East Haddam, Conn. – July 8, 2010: Goodspeed Musicals' productions are known throughout the country for their lively performances and intimate ambience. At the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Conn., many audience members can get up-close looks at the actors' incredibly detailed choreography and costumes. But what they don't see are the tiny microphones—creatively tucked away from view—that carry the actors' powerful voices throughout the majestic theater.
Goodspeed Musicals' sound team relies on ultra-small wireless microphone systems from audio specialist Sennheiser, which operates its U.S. headquarters just a few towns away in Old Lyme. Sennheiser manufactures and markets headphones and microphones for the consumer electronics market and pro audio applications such as broadcasting, film/TV and Broadway productions.
Goodspeed Musicals' audio team reached out to Sennheiser in search of ultra-small wireless microphone systems that provide natural-sounding amplification of actors' voices without overpowering the small space.
“Keeping the microphones completely hidden is a major priority for us,” said Jay Hilton, sound designer for Goodspeed Musicals. Ensuring a flawless look is simpler now that the theater has adopted Sennheiser's tiny clip-on microphones and transmitters. But it still takes a high level of creativity and imagination to make sure microphones remain completely out of sight, yet deliver natural-sounding, non-muffled sound.
“Whenever possible, I mount the transmitter and microphone in actors' wigs,” Hilton said. “Our wig designers actually design the look of the wig to accommodate the transmitters.”
For last December's holiday production of Jim Henson's Emmet Otter, Hilton was presented with the challenge of hiding microphones among bright woodland creature costumes. “Blending the mics into the bright orange fur of the foxes and bright green scales of the lizard is not common practice for the more traditional musicals we do.” He ended up painting the microphone cables to match, and applied a special painted tape to the “head” of the microphone that also kept extra sweat and moisture at bay.
“Supreme attention to detail is a cornerstone of every one of Goodspeed Musicals' productions,” said Stefanie Reichert, vice president of strategic marketing at Sennheiser USA. “We're very proud to support such a major force within our local arts community.”
Visitors to the Goodspeed Opera House can experience the Broadway-quality sound of Sennheiser throughout the year. Productions include “Carnival!” (July 9 through September 18) and “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” (September 24 through November 28).