WILLIAMSTOWN, MA, AUGUST 4, 2014 — When the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts recently came alive for the 60th season of the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, returned to celebrate its 11th season of providing audio equipment and services for the highly acclaimed summer theatre.
Since 1955, the Williamstown Theatre Festival has been bringing together America’s finest actors, directors, designers and playwrights as they present a unique opportunity for artists and audiences alike to revisit classic plays with innovative, new productions. This summer, two internationally renowned powerhouse performers—soprano Renée Fleming and multiple award-winning actress, dancer and singer Chita Rivera—will make their respective Williamstown Theatre Festival Main Stage debuts. The festival's 2014 season kicked off with the opening of June Moon on the Main Stage and A Great Wilderness on the Nikos Stage. Now playing on the Main Stage are Living on Love and The Visit, while Fool for Love and The Old Man and the Old Moon will round out the Nikos Stage’s summer productions.
To ensure a successful season, Masque Sound provided a comprehensive custom audio equipment package for each of the two stages’ three summer shows. “Prior to the season opening, we start from scratch and work with Masque Sound’s talented crew to map out and create what we envision for the season’s equipment packages,” says Ben Truppin-Brown, sound supervisor, Williamstown Theatre Festival. “This year, we installed a fairly comprehensive, overarching audio system, designed to provide a front end PA that will work across the board, adequately addressing the audio requirements for each of the six shows between the two spaces, while also taking into account the particular needs of each individual show. The challenge is that when one production ends, we only have 24 hours to changeover for the next show. Masque Sound did a great job in helping us lay out the general infrastructure, so that we could very easily drop in the additional components that we needed for the next production.”
New to the Williamstown Theatre Festival this year is the addition of Dante-enabled equipment to Masque Sound’s custom package. “Masque Sound has always been incredibly accommodating to our needs, and when we asked about using the Dante™-enabled equipment for this season, they were happy to oblige,” adds Truppin-Brown. “Using the Dante network makes the distribution of the signal unbelievably simple and efficient. It’s an amazing addition and one that we are thankful Masque Sound made possible for us.”
In addition to the Dante-enabled custom audio equipment package, Masque Sound is also once again managing frequency coordination for the Williamstown Theatre Festival. The company’s expert wireless service team has been on-hand providing approximately 15 channels of wireless for the start of the summer and will be expanding to about 56 channels of wireless for the final two musicals.
The two main stages at the Williamstown Theatre Festival are equipped with an array of Meyer Sound and d&b audiotechnik speakers. The 511-seat Main Stage theatre features a Yamaha CL-5 Digital Mixing Console and the 173-seat Nikos Stage is equipped with a Yamaha CL1 console. All of the signal processing takes place digitally from the consoles to the Yamaha DME64 Digital Mixing Engine before breaking out to analog outputs. For wireless needs, Truppin-Brown utilized the Sennheiser 3000 series transmitters and receivers, supplementing it with Sennheiser SK 5012 and SK 5212 transmitters and EM 1046 receivers.
“One of the reasons why Masque Sound is such a reliable, well-respected company in the industry is because the crew offers a high-level of support to its customers, one that is unparalleled,” adds Truppin-Brown. “We produce shows of a high caliber, and we do it with a young, but talented, crew whose experience levels greatly vary. Equally as important as the production quality of the festival is the educational experience that we provide interns and staff. For most of the people on the Williamstown crew, this shop build was their very first. Masque Sound supports that educational mission through its staff’s willingness to teach and by allowing us to expose our crew to some of the best equipment available. It is an experience that I don’t think any other summer stock theatre can offer and that I don’t think any other shop can give. We could not be as successful as we are without Masque Sound, and we value our relationship with them.”
In addition to the two main stages, Masque Sound also provided custom audio equipment packages to the Goodrich Hall, for the festival’s cabaret performances; the Directing Studio’s workshop productions; and numerous rehearsal and performance spaces in and around the greater Williamstown area. To learn more about the Williamstown Theatre Festival, visit http://wtfestival.org/.
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.