NEW YORK, OCTOBER 19, 2016 — When the 20th anniversary national tour of Jonathan Larson’s Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, Rent, launched this fall, Sound Designer Keith Caggiano, turned to Masque Sound. The leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company provided a custom audio equipment package that would pay tribute to the critically acclaimed Broadway production.
A re-imagining of Puccini’s La Bohème, Rent follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters, love.
The show premiered Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop on February 13, 1996 and transferred to Broadway on April 29, 1996, where it ran for 5,123 performances, making it the 11th longest-running show in Broadway history. Rent won the 1996 Tony Award for Best Musical, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama that year.
“As one of the first real rock musicals, Rent is not your typical Broadway musical,” says Caggiano. “When designing the tour, I wanted to maintain the pop rock sound that it’s known for, which is not an easy feat, especially when you are touring. It was also important that we were true to the original sound because Rent’s music is something that fans know and love, and thanks to Masque Sound, we were able to achieve that.”
In order for Caggiano to achieve the sound he was looking for on the tour, equipment selection was critical. “The main idea was to have more of a rock-and-roll system then the typical theater system,” adds Caggiano. “The PA was built around two main large L-Acoustics arrays on either side of the stage, as opposed to standard musicals, which tend to be more distributed. The sound really pops and the results are fantastic.”
Another interesting component to the sound design was the use of digital audio. “I’ve been trying more and more to use digital audio directly from the actor’s microphones straight through the console and back out through the speakers,” says Caggiano. “Typically that’s difficult to achieve, as most people are still using analog out of their receivers. But my goal was to avoid that and stay digital through the entire path. The one unique thing we used were Focusrite AES Dante devices that allowed us to come directly out of the Sennheiser 3732 receivers and directly into the console’s digital signal path.”
Masque Sound also provided Caggiano with a Yamaha CL5 digital mixing console, which he selected for its ease of use, abundance of features, small footprint and ability to tour very easily.
For the actors microphones, Masque Sound provided DPA d:fine™ 4066 Omnidirectional Headset Microphones. “Rent was one of the first shows to use headset mics on the cast, as opposed to lavaliers, so that’s a heritage thing with the show that we wanted to make sure we honored,” explains Caggiano. “It’s about getting the microphone as close to the mouth as possible to get as much gain out of the actors as we can and the d:fine 4066s that Masque Sound supplied did an excellent job.”
In addition to providing the custom audio package for the show, Masque Sound also supplied frequency coordination for the show’s 30 channels of wireless. Masque Sound’s expert team provided the touring crew with the information and equipment they needed to ensure that all of the wireless signals would remain clear and interference free.
“I’ve had a wonderful relationship with Masque Sound over the years and working with them is always a great experience,” adds Caggiano. “We always get the equipment we want and it’s always prepped well and in great working condition. In addition to Masque Sound, my Associate Sound Designer Michael Tracey did a wonderful job on the production. I was pretty tied up during a lot of the prep and Michael was very hands-on with Masque Sound and helped me put it all together. As a result, the show looks and sounds great.”
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit: http://www.rentontour.net/.
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 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.