NEW YORK, JUNE 7, 2013—Recently honored with six Tony Award® nominations, including Best Play, Nora Ephron’s LUCKY GUY transports audiences to New York circa the 1980s and 1990s. Before two-time Oscar winner and Tony nominee Tom Hanks could make his Broadway debut in the show as the charismatic tabloid columnist Mike McAlary, Sound Designer Scott Lehrer turned to Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, to supply a custom audio equipment package for the play, the last work by Nora Ephron. LUCKY GUY is directed by two-time Tony Award-winner George C. Wolfe. The production opened April 1, 2013 at the Broadhurst Theatre (235 West 44th Street). The limited engagement was recently extended for 16 additional performances through July 3, 2013.
Nora Ephron began her professional career as a reporter at The New York Post in 1962 and LUCKY GUY marks a return to her journalistic roots. Her new play is about the scandal- and graffiti-ridden New York of the 1980s, as told through the story of the charismatic and controversial tabloid columnist Mike McAlary (Tom Hanks). LUCKY GUY is the third collaboration between Tom Hanks and Nora Ephron, following the films Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail.
From his sensational reporting of New York’s major police corruption to the libel suit that nearly ended his career, LUCKY GUY dramatizes the story of McAlary’s meteoric rise, fall and rise again. In designing the audio system for LUCKY GUY, Lehrer wanted to make sure he had maximum flexibility to meet the show’s complex needs without using equipment that would extend beyond the rental budget for the play. To make this happen, Lehrer, along with Associate Sound Designer Drew Levy and Production Sound Mixer David Stollings, worked with Masque Sound to come up with an equipment package that featured the Yamaha DM2000 (24-bit, 96-KHz) console. “The DM2000 is an older console but it’s still a fantastic one,” says Lehrer. “For plays on Broadway, it is reliable, easy to get around and cost effective.”
Although Lehrer has used the DM2000 for many years, LUCKY GUY was the first time he combined the DM2000 with the Yamaha SB-168-ES remote stage box. With 16 channels of sonically-superb remote analog inputs and eight channels of analog outputs, the SB1868-ES utilizes EtherSound technology to propagate digital sound signals, enabling Lehrer to have all of his microphone preamps onstage routed into the DM2000.
In addition, Lehrer used a selection of d&b speakers as well as a Sennheiser wireless package and IEMs. “Masque Sound has a lot of the specific equipment that I like to use along with a great inventory of products,” adds Lehrer. “It makes my job a lot easier when I know I can get the speakers and amplifiers I want and know they are going to keep me within my budget.”
One of the unique and yet challenging aspects of Lehrer’s sound design was his use of wireless microphones. “I used the wireless mics in an unconventional way because we didn’t want to put mics on the actors,” says Lehrer. “Since the office desks [that were used as props] rolled all over the stage, we had to use wireless foot mics and area mics. The way we employed the wireless mics is not common by today’s standards, but in doing so we achieved the sound we were going for and it came out great. If you are trying to do things that are a little different and difficult, like we did in LUCKY GUY, you know that the technical support at Masque Sound is going to make it happen.”
Lehrer has worked with Masque Sound many times in the past, including on the 2008 revival of South Pacific at Lincoln Center Theater, for which he received the first-ever Tony Award for sound, as well as a Drama Desk Award. “You know that when you are in the shop with Masque Sound you are going to get taken care of really well,” concludes Lehrer. “From specific technical needs to knowing the RF department is going to do a really good job of putting together the wireless to knowing that our show captain is going to be there for us when we need him; there is a lot of support there.”