RC4 Wireless and LumenRadio - Defying Gravity (and Cables) Worldwide

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Sell out musical sensation Wicked has hit the UK and Ireland touring circuit a sleeker and altogether more agile show with the help of wireless DMX products from RC4 Wireless and Lumen Radio.

RC4 Wireless and LumenRadio - defying gravity (and cables) worldwide.

Sell out musical sensation Wicked has hit the UK and Ireland touring circuit a sleeker and altogether more agile show with the help of wireless DMX products from RC4 Wireless and Lumen Radio.

The Wicked UK and Ireland tour is one of the biggest tours of its kind. Crucially, the brief was to retain the same production values and scale as the West End show, while scenically and technically making it easy to transport and more robust than ever before.

Part of this particular design process has been to replace the complex cabling that fed moving scenic elements with a range of powerfully compact wireless DMX products from RC4 Wireless. Utilizing state-of-the-art LumenRadio CRMX rf technology, these products include RC4 LumenDim4 4-channel low voltage dimmers, RC4 LumenData receivers and SuperNova software from Lumen Radio.

Production Scenic Lighting Electrician, Mike Ward, has been responsible for technically realising the creative concept of Wicked, touring and venue based, for some years now: “I’ve worked on more than nine Wicked productions,” Ward explains. “In that time we’ve transitioned from a fully hardwired system, used for the permanent house productions, to a predominantly wireless one for touring.”

The transition became necessary when the depth of the stage had to be reduced for the US tour, rendering the original hardwired deck and set wiring impossible.

After working in close collaboration with Wicked’s associate designers, Edward Pierce and Nick Francone, and having previously used RC4Magic and RC5 wireless systems in other Wicked tours with resounding success, Ward specified RC4 LumenDim4 4-channel low voltage dimmers and RC4 LumenData receivers to gain DMX control of many of the more complex moving set and set lighting elements.

“I contacted RC4 Wireless founder and chief product designer, James Smith, to discuss the show and he was extremely accommodating,” Ward explains. “For most scenarios we created a number of powerful and flexible systems that were small enough to fit into small spaces yet also robust and easy to use. The system has been totally stable from day one.”

Ward chose the RC4 Wireless LumenDim4 - a low-voltage DC four-channel wireless dimmer that utilises Lumen Radio’s CRMX wireless DMX receiver. “The unit can fit almost anywhere in the set,” RC4’s Smith explains. “This has enabled Mike to use wireless dimming on everything from battery-powered lamps, motors, relays, solenoids and hand-held props to moving sets pieces, and other hard-to-reach locations, all of which are in abundance on Wicked!”

Another advantage of using LumenDim and LumenData devices is compatibility with Lumen Radio’s award-winning SuperNova control software – a full RDM suite that enables the addressing and monitoring of the system remotely.

“This is one of the first times that RDM has been utilized on a major production in the UK,” Smith notes. “The team can address set electrics in a matter of seconds using SuperNova software to visualise and manage all the CRMX, RDM, and Art-Net compliant devices involved. Colour coded lines and icons indicate the health of the system and they can monitor signal strength, DMX information and device sensors. Alarms and warnings can be sent out through e-mail, push notifications to smart phones or even saved in an SQL database!”

And, Ward adds, “Most importantly, of course, the wireless link has been stable since day one – rock solid.”

For Ward the system has definitely improved the efficiency of the build process and efficacy of the show’s moving and scenic elements as he explains: “Upstage a four piece travelling wall, featuring numerous individual points of green LED was originally controlled by hardwired DMX and power fed from a cable retractor. This would get jammed. We tried other manufacturer’s wireless DMX receivers, however they didn’t work out as any interruptions in the power supply would require a manual re-set of the whole system. The advantage of the RC4 system is it resets itself automatically and the signal is never corrupted by power interruptions.”

For the UK tour Ward went one-step further and, wherever possible, replaced onstage effects and prop power with battery power: “Every LED on this show can be operated by battery,” says Ward. “However LD Ken Posner wanted to maintain the consistency of the incandescent lighting so we went back to cable power on the Oz Lab truck. It’s regularly un-plugged and re-plugged. However, as I said before, the RC4 wireless system ensures a constant signal, no matter where the truck is on stage and how many times it is disconnected from power.”

And for RC4’s founder, James Smith, Lumen Radio products are the product of choice: “When a project like this comes up, CRMX technology is a great solution for us,” he says. “The specification on Wicked asked for a robust, wireless solution with full RDM support that is reliable and would travel well on the road. Lumen Radio offers exactly those kind of products with excellent back up support, so that if any issues should ever arise most can be solved immediately.”

Wicked, which prefaces the story of the Wizard of Oz, continues to be a global hit since it first opened in New York. The show has won multiple Tony and Olivier awards for resident productions in New York and London. The Wicked tour plays in Dublin until 18th January, then moves on to Milton Keynes and then around the UK with dates announced until May 2015.

