NEW YORK: At 111 years of age, The Victory Theater on West 42nd Street has staged every conceivable theatrical presentation, from straight plays to live burlesque, even a brief stint as a XXX movie house. In 1992, The Victory became one of seven historic theaters adopted by The New 42nd St. Inc. a not-for-profit organization created by NYC and NYS to revitalize the district. Renamed The New Victory in December1995 following a $11.4 million renovation, the theater now presents exclusively family-oriented shows and is mandated by its not-for-profit status to maintain tickets within the $9.00 to $38.00 price range.
By 2010, the sound system installed during the 1995 renovation was beginning to show its age. “We were basically OK with the EAW-based system, but it was mid-range, and inadequate for the more ambitious productions we’ve been mounting,” explains New Victory director of production, David Jensen. “Anthony Nittoli had supervised
the’95 install and is now a principal designer with Akustiks, LLC architectural & electro-acoustic design firm in Norwalk, CT. Anthony maintained his consultant relationship with the theater over the years, and I was fortunate to ‘inherit’ him when I came on board in 2001. In addition to performing annual systems service, he has also used the New Victory as a lab for systems testing. He knows this venue better than anyone,” Jensen says.
Nittoli and Jensen, along with New Victory Theater technical director Rob Leach, collaborated on developing a system that would take the New Victory to the next level of performance capability. While sound quality was a paramount concern, the theater’s not-for-profit status presented a fixed budget. “This is a very special theater, and it serves a unique audience,” Nittoli says. “I recently worked on a similar project in terms of budget and historical integrity. My experience with Masque Sound on that (St. Bartholomew’s Church) assignment convinced me that they were the ideal installation specialists for The New Victory.”
Following an on-site shootout between three speaker manufacturers, Nittoli and Jensen selected d&b as the best fit for the NVT, and incorporated a full complement of the company’s products on the project. Nineteen (19) D6 & D12 amplifiers drive the system which consists of both line array and full range speakers. The R1 system control was implemented to provide overall control over all speaker arrays. A Midas Pro3-IP digital mixing console, and three (3) XTA DP 448 processors are used to drive the 26 speaker house system. A Shure UR4D wireless package provides the venue with flexibility in regards to micing visiting productions.
Masque Sound project manager Matthew Peskie reports the decision to upgrade to a 5.1 surround system literally doubled the existing number of speaker placements. “A primary issue was mounting the subs at a lower level which provided literally no room for anchors,” he says. “To resolve this problem we worked with Philadelphia-based Sapsis Rigging to design and build custom cantilevers, to locate the speakers in the desired locations.”
Akustiks and Masque Sound also renovated and partially replaced the existing intercom system with a ClearCom MS 704 main station, RM-704 4-CH remote station and headsets. Additionally, they oversaw the electrical work relating to the A/V system.
“Due to the historic nature of the theater’s scrupulous 1995 restoration, our crew, assisted in wire pull and termination by Live Wire Sound & Image, was keenly aware of the need for carefully tracking down existing intercom cables and devising aesthetically acceptable solutions for new cable runs,” Peskie explains. “This took time, but was cost effective and ultimately enabled us to reuse over 25% of the existing speaker and intercom wire. It also provides multiple options for reconfiguring the system for visiting company and 5.1 surround applications,” he adds.
“Masque Sound president, Geoff Shearing has built a terrific install team,” Anthony Nittoli says. “Matt Peskie, Masque Sound director of installations Courtney Klimson and their crew are total pros and fully committed to going the extra nine yards to get the job done right. We had a tough, ambitious schedule, and an uncompromising completion date. I’d planned to spend considerable time on site dealing with thorny issues, but Matt and Courtney and the entire Masque team were on top of everything.”
From David Jensen’s perspective the project was a total success. “We got a high end install, done right the first time. Akustiks and Masque came in on schedule and on budget,” he concludes. “The system sounds great, our staff, IATSE crew and most importantly our artists love it and we were so pleased with Masque that they are now one of our ‘go-to’ equipment rental options. We couldn’t be happier with the outcome of this project.”
Photo: New Victory Theater Audio System Stage Right perspective
Photo by Alexis Buatti Ramos
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 live concert, TV Broadcast, corporate, industrial, theatrical, house of worship and sports events. The firm’s 3rd generation owner Geoff Shearing also operates Florida-based Professional Wireless Systems, a leader in the development and implementation of wireless technology. The company’s 70,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters and main assembly facility is located at 21 East Union Ave., East Rutherford, NJ, twenty minutes from mid-town Manhattan. (201) 939 8666, www.masquesound.com