MASQUE SOUND GOES IN-THE-ROUND FOR EMOTIONALLY
POWERFUL NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL, FUN HOME
Custom Audio Equipment Package Provides Natural, Transparent Feel for Season’s Newest Hit
NEW YORK, MAY 11, 2015 — When the groundbreaking new musical Fun Home arrived on Broadway after a sold-out, critically acclaimed run at the Public Theater, Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, supported Sound Designer Kai Harada’s vision with a custom audio equipment package fit to deliver high-quality sound to the Circle in the Square Theatre’s audiences.
Fun Home, the Award-winning American musical based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel of the same name, introduces us to Alison at three different ages, revealing memories of her uniquely dysfunctional family – her mother, brothers and volatile, brilliant, enigmatic father – that connect with her in surprising new ways. This intimate and emotional theatrical experience is performed entirely in the round, bringing audiences closer to Alison’s story than ever before. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Fun Home is a refreshingly honest, wholly original musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes.
Nominated for a 2013-2014 Drama Desk Award for his sound design for Fun Home at the Public Theatre, Harada’s goal for the Broadway production was to design a natural-sounding, transparent sound system that was applicable for an in-the-round production. “Doing a musical for an in-the-round setup is complicated for any department and sound is no exception,” says Harada. “Fun Home is so well-written and orchestrated that it was very important not to get in the way, and just let the story be told as clearly as possible. Most of the show has a chamber-music feel to it, but there are some more upbeat, pop songs, so we required not only coverage and clarity but also power.”
Undoubtedly, Harada’s biggest challenge in designing the sound for Fun Home was working in-the- round. “Using a combination of miniature Meyer Sound loudspeakers and Out Board’s TiMax software and control products, I knew we had a fighting chance to give the audience the best possible experience,” he says. “Much of the show feels as if you are in the family’s living room, or inside Alison’s head, so it was very important to me not to draw attention to the sound system but simultaneously ensure that every word was heard.”
The newcomer to Harada’s system design, the TiMax2 SoundHub control software, handled all the delay matrixing and was triggered by MIDI events from the mixing console. “Masque Sound’s purchase of the TiMax system specifically for the show proved monumental, and I am grateful that the company was willing to go the extra mile to do that for us,” adds Harada.
For his console, Masque Sound provided Harada with a Studer Vista 5 SR. The PA supplied by Masque Sound features an assortment of Meyer Sound speakers, including UPQ-1Ps, UPJ-1Ps, UPJuniors, UPM-1Ps and MM-4s, dependent on the location. The wireless package includes Sennheiser MKE 1 and Countryman B2D capsules, selected for their small size.
“It’s been years since I last worked on a Broadway show with Masque Sound, and I was very happy that we could do FunHome together,” concludes Harada. “I have a long, incredibly positive, working relationship with Leslie Stong, Dennis Short and Gary Stocker at Masque Sound, and I know Patrick Pummill, who is mixing Fun Home, agrees. Additionally, I would like to thank my assistant, Stephanie Celustka, for heading up the herculean programming task and doing such an amazing job.”
Fun Home opened on April 19 at the Circle in the Square Theatre, located at 235 West 50th Street in Manhattan. For more information, visit http://funhomebroadway.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 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,” “Memphis,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Newsies,” “Once” and “Kinky Boots” 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.