About RC4
RC4 is a renowned industry expert when it comes to wireless dimming technology and has products in regular use in top venues around the globe including: New York’s Radio City Music Hall and London’s National Theatre. The company’s products are recognised for their reliability and their compact size making them ideal for easy integration into set and costume pieces of any size.

About Lumen Radio
LumenRadio is the established technology leader in wireless lighting controls, based on the award winning and patent pending CRMX technology, which ensures superior reliability in wireless connections. In 2013, LumenRadio markets products for entertainment, architainment and architectural lighting under the CRMX brand in over thirty countries globally with thousands of successful installations worldwide. LumenRadio and the CRMX technology have won numerous awards for innovation and business excellence, and LumenRadio is recognized as one of Sweden's fastest growing start-ups.

About Wicked:


Wicked has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, a book by Winnie Holzman, scenic design by Eugene Lee, costumes by Susan Hilferty, lighting by Kenneth Posner, sound by Tony Meola, projection designs by Elaine J McCarthy, Hair and Wig designs by Tom Watson, music arrangements by Alex Lacamoire and Stephen Oremus, dance arrangements by James Lynn Abbott, orchestrations by William David Brohn, musical supervision by Stephen Oremus, musical staging by Wayne Cilento and is directed by Joe Mantello.


The UK & Ireland Tour premiered in Manchester on 17 September 2013 (with previews from 12 September) to 5 star rave reviews: “★★★★★A magical, mesmerising musical. This is a richly layered production that provides many spellbinding treats for young and old” (Manchester Evening News); “★★★★★When word gets around as to just how brilliant this show is tickets will become like gold dust” (Sale & Altrincham Messenger); “★★★★★A stunning production that will engage, enthrall and entertain everyone who decides to enter its magical world” (The Public Reviews) and “★★★★★Prepare to be spellbound” (Lancashire Telegraph).

Critics also acclaimed the high quality of the production: “rest assured that this first touring production maintains the spectacular staging, costume design and magic of the original” (Manchester Evening News); “the new staging injects a compelling urgency into a fable that still grabs the eye and the ear” (The Stage); “the production values are incredible - this is every bit the West End show” (The Public Reviews); “this UK and Ireland tour premiere lives up to all expectations” (Lancashire Telegraph) and “this has ‘West End quality’ running through it like a stick of rock” (Whatsonstage.com).


The London production premiered on 27 September 2006 (with previews from 7 September) and has now been seen by over 5 million people. Wicked has been hailed as “the biggest thing in musicals since The Phantom of the Opera opened” (The Times), “one of the biggest hits of our age” (The Observer) and “one of the most popular West End musicals ever" (London Evening Standard).

Wicked continues to be the top choice of West End theatregoers having been voted Most Popular Show (Olivier Awards), Best Night Out (Evening Standard Theatre Awards), Best West End Show (Whatsonstage.com Awards in both 2011 and 2010) and Best Family Fun (Visit London Awards).


There are at present 9 productions playing concurrently around the world: at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway (where it has recently celebrated its 10th birthday), on two North American tours, in Japan, South Korea, Mexico, on tour in Australia and New Zealand, on tour in the UK and Ireland and at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre (where it is now in its 8th year). Wicked has already been seen by over 38 million people worldwide and grossed in excess of $3.1 billion at the Box Office.

The global phenomenon has now been performed in over 100 cities in 13 countries around the world (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, Germany, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, The Philippines, and Mexico) and has been translated into five languages: Japanese, German, Dutch, Spanish, and Korean.

Wicked has been recognised as “the best musical of the decade” (Entertainment Weekly), “the defining musical of the decade” (The New York Times), “a cultural phenomenon” (Variety) and “a breathtaking success story of a magnitude not witnessed since the peak years of The Phantom of the Opera” (The Washington Post).

Wicked has already won over 90 international awards.


If you think you know the Wicked Witch of the West, think again...

When Dorothy famously triumphed over the Wicked Witch, we only ever heard one side of the story. Gregory Maguire’s “outstanding novel” (The Independent), ‘Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West’, ingeniously and wittily re-imagined the Land of Oz, creating a parallel universe to the familiar story written by L. Frank Baum and first published as ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ in 1900.

Wicked tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two girls who first meet as sorcery students at Shiz University: the blonde and very popular Glinda and a misunderstood green girl named Elphaba. Following an encounter with The Wizard, their friendship reaches a crossroads and their lives take very different paths. Glinda’s unflinching desire for popularity sees her seduced by power while Elphaba’s determination to remain true to herself, and to those around her, will have unexpected and shocking consequences for her future. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfill their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Experience this unforgettable, award-winning musical and discover that you’ve not been told the whole story about the Land of Oz.

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Sean Dane
RC4 Wireless
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