The latest show by Australian comedian Barry Humphries, Back With a Vengeance! has just been extended through June 4, 2005, at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre, where Dame Edna’s every insult is delivered through Sennheiser wireless equipment.
Show sound designer Dan Scheivert, VP of Saratoga Springs, N.Y.–based sound company OMNItech, reports, “Sennheiser SK5012 transmitters are being used just for Dame Edna. He’s one of those artists where everything has to be right all the time, so we obviously picked the best that’s out there. Right now, the 5012s are one of the most reliable out there.”
The SK5012 ultra-compact bodypack is used with an ultra-miniature lavalier microphone. “It’s the smallest possible combination we could get,” Scheivert explains. “It’s a system we’ve devised to make the smallest possible setup for him because the mic is worn in his glasses.”
Dame Edna is joined onstage during several song-and-dance numbers by a pair of female dancers, dubbed “The Ednaettes,” and two male dancers, “The TestEdnarones.” “They’re using Sennheiser SK50 transmitters,” says Scheivert. “We love the SK5012 and SK50 because of their reliability and the way they sound. We’ve used different transmitters, but the 5012s and the 50s are the best combo for us and the most reliable.”
Act 2 includes a film sequence highlighting the life of Dame Edna, during which a long shotgun microphone equipped with a Sennheiser SKP30 is put to use. Scheivert explains, “It’s a plug-on transmitter that we stick on a shotgun to pick up the characters [audience “volunteers”] that he calls onstage.
“We use the transmitter on the back so the actor operating the boom doesn’t have any cords flying around because he’s walking around a table. We also use a Sennheiser MZW70 blimp windscreen and MZS20 mount with the shotgun.”
Six Sennheiser EM3032 true-diversity receivers are also in use, together with Sennheiser antenna boosters and distribution. “The receivers are used for the wireless transmitters and also two handhelds. There’s a handheld for the piano player, who uses a Sennheiser SKM3072-U, and we also have one as a backup.”
With Broadway’s reliance on wireless equipment, says Scheivert, “There’s so much more RF than there used to be. There are theaters all over, and everybody is using Sennheisers. When we got in at the Music Box, there wasn’t anybody next door to us, so we locked in our frequencies. When the next show went in, my assistant went over with a list, as well as being provided a list from the designers next door.”