WILLIAMSTOWN, MA, SEPTEMBER 7, 2016 — For the 13th straight year, Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, made its annual summer trek to Massachusetts’ Berkshire Mountains to deliver a custom audio equipment package for the beloved Williamstown Theatre Festival. This year marks the 62nd season for the summer stock theatre festival and the 12th year Masque Sound has been collaborating with Sound Supervisor Ben Truppin-Brown.
Since 1955, the Williamstown Theatre Festival has brought America’s finest actors, directors, designers and playwrights to the Berkshires to engage a loyal audience of both residents and summer visitors. This season, the Main Stage featured Tennessee Williams’ Tony Award®-winning play The Rose Tattoo, the world premiere of Boo Killebrew’s comedy Romance Novels for Dummies, as well as Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award® winner Wendy Wasserstein’s, An American Daughter. The Nikos Stage opened the season with the world premiere of Martyna Majok’s play, Cost of Living. Other productions on the Nikos Stage included the sci-fi comedy thriller, The Chinese Room, the world premiere musical, Poster Boy and the American premiere of And No More Shall We Part.
In designing the sound systems for Williamstown, Truppin-Brown had two primary goals. “My first goal was to create a flexible system that could accommodate the needs of each show and each designer throughout the season,” says Truppin-Brown. “The second, and perhaps more important, was to expose my staff and interns to a broad range of equipment and common practices. With Masque Sound’s help, we were able to accomplish both.”
For Truppin-Brown and his crew, the largest obstacle at Williamstown is time. The schedule is extremely tight as there are roughly 24 hours between one show closing and tech for the next. There are also overlapping performances and events that require considerable support from Masque Sound throughout the season.
“Masque Sound is, as always, an invaluable resource,” adds Truppin-Brown. “They are such wonderful, pleasant people to work with and they handle our large, constantly shifting needs and priorities with almost inconceivable grace and patience. The quality of both equipment and service is unparalleled. From initial conversations with Scott Kalata and Dennis Short about this season’s unique needs, to our constant dialogue with John Sullivan, and Jose Quispe’s tireless work before and during our shop prep, everyone helped ensure that we had everything that we needed well ahead of schedule. Their conscientious, diligent work plays a large part in enabling the educational environment that we strive to cultivate.”
Each season of the Williamstown Theatre Festival is designed to present unique opportunities for artists and audiences alike, revisiting classic plays with innovative productions, developing and nurturing bold new plays and musicals, and offering a rich array of cultural events including Free Theatre, Late-Night Cabarets, readings, workshops and educational programs. The Williamstown Theatre Festival’s 2016 season schedule brought a number of famous faces to the Berkshire stage with stars such as Marisa Tomei, Alfred Molina and Jane Kaczmarek appearing in a variety of plays on the Main and Nikos Stage.
This summer, Truppin-Brown relied on Masque Sound to provide audio equipment for four unique spaces of note. The Main Stage, Williamstown’s large proscenium theater, utilized predominantly d&b audiotechnik loudspeakers including E9s, E3s, Q7s, Q10s, E8s and T10s. There was a Yamaha CL1 at front-of-house and a DME for system processing. The Nikos, the smaller of Williamstown’s main spaces, was outfitted with L-Acoustics 108p mains, MTD108a surrounds and Meyer Sound USW-1p and 700HP subwoofers. The console is a DiGiCo SD9T with three Galileo 616s for processing. Goodrich Hall, Williamstown’s cabaret and concert venue, has an Avid SC48, a Meyer Sound Galileo 616, and a variety of L-Acoustics, Meyer Sound, and Genelec loudspeakers and monitors. The Directing Studio, a space designed for interns to learn and experiment, ran a Yamaha QL1 through a Rio 3224d with a variety of Meyer Sound loudspeakers and a pair of d&b audiotechnik E4’s for small practicals as needed. The festival itself is currently running 38 channels of RF in its various spaces.
“We were particularly excited about several pieces of equipment that Masque Sound provided this summer,” says Truppin-Brown. “The DiGiCo SD9T is an exciting platform, and one that our staff and interns had not previously been exposed to. For Poster Boy, a musical in our smaller space, the sound designer requested that we bring up a Studer Vista 5. Getting to explore that style of system has also been fascinating for the team. But the most impressive piece of equipment that we’ve used thus far has been the Clear-Com HelixNet digital intercom system in the Nikos. It has completely changed the way comm systems can be set up and altered from show to show. It saved us an incredible amount of time and resources over the course of the season, and we were thrilled Masque Sound was able to provide it to us.”
In addition to another wonderful season collaborating with Masque Sound, Truppin-Brown is also extremely proud of his team. “Adrianna Brannon and Patrick Lachance, my two associate supervisors, have been wonderful teachers and mentors this season. Their work has been exceptional, and both have grown immensely over the course of the season. We are all profoundly appreciative of the support that Masque Sound has provided this summer, and grateful for another smooth season.”
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 led by Vice President Geoff Shearing. 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, The Book of Mormon, Once, Kinky Boots, Aladdin and Fun Home to yearly Super Bowl broadcasts and installations of varying sizes, including Western Connecticut State University, the Jim Wise Theatre at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and the historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral. 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.