Masque Sound Delivers Audio for Touring Newsies

by Jacob Coakley
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The cast of the touring production of Newsies will have its singing reinforced by sound gear from Masque SoundSound Designer Ken Travis relied on Masque Sound to deliver a dynamic custom audio equipment package for the Tony Award-winning hit Newsies as it started its North American tour.

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MASQUE SOUND DELIVERS HIGH-ENERGY SONIC EXPLOSION TO TOURING PRODUCTION OF TONY® AWARD-WINNING HIT MUSICAL, NEWSIES

Custom Audio Equipment Package Hits the Road to Take Broadway Sound from Coast to Coast

PHILADELPHIA, PA, OCTOBER 21, 2014 — When the Tony® Award-winning Broadway musical NEWSIES flies off the rack to begin its North American tour on October 11, Sound Designer Ken Travis relies on Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, to deliver a dynamic custom audio equipment package for the smash hit. 

NEWSIES, the new American musical, features a Tony® Award-winning score with music by eight-time Academy Award® winner Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman, a book by four-time Tony® Award winner Harvey Fierstein and is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions. NEWSIES is directed by Tony® nominee Jeff Calhoun and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, who won a 2012 Tony Award® for his work.  The entire creative team is reuniting to bring the break-out smash musical to audiences across North America.

Having designed the sound for NEWSIES’ Broadway run, Travis has a deep understanding of the show’s audio requirements. His goal for the tour was to replicate the remarkable Broadway sound in each of the different venues and theatres, all of which have their own unique characteristics and challenges. In order to accomplish this, flexibility in the sound system was a key component.

To achieve the all-encompassing range that Travis was looking for, Masque Sound provided a DiGiCo SD10 Live Digital Console. “The SD10 is a much smaller console than the SD7 that was initially used on Broadway, which makes it easier to travel with throughout the tour,” says Travis. “Its footprint in the front of house is half the size; yet, it still provides us with incredible flexibility without compromising any of the show’s audio capabilities.”

One of the biggest challenges that Travis faced in preparing for the tour were the varying sizes and shapes of the theatres. While the Nederlander Theatre on Broadway is a small house with a relatively smooth soundscape to navigate, a majority of the theatres throughout the tour are much larger and deeper, with wider prosceniums, and require greater amplification from the sound system.

“Since we cannot block the seats with sound towers, we had to alter our delays and add some extra fill speakers to accommodate the wider venues,” Travis continues. “In some locations, we specifically aimed the audio toward a section that was extremely left or right. We needed to make sure the system was as comprehensive as possible, and with Masque Sound’s vast equipment expertise, we were able to create a system that worked in multiple locations.”

Travis utilized a d&b audiotechnik Q-Series speaker system for the tour for its compact size, articulate sound quality and superior sound pressure level. “I am very familiar with the Q-Series and know how it plays in 2,500-seat rooms versus 4,000-seat rooms,” he says. “NEWSIES is a pop tour, so there are moments throughout the production in which the stage gets really loud and full of dynamic dialogue and movement. I feel comfortable knowing that the Q-Series speaker system can handle the workload.”

Masque Sound also provided Travis with a custom microphone package, featuring a selection of DPA microphones as well as a Sennheiser radio microphone package for the more than 20 channels of wireless that will be used for the show.

“The team at Masque Sound has once again been great to work with,” Travis concludes. “As soon as we found out about the tour, we sat down with the crew and started to plan. The team at Masque Sound knows what I like to use, and they were able to quickly and efficiently help me to purchase the orchestra audio equipment package, ensuring that each piece of equipment would perfectly address my needs in creating this sound vision. The collaboration with Masque Sound and Alex Hawthorn, my associate sound designer, allowed us to create a wonderful audio package that sounds amazing.”

The NEWSIES North American tour’s scheduled stops include Cleveland, Louisville, Baltimore, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Toronto. It makes its official opening in Philadelphia in late October.  For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.NewsiesTheMusical.com.

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.