When the blockbuster musical Once, winner of eight Tony Awards including Best Musical and winner of the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, set out on its first-ever North American tour, Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, was on board to provide a custom audio equipment package for the hit show.
Flexible Custom Audio Equipment Package Maintains Show’s Intimate Feel in Larger Venues throughout the Country
NEW YORK, JANUARY 31, 2014 — When the blockbuster musical Once, winner of eight Tony Awards including Best Musical and winner of the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, set out on its first-ever North American tour, Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, was on board to provide a custom audio equipment package for the hit show.
Sound Designer Clive Goodwin has worked with Masque Sound since the beginning of Once’s successful run when it began playing at the New York Theatre Workshop and then moved to Broadway. Based on this working relationship and Masque’s experience and knowledge of the production and its audio requirements, collaborating with the company on the touring production was a natural choice.
Once tells the story of an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant drawn together by their shared love of music. Over the course of one fateful week, their unexpected friendship and collaboration evolves into a powerful but complicated romance, heightened by the raw emotion of the songs that they create together. Brought to the stage by an award-winning team of visionary artists and featuring an ensemble cast of gifted actor/musicians, Once is a musical celebration of life and love.
Since the touring production of Once is playing in venues two-to-four times the size of the show’s Broadway home (the 1,100-seat B. Jacobs Theatre), Goodwin’s design goal for the tour was to be able to reach the larger audiences while maintaining the show’s intimate, unassuming feel.
“In order to preserve the show’s spirit and character in these much larger theatres, flexibility is key,” says Goodwin. “Instead of a sound system tailored to a specific theatre, as we have in the Jacobs on Broadway, we obviously needed an audio system that could work in theaters of varying sizes and shapes. Even though we have had to increase the volume in order to project to the rear of these huge venues, I am pleasantly surprised with how well it has worked. I think we successfully kept the shows feel with a comfortable sound level.”
Goodwin credits Masque Sound with providing him the gear to pull off this impressive feat. “Masque Sound has so much experience and is so good with their touring equipment that we were able to put together everything we needed from their extensive inventory,” adds Goodwin. “They know the equipment that I like to use and know what can stand up to the rigors of a traveling production and used that knowledge to provide me with a great custom solution.”
Masque Sound provided a custom audio equipment package that included the DiGiCo SD7 digital console that Goodwin likes for its extensive number of inputs and outputs, as well as signal routing flexibility. In addition, Masque Sound provided a custom speaker array from d&b as well as a large Sennheiser wireless microphone package consisting of EM3732 receivers and SK5212 transmitters.
While creating the right audio system for the traveling show, Masque Sound also planned for frequency coordination. Keeping the show’s 40+ channels of wireless interference free from city-to-city is quite challenging. Masque Sound’s expert team provided the touring crew with the information and equipment they needed to ensure that all of the wireless signals would remain clear and disturbance free.
“Masque Sound consistently affords me the equipment and services I need to create a fantastic production,” adds Goodwin. “Their service is first-class, and they are one of the hardest working providers. I always enjoy collaborating with them. As expected, everything turned out great.”
Goodwin also recognizes the importance of his crew’s hard work in ensuring the show’s success. “It’s always important to have a wonderful team working for you, and I am incredibly lucky to have a great crew on this tour. My Associate Sound Designer Alex Hawthorn and Production Audio Head, Phil Lojo played a big part in the organizational aspect of putting the show together. The whole team has been on top of everything, always making sure that all of the equipment works, and I am very thankful for that.”
The tour opened at the Providence Performing Arts Center in Providence, RI and will continue through most of 2014 with stops in major cities including Boston, Miami, Atlanta, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Charlotte. Once, which was also named Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics' Circle, Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards, is also currently running on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.
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.