Masque Sound Outfits Kinky Boots

by Jacob Coakley

The cast of the touring production of Kinky Boots, which uses a sound equipment package from Masque Sound.When the Tony Award-winning Kinky Boots went out on the road, sound designer John Shivers and his associate and collaborator David Patridge chose Masque Sound to provide audio gear for tour, including d&b audiotechnik V-Series line arrays for the main sound system.

MASQUE SOUND STRUTS ITS STUFF FOR NATIONAL TOUR OF SIX-TIME TONY AWARD®-WINNING MUSICAL, KINKY BOOTS

LAS VEGAS, NOVEMBER 4, 2014Kinky Boots, winner of six Tony Awards® including Best Musical, sings and dances its way across the United States for its year-long national tour with the help of Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company. Tony Award®-winning Sound Designer John Shivers, along with his long-time associate and collaborator, David Patridge, relied on Masque Sound to provide the custom audio equipment package for the tour.

In Kinky Boots, Charlie Price has reluctantly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of Lola. A fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos, Lola turns out to be the one person who can help Charlie become the man he’s meant to be. As they work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible… and discovers that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world.

Kinky Boots, directed and choreographed by the Tony Award-winning Jerry Mitchell, is brought to life by music and lyrics from Grammy® Award-winner and Tony Award-winner Cyndi Lauper and a book by Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein.

Shivers’ and Patridge’s goal of recreating and delivering the incredible sound that Broadway audiences are accustomed to, due in part to the custom audio equipment package that Masque Sound also supplied for the Broadway show, proved a daunting task. “When designing the audio we had to plan ahead for venues of vastly different sizes and shapes, as is typical when touring Broadway shows,” says Patridge. “One week, the production may run in a large civic auditorium with five levels of seating; the next week, it may be in a house more akin to a Broadway theatre with 1500 to 1800 seats. This tour really runs the full gamut as far as venues, including outdoor theaters and even hockey arenas.”

d&b audiotechnik V-Series line arrays in the speaker towers comprise the main sound system. “We first auditioned the V-Series when we worked on Holler If You Hear Me on Broadway, and we really liked the fact that the speaker was capable of clear, intelligible sound with a lot of impact, despite the compact size of the box,” adds Patridge. “We had a lot of assistance from Gary Stocker at Masque Sound, who created custom speaker tower designs for the tour. He was able to incorporate the V-Series into the towers, which is something that Masque Sound has never done before. Stocker took our ideas and turned them into reality, which saved us a lot of additional engineering, time and work.”

For the console, Masque Sound provided a DiGiCo SD7T, the same live digital console that is used on Kinky Boots’ Broadway production, as the designer wanted to keep the programming intact matching the Broadway show. “The SD7T’s channel count allows our engineers to incorporate all of the monitor inputs into the same console as front of house,” says Patridge. “The SD7T is the only console that would provide the 128 channels that were needed to handle our requirements along with the features that we were looking for. We are very happy that the Masque Sound crew was willing to go the extra mile to accommodate our requests.”

Masque Sound also supplied d&b audiotechnik D80 amplifiers. The amplifiers fit four channels of amplification into two rack spaces, which is an important space-saving feature for a touring production. In addition, the cast utilized a selection of DPA 4061 microphones, along with Sennheiser SK 5212 wireless packs and EM 3732-II receivers for the roughly 40 channels of wireless used on the show.

“As always, Masque Sound was able to provide us with everything that we needed for the tour,” concludes Patridge. “The challenge, with any tour, is making sure that the sound crew is able to translate the sound design that we envision. A lot of it is very subjective, with the team, at the end of the day, relying on the mixers to make the show work across all of the different venues. In this regard, Head Audio Mixer Ben Madden and Assistant Audio Mixer Brian Kallaher are the people who make this production happen from city-to-city and to them we are very grateful.”

Kinky Boots kicked off its national tour on September 4 at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas. The tour is scheduled to play through most of 2015 and will make stops in 32 cities, including Portland, Seattle, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, Nashville, Houston, Dallas, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis and Boston.

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.