NEW YORK - Sound Designers Cody Spencer and M.L. Dogg were charged with taking audiences back to the late 70s and early 80s for a fully immersive show about Filipina First Lady Imelda Marcos, while incorporating the popular beats and rhythms of disco music for the smash hit, Here Lies Love. Playing at The Public Theater’s LuEsther Hall, they relied on Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, to bring the party to the people.
Here Lies Love, a revolutionary musical experience from David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, returns to The Public after its sold out, limited engagement last year. Directed by Alex Timbers, this thrilling show retraces the astonishing journey of Filipina First Lady Imelda Marcos from her meteoric rise to power to her descent into infamy and the People Power Revolution. An adrenaline-fueled, 360-degree multimedia spectacle, Here Lies Love blends the passion of politics with heart-pounding dance beats for an exhilarating blast of pure joy.
In designing the sound, Spencer and Dogg wanted to immerse the audience in a club atmosphere while maintaining vocal intelligibility. “We put a lot of energy into making it feel like a club (with lights, videos, strobes and haze), but, at the same time, we wanted to make sure that the people standing and watching the show would be able to hear every word and understand the story that David Byrne is trying to tell in this process,” Spencer says. “Masque Sound was very attentive to our audio requirements and provided us with the sound solutions that we needed to be successful. Craig Freeman, the show’s sound mixer, then played a huge role in helping this all come together for each performance.”
To bring the club feel to the theater, Masque Sound supplied the designers with a DiGiCo SD10T digital console along with the DiGiCo UB MADI, which provides the ability to playback up to 48 channels over two MADI cables from QLab. “The SD10 gives us more matrix outputs, which is a real benefit,” adds Spencer. “Another reason that we went with the SD10 is its crosspoint delay matrix. The SD10 is an excellent console that provides excellent versatility and flexibility.”
Another key factor to the show’s success was speaker selection. The designers’ goal was to create a sound that would not make the vocals piercing on top. “I wanted the vocal speakers to be mellow and blend really well,” Spencer says. “In order to make that happen, we selected the L-Acoustics 112P, which work great. For the music speakers, we went with the EAW KF695Z Compact Virtual Array three-way system. Although not something that you traditionally see in the theater world, this tried-and-true speaker was ideal for the music component of the sound design. For our subs, we used the L-Acoustics DVs. We wanted a very musical sound as opposed to a vocally heavy sound, which is more the norm in musical theater.”
Masque Sound also provided 28 channels of wireless, featuring Sennheiser EM3532 receivers with 5012 transmitters and DPA 4065s microphones, which help deliver the really pristine vocals needed in a room that has sound from the speakers flowing over all of the actors the whole time. For his handheld microphones, Spencer chose the Shure UR2 series handhelds, which he favors due to their durability and excellent tonality.
“Another key component to the show’s success is that the lighting and video is synched to SMPTE timecode that is being generated from Q-Lab,” adds Spencer. “The timecode gives the video and lighting the ability to lock on to what the music is doing, which is really beneficial to the whole process. The timecode is making things that need to be precise, precise. The show looks amazing, and thanks to Masque Sound, sounds great.”
Here Lies Love began previews on April 14, 2014 and officially opens on May 1, 2014. For more info, visit herelieslove.com.
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.