NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 15, 2016 – William Finn and James Lapine’s groundbreaking, Tony Award®-winning musical, Falsettos recently made its triumphant return to Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre. In an all-new production from Lincoln Center Theater, veteran Sound Designer Dan Moses Schreier had a chance to reunite with a show that he had been so intimately involved in during its original creation 30 years ago. It also provided Schreier the opportunity to once again collaborate with Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, to create a custom audio equipment package for the highly anticipated revival.
Falsettos revolves around the life of a charming, intelligent, neurotic gay man named Marvin, his wife, lover, adolescent son, their psychiatrist and the lesbians next door. It’s a hilarious and achingly poignant look at the infinite possibilities that make up a modern family and a beautiful reminder that love can tell a million stories. Falsettos first premiered on Broadway in April of 1992 and was regarded by many as a game changer.
“I have a long history with the piece as I played double reeds in the original band of March of the Falsettos and for the workshop prior to that,” says Schreier. “I’ve known the cast of characters for a very long time so working with Bill Finn, James Lapine and Michael Starobin was not only a lot of fun, it was also a natural fit.”
Although Schreier has a deep working knowledge of Falsettos, the show wasn’t without some challenges. “Bill Finn’s music is incredible but unbelievably wordy so the big challenge in designing the sound was making sure you got every single lyric out there clearly on top of Bill’s complex opera-like music,” adds Schreier. “Falsettos is done completely through song; there is no spoken dialogue for the show. Its wall to wall music, so it’s unique and challenging on that level. Fortunately, Masque Sound was once again able to deliver a great audio system that allowed me to achieve my goals.”
At the heart of the custom audio equipment system provided by Masque Sound was a DiGiCo SD7T digital console. “The band is small with only four players and the company is a cast of seven so we didn’t need a large number of inputs,” says Schreier. “Hats off to Michael Starobin for his brilliant orchestration. He gets an enormous amount of variety with that small ensemble and the show fit perfectly on the SD7T.”
Masque Sound provided Schreier with a custom system from d&b audiotechnik for the PA system. According to Schreier, “When I have a show that has this kind of verbal dexterity to it, I like to use d&b E-Series speakers. I’ve done a lot of shows at the Walter Kerr Theatre and love that place; it’s a gem. The theatre is very intimate so you don’t really need an array. As a matter of fact, the orchestra down cluster speaker is a d&b E12-D and because it is so wide, you get unbelievable coverage from that one box without any issues. It’s remarkably coherent. It’s a beautiful theatre and if you know how to follow the acoustics it’s a lot of fun doing the sound design on that stage.”
Schreier used the DPA d:screet™ 4061 for his microphones on the actors, which Schreier likes for its clarity, openness and miniature size. The piano and woodwinds use microphones from Schoeps.
“I was very happy to be working with Masque Sound again,” says Schreier. “As usual, they provided phenomenal technical and artistic support. What’s great about working with Masque Sound is that they understand the tools we need to be successful and consistently go out of their way to make sure we get everything we ask for.”
For Schreier, Falsettos is very near and dear to his heart. “Nothing like it had ever been done before and that’s what I really love about the piece,” adds Schreier. “It was the first time there were real gay characters in real-life situations. It opened doors and brought these ideas to musical theatre. It was such a thrill to be working with friends and people I’ve known for 30 years. We really enjoyed revisiting the piece together and it’s great that the original core group of people came together again. There was a lot of history and it was a lot of fun. In addition, my associate Joshua Reid, Production Sound Mixer Marc Salzberg and A2 Tim Mack all did an incredible job. The show sounds great.”
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit: http://falsettosonbroadway.com.
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.