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'Empire's' multi-level set a featured player in musical at La Mirada Theatre

'Empire's' multi-level set a featured player in musical at La Mirada Theatre

The set for La Mirada Theatre's new musical "Empire" is so different that director and choreographer Marcia Milgrom Dodge has given it a name: Helga.

The old-fashioned musical is all about what it took to build the Empire State Building during the Depression, when dreamers beat the odds — and safety guidelines weren't yet up to snuff. As a result, a good deal of the action takes place on scaffolding high in the air.

This presented Dodge and scenic designer David Gallo with an unusual challenge. How to sweep the audience into the sky without creating a risky high-rise environment for the cast? Their solution was to build a computer-controlled set that works in...

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