Equipment Package Captures Indian-Inspired Music to Enchant Audiences of All Ages
CHICAGO, JULY 29, 2013 – This summer The Jungle Book has swung into Chicago’s famed Goodman Theatre, enchanting audience members with its exuberant song and dance routines set against the backdrop of the Indian jungle. To give this new stage musical’s sound an authentic feel, Sound Designer Ray Nardelli turned to Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, for a custom audio equipment package.
The Jungle Book is a music- and movement-filled adventure chronicling young Mowgli’s coming-of-age in the Indian jungle. Tony Award-winning Director Mary Zimmerman’s adaptation is based on Nobel Laureate Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 collection of stories and Walt Disney’s 1967 animated film, presenting the movie’s best-loved songs in wholly new Indian-inspired arrangements.
Nardelli’s involvement with The Jungle Book began in February, when Zimmerman and Music Director Doug Peck held a music workshop that brought together six Chicago swing/jazz musicians and six Indian instrumentalists playing sitars, tablas and carnatic violins to fuse songs and styles to create a sound unique to this production.
“The challenges in designing the sound for The Jungle Book were two-fold,” says Nardelli. “Not only did we have to balance these Indian instruments with Western jazz instruments, but we also had to integrate the musicians into the show by moving them from the orchestra pit to the stage for certain songs. As a result, the channel count of the show skyrocketed to a whopping 140.”
Moving the musicians between the orchestra pit and the stage several times during the show required a highly mobile audio package. To meet this challenge, Masque Sound created a custom solution for The Jungle Book that adapted the microphones into the wireless. According to Nardelli, “Blending the music with the action on stage was critical to the overall atmosphere of the show. Masque Sound’s work in micing up the Indian instruments, really helped make this possible. When they came on board, I knew we were going to have all of the expert service and equipment we needed to achieve this.”
For The Jungle Book, Masque Sound provided a custom Sennheiser wireless microphone package as well as a Yamaha CL5 digital mixing console. The company also supplied the show with an extensive speaker package from Meyer, including 13 M’elodie speakers, three Galileo UPMs for front fill, two 600-HP high-powered subwoofers and two Rio 32×16 boxes (one for the actors and one for the musicians’ pit). Masque Sound also supplied UPMs for each of Goodman Theatre’s 16 opera boxes, as the boxes were too far off axis. In addition, Masque Sound worked with Nardelli and David Naunton, the Goodman’s House Audio Supervisor to provide frequency coordination for the show to ensure all the frequencies in use did not cause signal interference.
“Working with Masque Sound always takes a huge weight off my shoulders,” adds Nardelli. “I have worked with them many times in the past and I just trust them. Their services are really the best in the industry. They are very conscientious of the details, and always take great care to ensure we are happy with their services.”
The Jungle Book is playing through August 18 at Goodman Theatre, located at 170 North Dearborn in Chicago. For more information, call (312) 443-3800 or visit www.GoodmanTheatre.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 lead by Geoff Shearing, the firm’s 3rd generation owner, and Vice President and General Manager Stephanie Hansen. 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” and “Once” 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.