Venerable comedian Jackie Mason returned to Broadway this fall for his sixth one-man show, Prune Danish, which was also a return engagement for Christopher Cronin, sound designer for this current production, as well as Mason's previous Broadway outing, Much Ado About Everything. For this show, Cronin chose a Meyer Sound M1D Ultra-Compact Curvilinear Array system.
Even though it's a one-microphone show, Cronin pointed out that Mason's offhand banter and quick-release punch lines made reinforcement of his voice a deceptively challenging task. "Clear enunciation is hardly Jackie's trademark," Cronin said. "Also, quick follow-up jabs are part of his style, which means he's talking over laughter. That's why consistent coverage and very high system intelligibility are crucial to making this show work in a theater setting." Also on hand was veteran theater mixer Eileen Macdonald.
For the center cluster in the 1,068-seat Royale Theater, Cronin specified an array of 10 M1Ds, flown with a maximum eight-degree splay angle for even, single-point coverage of most seating areas. "The M1D array covers from the last seat in the balcony down right up to the fifth or six row of the orchestra," said Cronin. "Also, the wide horizontal coverage is great, since you don't need multiple boxes arrayed horizontally to get your coverage."
Because the rigging position was further into the house than optimum, leaving some front corner seats outside the M1D's 90-degree pattern, Cronin added single UPA-1P Compact Wide-Coverage loudspeakers at each side of the proscenium. For front-fill, six MM-4 Ultra-Compact Wide-Range loudspeakers were mounted on the stage lip.
"I had heard the M2D some time ago, when Peter Fitzgerald was prepping the system in the shop for Movin' Out, and I was blown away," Cronin said. "So when the Jackie Mason show came out, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to hear thenew baby brothers. I checked with Pro Mix and found out that they were getting their first M1Ds. I heard them there, and the next day they loaded in for our show."
John Petrafesa, manager of special projects for Pro Mix/Electrotec, coordinated the system installation and performed final alignment using SIM System II FFT Analyzer. He also consulted with Cronin on the M1D cluster configuration, using the Meyer Sound MAPP Online (Multipurpose Acoustical-Prediction Program): "We looked at the room and used MAPP to determine the proper hang," Petrafesa said. "When we did the SIM-ing, the coverage pattern and sonic response were dead-on accurate."
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