BERKELEY, CA, SEPTEMBER 29, 2015 — When Amélie, A New Musical staged its world premiere at the Berkeley Rep’s Roda Theatre, Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, was there, providing a custom audio equipment package to support Sound Designer Kai Harada’s vision for the highly anticipated production.
Amélie, A New Musical takes its audience on a mesmerizing journey with the inquisitive and charmingly shy Amélie as she turns the streets of Montmartre, Paris, into a world of her own imagining while secretly orchestrating moments of joy for those around her. After discovering a mysterious photo album and meeting a handsome stranger, she realizes that helping others is easier than concocting a romantic story of her own. The new musical is directed by Tony Award®-winner Pam MacKinnon and penned by Craig Lucas, with a stirring score by Daniel Messé and lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Messé.
In designing the sound for Amélie, A New Musical, Harada wanted to provide the audience with the best possible aural experience without getting in the way of the story or music. “Berkeley Rep is an intimate theatre, and it was important to me to maintain a good dynamic between book scenes, the quieter songs and the more pop-oriented songs,” says Harada. “The theatre has an installed system of Meyer Sound equipment as their primary speaker solution, which I was happy to use, but I did rely on Masque Sound to provide equipment to augment that package. I was thrilled that Masque Sound was able to provide the additional equipment for the show after such a great experience working with them on Fun Home.”
Harada’s sound design included supplemental loudspeakers for the existing house system. “Working with the other designers and the crew, we found some great homes for our added speakers to increase coverage in the 600-seat Roda Theatre,” adds Harada. “Additionally, since the orchestra was placed on a raised platform upstage of the set, we added some additional loudspeakers to help facilitate imaging the musicians to that area.”
In order to supplement the theatre’s in-house PA system, Harada worked closely with Masque Sound to come up with a custom audio equipment package, including the Studer Vista 5 SR console. “With the possibility that the show could move on from the Berkeley Rep at some point in the future, I needed a familiar, great-sounding and scalable console,” adds Harada. ”The Studer Vista 5 SR console was the perfect choice.”
The wireless microphone package Masque Sound provided was another important component in Harada’s sound design. The show features a cast of 13 actors, most of which fill many roles as they tell the story. Harada relied on the Sennheiser SK 5212 transmitters, which he likes for their unparalleled sound quality, and MKE 1 capsules, which are very small and easy to hide within hairlines.
“Masque Sound sent out Gary Stocker to assist us with setup and initial programming in Berkeley, which was amazing,” adds Harada. “My sound operator Craig Freeman and I were very grateful that he was on site for a few days. In addition, my Assistant Sound Designer Maggie Burke and the great team at the Berkeley Rep, including James Ballen, Angela Don, Annemarie Scerra, Dan Axe and Sam Fisher, did a wonderful job. This was a wonderful team effort. The show looks and sounds amazing, and I am very proud of it.”
Amélie, A New Musical, runs through October 11 at Berkeley Rep’s Roda Theatre, 2025 Addison, Berkeley, California. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.berkeleyrep.org
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 Stephanie Hansen and the firm’s third generation owner, 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.