Star Wars: A Galactic Celebration – Meet the Producer and Stage Manager

Stage of the show Star Wars: A Galactic Celebration

Both grandiose and totally immersive, Star Wars: A Galactic Celebration – which returned on January 11 at Walt Disney Studios Park, benefits from a unique stage at the foot of the Tower of Terror and impressive technical effects. We learned more about this original production from the producer of the show, Marie-Charlotte Bientz and the stage manager, Michael Mulato.

Marie-Charlotte, Michael, how did you come to work on the show?

Marie Charlotte: I joined the company 12 years ago now. I had studied show production at university and Disneyland Paris was my work-study company during my Masters. I was fortunate to be hired as a production assistant thereafter and have grown from there to my current position. ​Disney Dreams! was the first show I worked on when I joined the production trade. This is where I met Michael. And following this experience, I was asked to participate in the development of the production infrastructure for Production Courtyard, as well as in ​Star Wars: A Galactic Celebration which uses video production like ​Disney Dreams!

Michael: As for me, I arrived at Disneyland Paris fifteen years ago in attractions, then the parades department where I accompanied Disney characters and guided floats. Two years later, I became assistant stage manager. Between 2007 and 2017, I participated in most of the destination’s shows. Then I became stage manager for productions such as ​Bienvenue à la Belle Saison (2014), ​La Garden Party de Dingo (2016) and Disney Dreams! I became a general stage manager almost three years ago for seasons like Christmas, Halloween and the first Pirates & Princesses Festival, and I’ve been stage manager of the Production Courtyard stage at the foot of the Tower of Terror for over a year now. I take care of all the shows that take place there like ​#Surprise Mickey​, ​Legends of the Force​ and ​Marvel Season of Super Heroes​.

Michael, what is your job on this particular show?

Michael: I am the operational manager of everything that happens. Once the show is in operation, that is to say after the production phase piloted by Marie-Charlotte, I direct all the trades working on it, with the help of my team of stage managers, to coordinate the whole show.

Can you tell us more about this very special stage?

Marie Charlotte: We created it to present shows for seasons and special events at Walt Disney Studios Park, so it has to be very flexible. LED screens are a very important technical element as they allow shows to be played day and night. We only had one main screen to start, but now we have three to really immerse our guests and we added two new scenes with their own screen, courtyard and garden as we say in show business. All of them can play simultaneously, both in panning and individually, which we do a lot in ​Star Wars: A Galactic Celebration.

How do you use “mapping” and sound to immerse guests in the show?

Marie Charlotte: The Tower of Terror is the tallest building at Disneyland Paris, with a mapping surface for projection that is quite unique. Technology has come a long way in the four years since Disney Dreams! started and this show has benefitted from those advances.

Michael: We have 17 video projectors, including 16 in “quadrial”, that is to say that we have four video projectors projecting the same image on a given area which allows more power and light for an even more spectacular rendering. With a large, flat surface, we can project several important scenes at the same time on several areas of the Tower. That final projector is used to dress the rest of Production Courtyard to immerse visitors even more in our story. Visitors do not just face the show, they are truly immersed in the adventure. This goes beyond projection to sound too.

Marie Charlotte: What’s also unique about this stage is the 360-degree sound, not only from the front but from a system of diffusion in 7.1 distributed all around the space that allows us to create particularly immersive effects. For example, when a ship is projected on the Tower of Terror, you have the sound of its engine all over the place like it is passing just above you.

The show combines many different means of expression. How is it all synchronized?

Michael: Everything is coordinated by a “time code” – a kind of very precise stopwatch – and all of the effects whether video, lasers or pyrotechnics are programmed from this count.

Marie Charlotte: And this time code is guided by music. Audio is the conductor of all of our shows. Natalia Beliaeva, the director of the show, stages characters and images from movement and from music. And music flows from video, lasers, light and pyrotechnics. We were particularly attentive to the way of combining all these elements around the music. It is all the more important that the score of John Williams is very, very rich. The magic of this show is to carry the audience in a movement, to give them the impression, while being static, of flying towards this distant galaxy.

How did you work with the show directors?

Marie Charlotte: Our goal in production is to make the dreams of our directors come true and to give them the skills to go even further than they imagined. In ​Star Wars: A Galactic Celebration​, this manifests itself particularly in terms of interactions with droids. The director’s wish to have some of the familiar droids influence the stage design. We were able to expand his vision to welcome C-3PO, R2-D2 and BB-8 for a droid sequence even more important than it was at the start.

