When Sound Designer Kevin Kennedy was given the challenge of creating an authentic audio experience that takes audiences on a timely, rousing and suspenseful adventure into the fascinating first chapter of American history for the American Conservatory Theater’s (A.C.T.) production of 1776, he turned to Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, to provide a custom audio equipment package.
One of the most beloved musicals of all time, 1776 is a vivid musical look into the revolutionary events that shaped our republic more than 230 years ago as our founding fathers wrestled with infighting, held heated debates, and negotiated compromises while drafting our Declaration of Independence. Filled with glorious music and unforgettable characters, this triumphant new staging is helmed by acclaimed director Frank Galati.
Kennedy has done a number of shows with Masque Sound in the past, so working with them on 1776 was a natural fit. “In the past three years, all of my shows have been pulled from Masque Sound,” says Kennedy. “My relationship with Masque Sound has always been great. Their selection of gear and their ability to provide the equipment I ask for is second to none. Masque Sound’s customer service element is the best in the business and their level of support is unrivaled.”
In designing the sound for 1776, Kennedy’s goal was to take the audience back in time and provide as realistic and authentic a feel sonically as possible. “This musical takes place over 230 years ago and tells an extremely important story in our countries history,” adds Kennedy. “I wanted to give the audience a very natural sound and make sure that the entire room from the front row to the last row felt that they were not listening to a sound system but rather the actual instruments, only louder. The equipment Masque Sound provided, the supplemental speakers and processing, supplemental wireless microphones, pit microphones, etc., complemented the in-house gear beautifully and was vital in helping me achieve my vision.”
To complement the existing in-house audio equipment, Masque Sound provided a custom speaker package featuring Meyer UPM-1Ps and XTA speaker management processors, as well as a monitor package of Aviom A-16II mixers and Aviom A-16D Pro Distribution systems. Sennheiser Pro Quality Lav-Style Transmitters and Sennheiser Pro Quality Dual Channel Receivers made up the wireless and cabled Shure and Neumann microphones and Radial DI’s were also utilized. Masque Sound also provided a video component for 1776. Since the conductor stand’s positioned on a platform and scenic obstructions obscure him, the members of the orchestra as well as the cast cannot actually see the conductor. In order for the musicians and cast to see the conductor and take their cues, Masque Sound delivered a video distribution package including Rackmount VDA’s, Delvcam LCD monitors and a Vitek Bullet camera.
In addition, Masque Sound also provided frequency coordination for 1776. “With 26 channels of wireless in play on the actors plus the additional headsets and auxiliary equipment, as well as dealing with a production in the theater next door that has a huge frequency list, Masque Sound was instrumental in ensuring that all the wireless channels in use remained interference free and working properly,” concludes Kennedy. “We would not have been able to accomplish what we did without Masque Sound. They are always willing to help a show that comes out of its shop even with the in-house gear. Once again, they did a great job.”
1776 is currently playing at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, CA. The production opened on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 and is currently scheduled to run through October 6, 2013.
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,” “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.