a book to hide the facade, open to a variety of positions. When space for a full orchestra and 200-voice chorus is needed, rolling towers are brought in from their own garages to further deepen the space. It takes three stage hands only 45 minutes. The shell itself was only one factor in the drive to create spaces so elastic they could be used for everything from a symphony concert to a battle of high school bands, to fashion shows, graduations, poetry readings and repertory theater. But the shell is, she says, the Center’s masterpiece. “This is a symphony hall one day and a Broadway hall the next. The challenge was to preserve the quality of each,” Ms. Allen added. “The whole project was intricate and difficult, but Clancy’s people didn’t leave our side the whole time. When the job was finished, the computers were all programmed, the procedures written down and our people were trained. “We got a good job. Everything works. We paid a reasonable buck—and we made some new friends.” The stage behind Judith Allen, director of the North Carolina Center for the Performing Arts, does wondrous things, but the “wonder” is based on J.R. Clancy’s real-life experience. Architect: Ceasar Pelli Associates Consultant: Theatre Projects Consultants, Inc. Contractor: Becon Construction Company, Inc.


Vision They come from thousands of miles away to see the one-of-a-kind wall they’ve heard so much about. Swarthmore College’s C. Stuart Hain almost feels like a tour guide. Like a vertical glacier it silently rises from its under-floor storage at a stately six inches a minute. That’s a pretty good clip for a 192,000-pound concrete wall 18-feet high and 60-feet long. The show is over for the visitors in a little more than a half hour. But for the students of Swarthmore who need a highly flexible space that can be used simultaneously by different groups, the wall performs daily. If necessary, an orchestra can perform the 1812 Overture, complete with light artillery, on one side of the wall without disturbing students watching a Bergman film on the other. Behind the scenes, of course, is the technical expertise of J.R. Clancy. The theater’s designers knew what they wanted, it was J.R. Clancy that overcame a variety of technical problems to make it a reality. How do you move a 96-ton wall? How do you move it, silently? How do you build it so it doesn’t bulge? How do you make sure it seals at the ends and top? How do you make it serviceable? Above all, how do you make it safe for its student operators? “A wall like this had never been tried before,” Hain said. “It had to be safe, simple, and easy to operate. Clancy made sure they understood the designer’s concept, then they paid attention to details and turned it into something real. “From a project manager’s perspective, it sure made my job a lot easier and less stressful. They have a ‘can do’ attitude and they’re a very human company to deal with.” Swarthmore College Performing Arts Center’s Director, C. Stuart Hain says his “Great Wall” performs as advertised, thanks, in part, to the simplicity which J.R. Clancy built into the 192,000 lb. monster. Architect: Dagit Saylor Architects Consultant: George C. Izenour & Associates Contractor: Lehrer, McGovern, Bovis, Inc.


Teamwork In a world where in means down, up means back, left means right and down means front, logic built on experience can be a comforting commodity—especially to those whose only experience with theatre is the multiplex at the local mall. J.R. Clancy people provided that logic as they coordinated their efforts with contractors working on the Chicago Lyric Opera’s remodeling of its 66-year-old performance space. It was a theatre originally built for opera in which no expense was spared. But at a time when a drop may have weighed 300 pounds, not a ton or two. In a theatre contemplating its first staging of the Ring Cycle, there was little to offer set designers. As Technical Director Drew Landmesser said, “Nothing moved. We didn’t have the stage machinery to do anything at a time when we wanted to do something magical.” Enter J.R. Clancy. With renovations and rehearsals coexisting, Clancy led others through the two-year project. What could stay, did. Some was renovated—composite guides replacing rosewood, and synthetic line replacing hemp. Worn red and green push buttons gave way to Clancy-designed programmable digital controls. Aged D.C. motors were replaced by their modern A.C. cousins. “Coordination of all this work was a supreme effort that couldn’t be written into any contract,” Landmesser continued. “Not many firms would have the capacity to do this. Some said they would, but you didn’t have faith they could. Clancy had the knowledge and experience to make it happen.” Drew Landmesser, Technical Director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, presides over classic old performance spaces whose new systems open elegant possibilities for set designers. Architect: Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill Consultant: Schuler & Shook, Inc. Construction Manager: Stein/McHugh


