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Masque Sound Marks 75 Years

Broadway audio stalwart Masque Sound celebrated its 75th anniversary Monday with a Diamond Anniversary Party, held appropriately at the New Amsterdam Theatre on 42nd Street.

Masque Sound’s General Manager, Stephanie Hansen (left), and company principal, Geoff Shearing.
New York (October 18, 2011)—Broadway audio stalwart Masque Sound celebrated its 75th anniversary Monday with a Diamond Anniversary Party, held appropriately at the New Amsterdam Theatre on 42nd Street.

Speaking to Pro Sound News, 3rd generation-owner Geoff Shearing discussed the company’s ongoing success, and noted that with the notable anniversary, the company is “refocusing on our core competencies.” Not that the company has been slacking—its current client roster includes the likes of Jersey Boys, Billy Elliott, Mary Poppins, Memphis and The Book of Mormon. Nonetheless, he noted that the installation side of the business is gaining a greater emphasis these days too, remarking “We’re used to having to put together complex show systems fast, sometimes with no notice, so when it comes to installations, both that experience and the necessary industry relationships come in handy.”

Founded in 1936 when three stagehands pooled their resources to create a new firm, Masque went on to provide audio for the original Broadway productions of Oklahoma, South Pacific, Grease, The Phantom Of The Opera, Les Miserables, Cats, Mamma Mia, The Lion King and many others.

Under Geoff Shearing, the sound reinforcement, design and installation company has steadily expanded the size and scope of its services. Its 2004 move to a 70,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters in East Rutherford, NJ was preceded by the 2002 purchase of Professional Wireless Systems. PWS counts over a dozen Super Bowl broadcasts to its credit, along with assignments for the NHL, wireless upgrades for NBC TV and other broadcast, entertainment, corporate and government projects.

In 2007, Masque Sound added a permanent systems installation division. Projects have included Le Poisson Rouge, a noted Greenwich Village club, as well as NYU’s James L. Dolan Recording/Teaching facility. Masque Sound also installed the systems for New York’s new DiMenna Center for Classical Music; the sound system renovation for the New Victory Theater on West 42nd St.; and the critical acoustic sound system upgrade for New York’s historic St. Bartholomew’s Church on Park Ave.

In celebration of the Diamond Anniversary, company General Manager, Stephanie Hansen reached out to graphic designer Milton Glaser for an update to the firm’s graphic image. “I’ve been a fan of Milton’s for a long time, and recently saw a documentary on his work,” Ms. Hansen remarked. “We were thrilled when he agreed to marry his talents with our existing brand.”

“A 75th Anniversary is a significant milestone,” said company principal Geoff Shearing. “We are grateful to our many long-term clients, and to a dedicated in-house team, some of whom have been with us over 20 years. My father remains active, and enthusiastically monitors our on-going success from his New Hampshire home, just as my grandfather took great pride in dad’s nurturing of our legacy.

“I grew up watching them make decisions about what new technology to invest in, and how to grow the business in the most logical way,” Shearing added. “Their most important lesson was that customer service is the basis for all success. Our concerns for solving client technical challenges in the most creative, efficient and cost-effective way has continued to be a key element in our on-going success. We are privileged to work on blue ribbon projects that run the gamut from hit Broadway shows to network TV and world-class corporate events. I look forward to celebrating our 100th anniversary in 2036!”

Masque Sound