Campus Visit: Two Grads on the Road with American Idol

Following each season of American Idol the top ten finalists set out on a national tour, bringing the excitement of the show to fans around the country. This year has seen two Full Sail Show Production graduates join the crew for the Idol tour, with Drew Gnagey as lighting designer and director, and Steve Hupkowicz as PA technician.

Both grads dropped by Full Sail campus last week to catch up with us during the tour’s stop in Orlando, and shared their experiences translating the hit series to the stage.

“The glitz and glamour you see on TV you also see on tour,” Drew says. “This is a beautiful production with the sound and visuals, and really exemplifies what the show is. They want people to be able to get out of their living rooms and into the arena and have it be everything they expected, and we deliver that.”

Each concert starts off with a group performance, after which the individual vocalists get their own sets. For the majority of the talent, this is their first time being on the road, and it’s been rewarding for the grads to help acclimate them to the rigors of live production.

“We’re getting them used to the technical side – different microphones, in ear monitors, things like that,” Steve says. “It’s fun watching them grow, and I feel we can help take them to the next level and get them ready to go further on with their careers.”

The 2012 American Idol tour plays for 45 dates through September, and you can check the official website for more information. As the grads explained, the series’ enduring popularity has resulted in great crowds and warm reception for this year’s crop of performers.

“The talent has been at a very high caliber this time out, so it’s nice to see such positive feedback,” Drew says. “Everyone has their Idol that they love, so it tends to be an energetic night both with the performances on stage and the love they get from the crowd.”