How has the show changed since 2017?

Marie Charlotte: The creation of this unique stage has certainly brought the show to a new level, and the scenic deployment has made this even more immersive. We have more space, more possibilities for characters to interact with guests, more screens to broadcast more images. And then, each new episode brings its share of novelties. And this year, we’ve integrated a tribute to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to close the saga in our own way.

How are reactions of the audience a source of inspiration for you?

Marie Charlotte: It is extremely important to us how our guests and fans react to the show. When we are lucky enough to have a season like this, which comes back from one year to the next, we listen to those audiences to improve ourselves and to fulfill the dreams of fans.

Michael: We spend weeks or even months in meetings and especially in rehearsals to see and review the show every night. But on the premiere day, it’s not the show I’m watching anymore, but the audience. This is a very strong moment that we look forward to.

What is your favorite moment from this Galactic Celebration?

Marie Charlotte: I’d say the arrival of Darth Vader. He comes out of the shadows and we just see his saber lighting up in the dark before he reveals himself to us. Iconically, it’s very strong. The whole character is there, reinforced by his images on The Tower of Terror. I also think of Darth Maul and his incredible acrobatics. He is alone on stage; his speech is very short and yet it is a very strong moment of the show.

Michael: For me, it’s the opening with the credits from Star Wars. I remember the first time I saw this show. I was still working on ​Disney Dreams!,​ but I was lucky enough to see it before everyone else. I had no idea what was going to happen. I was chatting with a colleague when all of a sudden the first chords rang out and I got chills. In an instant, I realized that something special was going to happen. I also love the finale, with all the characters on stage and the lyrics “May The Force be with you … always!” It’s a moment that transports me!

This show is the work of an entire team. Can you tell us about the human aspect?

Michael: We are about 40 people daily for video, lights, special effects, sound, control room. We have a very close-knit team here. Whether production or management, we are happy to meet every year for this production.

Marie Charlotte: If we talk about the overall show implementation, we easily go up to about 200 people. Each of us has a special attachment to Star Wars characters and stories. For my part, it was my dad who made me discover this universe. He was in the United States when the very first film was released in 1977, and he passed on his passion to me when I was a little girl. We all have a story with Star Wars. It’s an additional bond that unites us.

0 thoughts on “Star Wars: A Galactic Celebration – Meet the Producer and Stage Manager”

  1. Hi, there! I’m from Brazil, and I’ll be at DisneylandParis on my 40th birthday with my family (a husband and 3 daughters). May I have my “magical birthday ever”? This include a character? How I order it? We’re ordering a 1day/2parks ticket, and we have a doubt about the time of Paris Express. It leaves Disnenyland at 8pm, is that time AFTER the fireworks and night parade? We’re very excited with this family travel,and we’ll be waiting ansiously for your reply

  2. Wonderful article, please more like this!

    I’ve never seen that castle elevation artwork before, could you post it in a higher resolution? Would love to thoroughly investigate the details of it.

    Kind regards
    Disneyland Paris Treasures

  3. Greate post. Keep writing such kind of information on your blog. Im really impressed by your blog.

  4. Appreciating the time and energy you put into your site and in depth information you present. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed information. Wonderful read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.|

  5. What’s the point of attracting adults and “reconnecting them with childhooh emotions and memories” if once they’re there you’ll treat them like they’re not welcome?
    Maybe the problem is not our perception is wrong. Maybe the problem is you really don’t want us to go.

  6. There’s a Santa Fe style hotel? Oh my! Will have to go back and stay there! Only hotel I had time to see on my first visit was the Disneyland Hotel on my way into the park to see Captain Eo after it re-opened in June 2010. I was on a one-day visit via the Eurostar from London (on holiday there from Australia) so very limited time – too limited. But I loved it.

  7. I’ve been 4 times to Disneyland Paris in the last 3 years and each time the service has been absolutely dredful and not even apologetic – would love to see how this changes.

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  11. Actually, you can do this in a one-liner:$( .table tr:even’).addClass( highlight’);That sotceler finds all tr’s which are directly under any element with the table’ class, and the filter only matches every other tr element.

