LOS ANGELES — When Sound Designers David Patridge and John Shivers returned for the second run of Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s Harmony – A New Musical, they once again turned to Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, to provide a new custom audio equipment package. The show’s Los Angeles production at the Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre marks the second time the duo was personally chosen by Manilow and Sussman to create the sound design — and while the story remains the same, the sound design was completely different.
Harmony recounts the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, six talented young men who in 1920s Germany took the world by storm with their signature blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics. The Comedian Harmonists sold millions of records, starred in dozens of films and packed the most prestigious concert halls around the globe until the world they knew forever changed with the commencement of World War II.
“After the Atlanta run [of Harmony] came to an end, the equipment we used went back into Masque Sound’s shop and we rebuilt the entire show for this second run in Los Angeles,” says Patridge. “Every theatre and venue is a challenge of its own. One of the obstacles was the theatre’s size, as the Ahmanson is a much bigger theatre than Atlanta. You can’t cookie cutter these things and they have to be morphed into whatever works for the architecture. Masque Sound did an excellent job accommodating our needs.”
Masque Sound provided the designers with a DiGiCo SD10T digital console, which not only provides the flexibility they were looking for but also comes complete with a software package that is designed specifically for the theatrical market. In addition, the show has a completely new PA design featuring L-Acoustics dv-DOSC speaker arrays built from scratch via Masque Sound’s inventory. The dv-DOSC delivers powerful, cost-effective coverage in a compact profile making it ideal for the designers' needs.
Masque Sound also supplied a demo system of the Sennheiser Digital 9000 Wireless System featuring eight 9000 series radios. The Sennheiser Digital 9000 system was developed for all professional users who are unwilling to compromise on sound. Its unique uncompressed digital audio transmission offers artifact-free sound with great dynamics. The Sennheiser Digital 9000 wireless system not only delivers a unique sound quality but also lets its professional users experience a whole new kind of flexibility.
“With the Sennheiser 9000 series you can use a built-in software feature in the receiver rack, which will scan and allocate available frequencies,” adds Patridge. “Theoretically, you should no longer need the extra steps of doing an RF scan of the venue in advance or an intermodulation study. The 9000 series takes the hit or miss of pre-programming completely out of the equation. Masque Sound not only provided us with this impressive demo equipment, but they also set up an on-site visit with a Sennheiser tech who demonstrated the use and features of the new system. There is no question that the 9000 series will prove very valuable with a more and more crowded RF spectrum and sonically, they are great.”
Directed by Drama Desk Award-nominee Tony Speciale (Classic Stage Company's Unnatural Acts, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Harmony officially opened at the Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles on March 4 and is slated to run through April 13, 2014.
About Masque Sound
Founded in 1936 by a trio of Broadway stagehands, Masque Sound evolved into one of NYC’s most successful theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design companies specializing in theatrical, house of worship, sporting, corporate, TV broadcast and live concert events. Celebrating more than 75 years in the industry, the company is lead by Geoff Shearing, the firm’s 3rd generation owner, and Vice President and General Manager Stephanie Hansen. The company also operates Florida-based Professional Wireless Systems, a leader in the development and implementation of wireless technology. Credits range from major Broadway shows and tours including “Phantom of the Opera,” “Mamma Mia!,” “Lion King,” “Jersey Boys,” “Memphis,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Newsies,” “Once” and “Kinky Boots” to yearly Super Bowl broadcasts and installations of varying sizes, including New York’s New Victory Theater and historic St. Bartholomew’s Church. Masque Sound’s 70,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters and main assembly facility is located at 21 East Union Ave., East Rutherford, NJ, 20 minutes from midtown Manhattan. For more information, call (201) 939-8666 or visit www.MasqueSound.com.