Two years ago, Carnival debuted Carnival Studios, a massive, 44,500-square-foot facility in Davie, Florida, where the cruise line has centralized planning, production, training and development for all the shows aboard their fleet.
Its 21 studios accommodate everything from 3-piece string musicians to full-blown Broadway productions. This week, media was invited on an extended tour to see first-hand how it all comes together, including a preview of the new Playlist production that will debut on Carnival Panorama in December, “Rock Revolution.”
The tour started in a large conference room, where our guide, John Geertsen, Carnival Studio Manager, showed us a wall-to-wall, color-coded chart identifying every show on every ship for the next 12 months. It’s a lot to keep track of.
The next stop was Scenery, a warehouse room where 35-foot-high walls house all manner of set pieces. This is also the place where technicians are trained on changing out the sets for the various shows and how to problem-solve once the ship is out to sea.
Pam loved the next stop — Wardrobe. As workers toiled over sewing machines, wardrobe wizards Lucio Boliver and Jim Buckovich showed us their latest designs and costumes. Pam was both surprised and honored when the designers asked her to model one of the dresses earmarked for Panorama, “Broadway Beats.” Its “LOVE” message mimicked the famous sign in New York.
Next we visited a succession of music and dance rehearsal studios, followed by a behind-the-scenes look at the preparations for “Rock Revolution.” One thing we didn’t get to see are the drones that will be part of the show once it launches on the ship — they will be added later. This will be the first use of drone technology in a Carnival show.
One thing we noticed are all the different color markings on the floors. They represent the stage configurations on the various ships. Different studios are set up to serve the different ship classeses.
The main event was a preview of “Rock Revolution — Music from the Summer of ’69.” Described as “a modernized concert-style show inspired by the legendary Woodstock music festival that pays tribute … to fashion styles reminiscent of icons like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin,” it’s a high-energy, high-octane experience that’s been over a year in development. The costumes are amazing, as are the performers. Cruisers on the Panorama are in for a treat.
“When planning Carnival Panorama’s Playlist Productions shows, we challenged ourselves to think more creatively than ever before to find ways to ‘wow’ both our longtime guests and those sailing with us for the first time,” said Kerry Stables, creative director of Carnival Productions who leads an in-house team of accomplished entertainment professionals both on board and ashore in a press release. “From performing drones to new music genres and a keen attention to costuming, décor and theme details, these shows prove how innovative our productions have become and raise the bar on our offerings in a fun, creative and unique way.”
Carnival also noted these additonal entertainment options on Panorama in their release:
- Soulbound, a gothic-inspired show with dazzling special effects and R&B classics, and Celestial Strings, a journey that transitions through the seasons with imagery set to a rock and pop soundtrack merged with classical musicians playing live electric strings.
- Carnival Panorama will host a number of entertaining activities day and night including the South Beach-inspired Serenity Nights party at the ship’s outdoor adults-only retreat, a shipboard production of the hit Paramount TV series ‘Lip Sync Battle’ and so much more.
Carnival Panorama will launch year-round seven-day cruises Dec. 14, 2019 departing every Saturday to destinations along the Mexican Riviera.
Story and photos courtesy of Gerry Barker.