Majestic Venue Commemorates Golden Anniversary of Shakespeare in the Park
NEW YORK, JUNE 19, 2012—As the curtain rises on the 2012 season of Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, is celebrating its 50th anniversary of providing audio equipment and services to the theater for one of New York City’s most beloved traditions.
Shakespeare in the Park moved to its permanent home at the Delacorte Theater in 1962 and since then, New York natives and visitors alike have enjoyed free Shakespeare performances each summer season. The majestic, open-air theater has a seating capacity of 1,800, and each season more than 100,000 people attend performances produced by The Public Theater.
“Masque Sound has enjoyed a long and successful relationship with The Public and Delacorte theaters and their summer productions of Shakespeare in the Park,” says Dennis Short, Masque Sound. “Being able to celebrate 50 years as the theater’s audio equipment provider is quite an accomplishment and demonstrates our commitment to supporting the theatrical community. The Delacorte is in such a magnificent setting, and being able to provide theatergoers with an audio experience to match their visual experience is something we take great pride in doing.”
Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, the Delacorte Theater officially opened in Central Park on June 18, 1962 with The Merchant of Venice. The Merchant of Venice was followed that summer by a production of The Tempest, featuring Paul Stevens as Prospero and James Earl Jones as Caliban. The first Delacorte summer season concluded with King Lear. Since then, more than 100 productions have been presented for free at the venue—come sun or rain shower. “Some years have been drier than others, but throughout our partnership, Masque and Shakespeare in the Park have developed methods for protecting the equipment from water damage and mold,” says Short. “We’re at the mercy of Mother Nature, but manufacturers such as Meyer have developed water resistant loudspeakers and rain hoods to protect the speakers from water getting inside. It’s been a work in progress but every year it gets better.”
This summer, Daniel Sullivan, who directed well-received productions of All’s Well That Ends Well, The Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night in the Park, will return to direct As You Like It this month. The second show of the 50th anniversary summer season will be Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s beloved musical Into the Woods, beginning performances at the end of July.
“We are so pleased that Shakespeare in the Park has provided us the opportunity to support their productions over the 50 year span, especially as several have moved on to Broadway following their run at the Delacorte,” adds Short. This includes The Pirates of Penzance, which starred Kevin Kline and Linda Ronstadt in 1980; On the Town, which starred Jesse Tyler Ferguson in 1997; The Merchant of Venice in 2010 with Al Pacino and Lily Rabe and this summer’s acclaimed production of Into the Woods. “It’s exciting for us to be involved with these productions at their inception and watch as they grow in popularity to a point where they move on to The Great White Way. There’s something to be said about supporting projects and the organizations that nurture young talent, shows and sound designers at the early stages of their career. This has been the trusted blueprint for the development of long term working relationships in our industry.”
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 lead by Geoff Shearing, the firm’s 3rd generation owner, and General Manager Stephanie Hansen. 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,” “Memphis,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Newsies” and “Once” to yearly Super Bowl broadcasts and installations of varying sizes, including New York’s New Victory Theater and historic St. Bartholomew’s Church. 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.