You can be sure that I will be glued to the TV during the Super Bowl tomorrow evening. I hope the Broncos win, but it’s not the football game that I’m most interested in.
So you read that and thought, ah ha, she’s going to say she’ll be watching the commercials, right? But no, that’s not it either.
The big attraction for me will be the halftime show. And not because I’m a Cold Play fan. No, it’s because I’m a big James Casalino fan.
Who is James?
He is a mechanical engineer who heads up the design and drafting team at All Access Staging Productions in Los Angeles. This is the company that has designed and constructed the set for the halftime show of the last five Super Bowls.
And how do I know James? He was a student of mine at Woodstock High School, a 2000 graduate, and is the son of good friends. I’ve known his parents since the ’70s, when his father, Tony, joined the English department where I was already teaching.
As I write, this year’s set is still top secret, but James recalled some of the challenges from previous years. “We created the video wall that flipped up from the stage for Beyoncé’s Super Bowl XLVII halftime show, and we created lifts and a quick deployment slackline for Madonna’s Super Bowl XLVI halftime show,” he said. “This past year for Katy Perry’s Super Bowl XLIX halftime show, almost the entire set was fabricated from scratch; but no matter what we do, everything is reviewed and calculated by an independent engineering team to confirm our structural design is adequate.”
And there is one more challenge: training and coordinating the 500 volunteers who have just 7.5 minutes to move and assemble the set on the field. And then 5 minutes to remove it after the show. James works on that too.
In addition to Super Bowls, he has created sets for The “Monster” tour featuring Eminem and Rihanna, tours by Van Halen and Rascal Flatts, “American Idol,” “Dancing with the Stars,” the World Poker Tour, the 2006 Grammy Awards, “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” and more.
James is a true star. And a young man who makes his hometown exceptionally proud.