Speed Sam Gossard’s clock started ticking the instant Kurt Masur’s baton ended the New York Philharmonic’s concert the evening of August 24. Gossard and J.R. Clancy faced a 21-day challenge: Virtually rebuild the stage of Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall into an acoustically live performance space in time for a internationally broadcast, pay-per-view concert on September 15. “We could not fail,” said Gossard, the project’s manager. “We all wore T-shirts saying ‘On time, on budget!’ And we were.” Clancy’s crew would oversee the installation of tons of structural steel, the hanging of two dozen 1,500-pound reflectors on the ceiling and sidewalls, along with the electronic controls and gear they had designed and fabricated that would allow the ceiling panels to be precisely positioned. “We needed to tweak the reflectors during performances without disturbing the musicians, so they could ‘hear’ their associates better and improve their performance as an ensemble,” Gossard said. “That required Clancy to shoehorn 1,200-pound motors, gearboxes, eight more stage pipes and 16 new cable reels up there. “The most difficult part of the project was getting everything coordinated,” Gossard said, “and that’s where Clancy really performed. They were sensitive to the physical details—like getting the motors and gearboxes safely through a 32-inch door then mounting them on the grid—but they were also sensitive to the human side of the project. “To finish on schedule required a collaborative effort. Who was going to do which work, in what space, when? Clancy knew the right answers.” The clock ran Project Manager Sam Gossard’s life as he worked with the people of J.R. Clancy to revitalize Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall on time and on budget. Architect: John Burgee Associates Consultant: Jules Fisher Associates, Inc. Acoustical Consultant: Artec Consultants, Inc. Contractor: J.R. Clancy, Inc.


El Palacio de Bellas Artes Ciudad de Mexico Mexico City, Mexico

MetroHills Showplaza Osaka, Japan

Orange County Convention Center Orlando, Florida

C.B.S. Television Studios 36 and 46 Los Angeles, California

Ruth Eckerd Hall Clearwater, Florida

Center for the Arts at S.U.N.Y. Buffalo, New York

RiverPark Center Owensboro, Kentucky

Broward Center for the Performing Arts Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Victoria Theatre Dayton, Ohio


Filene Center, Wolf Trap Farm Park Vienna, Virginia

Performing Arts Center at Pima Community College Tucson, Arizona

Steelcase Corporate Center Caledonia, Michigan

Charles E. Probst Center for the Performing Arts Thousand Oaks, California

MGM Grand Hotel Showroom Las Vegas, Nevada

Center for Theatre Arts at Cornell University Ithaca, New York

Glimmerglass Opera Cooperstown, New York

Peace Center for the Performing Arts Greenville, South Carolina

Blockbuster Sony Music Entertainment Center at the Waterfront Camden, New Jersey


City Hall Hamilton, Bermuda

Bob Hope Performing Arts Center at the U.S. Naval Academy Annapolis, Maryland

Yerba Buena Gardens, Center for the Arts San Francisco, California

Capitol Theatre at Pennsylvania College Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Bartlesville Community Center Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Ozawa Theatre at Tanglewood Lenox, Massachusetts

Koger Center for the Arts at the University of South Carolina Columbia, South Carolina

Copley Concert Hall San Diego, California

Kauai Community College Theatre Kauai, Hawaii


John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Washington, District of Columbia

Paramount Theatre Seattle, Washington

Indiana Convention Center Indianapolis, Indiana

Walton Arts Center Fayetteville, Arkansas

Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center New York, New York

Paramount Theatre, Madison Square Garden New York, New York

The people of J.R. Clancy have contributed their knowledge, skills, and hard work to each of the places in this global gallery. They can do the same for you. Lincoln Theatre Washington, District of Columbia

Performing Arts Center at Delta State University Cleveland, Mississippi


Innovation. Vision. Teamwork. Speed. You’ve read what a few others have said about J.R. Clancy, but in a company with more than a century of experience behind it, there are scores of stories that could have been told—many by repeat customers and all woven with these common threads. These four themes continue to inspire the kind of confidence that keeps owners, architects, consultants and contractors returning to J.R. Clancy again and again with difficult, demanding jobs. Involving J.R. Clancy early in the process minimizes surprises and achieves understanding. It paves the way for performance spaces that work the way you want— encore after encore.

Equipment and electronic controls are often tested in J.R. Clancy’s own sixstory tower before leaving the factory.


We would like to thank our clients for allowing us to share their stories, and to acknowledge the contribution made by all of those individuals who have worked with us. For more information contact: J.R. Clancy Incorporated 7041 Interstate Island Road Syracuse, New York USA 13209 - 9713 Tel: 1-315-451-3440; Fax: 1-315-451-1766 Toll Free: 1-800-836-1885 E-mail: rigging@jrclancy.com www.jrclancy.com Tom Young, Vice President Sales & Marketing Tel: 1-315-451-3440; Fax: 1-315-451-1766 Toll Free: 1-800-836-1885 E-mail: tomyoung@jrclancy.com Jack Suesse, Director—Contract Sales Tel: 1-828-859-2421; Fax: 1-828-859-2422 Toll Free: 1-800-339-4081 E-mail: jacksuesse@jrclancy.com


JR Clancy  

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