  12. Also my question:-) Is there a way to buy something although i’m not working at Disneyland Paris?

  13. So, so sad to see this icon show close! I first saw it in California in 1987 and was blown away by what was then incredible 3D technology, as well as Michael’s performance. When I visited Disneyland Paris for the first (and thus far, only) time on 24 June 2010 I was on a EuroStar day trip to the park from London which I was visiting for Michael Jackson 1st anniversary events with his UK fans. When I heard that Disneyland Paris and other Disney Parks were re-opening the film as a tribute to Michael, I HAD to make the journey across the channel to see it again. Needless to say, I made the most of the opportunity for repeat screenings on that day. And though I’ve since seen it repeatedly in Anaheim and Tokyo (shortly before it closed there last year) I’ll never, ever forget seeing it on the big screen for the first time since the 80s at Disneyland Paris. I’m not sure I want to go back now. 🙁

  14. It’s a shame this classic has to go, really!
    I’m glad I got the chance to experience it once again with the tribute performance.

    It was not quite the same since many of the original effects and the look and feel of the cinema were missing, still the old 3D glasses/technique and and analogue! print/and projector was used, which was and is kind of lazy from Disney. Also, the print was very worn out the last time I’ve seen it and should have been replaced long ago.

    But, still better than no Captain EO.

    Since Captain EO will never return to the Disney parks, please release a worthy blu-ray of this classic masterpiece (in 3D and 2D). I’m sure plenty of Disney-, Michael Jackson-, Anjelica Huston, Franics Ford Coppola- and George Lucas-Fans would buy it in an instant!

    I sure would!

  15. Why oh why is this closing?

    Have seen it several times at Disneyland Paris in the last couple of years and and each showing was packed out! Judging by everyone’s reaction on the way out, the audience clearly loved both the film and its effects.

    Bad decision, Disney 🙁

  16. The reason it has closed is that jardly anyone watches. Figures have dwindled and have been for years. It has been declining in the mast few years. Everyone moans and groans but it costs Disney to keep it running and if the audiences ain’t coming, who can afford to keep it.

  17. between Oxford and CambridgeONSet the price of a $268look on approximately $358 and buyers will flip away. While you are it true the quick gladness in a bestthe states in the nation with such as AC Milan red and black

  18. Would it be possible to meet with some one in hr on the 2nd idecember2015 to discuss student placement with you. Students would be 18 plus studying travel and tourism funded via Erasmus
    Kind regards

    Sue

  19. We used these just after Christmas. Such a vast improvement since our last visit in summer 2014. Well done! I still had to wait from about 9am to get a good spot in the queue, but then we only waited about 10 minutes in the actual pavilion, as opposed to 70 minutes last time!

  20. We had a wonderfull new years evening at euro disney 2015 – 2016!!!!
    It was fantastic!!
    Thank you!

  21. Will the foliage be refurbished? Many leaves and small branches are missing and spoil the attraction so hopefully these will be refurbished.

  22. Hello We are a family of 4 with my husband and 2 children.I am 32 weeks pregnant.With the easy access card will I have access to attractions with my family.

  23. would changing the perception around DP to attract adults or a particular age groups not be at the expense of other age groups eg kids, teenagers.

  24. What a shame that they cast aside the park’s heritage, people’s memories and their love of DLP by destroying the named stones and replacing them with bland slabs.
    There were a few broken and loose ones, but surely they could have been kept and relayed to a better standard than they had previously.
    It has really dampened our DLP experience. What next? Removal of the castle?

  25. it’sasmallworld is more beautifulthan before.

    I will ride to it’s a smallworld during go to disneyland paris.

  26. i come to disney land for 20 years every year 2or3 times
    i am a real disney fan i collect it also but my complain is this year
    when y order to stay in the hotel why did they not mention
    that there is so many attraction close in the park you mention about the hotel but let also know about what happen in the park
    i hope you understand why i writhe this
    i hope that you will reply
    thanks yolande

  27. I want cast menbers . business chaienge back stage new shw works
    my challenge .
    U.S.A I want art work project menbers.

  28. Hello, I am staying at the Hotel on 9/23/16. That day is my daughter’s birthday. Do you have the opportunity to purchase a cake?

  29. Can anyone help with getting in touch with photopass for Disneyland Paris. Tried sending email through contact us but email keeps coming back undeliverable. All photos are not coming up and need them to find my photos.

  30. Not Impressed! Big Thunder mountain is one of my favorite Disney Rides! Shut! Simlarly, the Star Wars events are apparently unavailable.No mention of these attractions being shut when my booking was made in June. My grandson, for whom we arranged this trip, has extatically reached the height limit, and a star wars addict/devotee will now be denied these pleasures. Will there be a refund/discount offered?

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