NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 2009: The historic Henry Miller’s Theatre in the heart of Manhattan has been invented and reinvented, purposed and repurposed, respected and disrespected. Built in 1918 for the famous actor/producer, it spent the first half of its life hosting critically-acclaimed shows such as “Journey’s End,” “Our Town” and “Witness for the Prosecution.” As it closes in on its 100th birthday, a new lease on life promises to carry the Henry Miller’s Theatre past the tumult of recent decades – when it was a club, and an “adult” theater by another name – and back into the limelight of Broadway’s celebrated productions. Keeping the facade and significant structural artifacts, Bank of America raised and rebuilt the theater at the same site, now below their new 57-story headquarters. Along with an elegant and LEED-certified structure, the 1,055-seat theater received a
modern paging and auxiliary audio system led by SymNet processing and user interfaces.
The theater hired acoustician and A/V designers JaffeHolden and integrator Acme Professional. At least for the foreseeable future, productions will provide their own FOH sound systems. So after getting the acoustics set, all that remained was a requirement for a simple, but flexible paging and auxiliary system that would be accessible by staff throughout the theater, and yet would remain functionally transparent and aesthetically invisible.
“I almost always turn to SymNet because of its flexibility,” said Dave LaDue, senior consultant, audio & video systems group for JaffeHolden. “It can perform any processing task that I might need with transparent fidelity and easy configuration. For Henry Miller’s Theatre, we tasked two SymNet Express 8×8 Cobra systems for simple zone-to-zone paging and auxiliary audio.”
From a user’s standpoint, the elegance of the system stems from the SymNet ARC wall panels strategically located throughout the facility. “We used a variety of different ‘flavors’,” said Pete Cosmos, principal of Acme Professional. “Some are in production offices, some in portable racks, at the sides of the stage, everywhere! Staff can use them to chime a Roland message repeater, which, among other things, can be used to call the audience in for an act.” Beyerdynamic gooseneck microphones affixed to the ARC wall panels provide easy paging with the push of a button. QSC amps power EAW and Atlas ceiling-mounted speakers.
From an installer’s standpoint, the elegance of the system comes from the easy interconnects of the SymNet ARC wall panels. “Instead of using multi-core wiring all over the place, the ARC wall panels do everything with one Cat 5 cable,” explained Cosmos. “That single wire handles paging logic, remote control, and audio transmission.”
“With SymNet in place, the theater is set for future expansion,” said LaDue. “No matter how they choose to use the space, we can make it work for them without added processing hardware. Should they choose to install a FOH system – perhaps even a small one for lectures or presentations – they can count on the SymNet units to accommodate their needs. And with all of the SymNet ARC wall panels that are available, I am confident that we can engineer a future expansion.”
New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company will operate the new Henry Miller’s Theatre as their third Broadway house. It is scheduled to open in September 2009 with a revival of the musical “Bye Bye Birdie.”
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