Promises, Promises, Come Fly Away, and La Cage aux Folles are all musicals, but when it comes to the sound setup, the similarities end there. Promises, Promises, a musical adaptation of the hit 1960 Billy Wilder film, The Apartment, has the most traditional arrangement of the three shows, with a large orchestra playing in a pit near the stage. Production Resource Group (PRG) supplied Promises, Promises with its Aviom A-16II Personal Mixers and mounted them on the orchestra musicians' microphone stands, so musicians can easily access and customize the mix they need to listen to in order to properly get their cues.
With an A-16II, individual performers can create custom monitor mixes tailored to their individual needs. Designed for use in live performance or in the studio, the A-16II gives each performer control over channel volume, grouping, pan, stereo spread, and master volume and tone. By giving performers the ability to dial in their own mixes, engineers have more time to focus on other tasks: mixing front of house, prepping monitor mix content and submixes, and fine-tuning a few key monitor mixes.
The orchestration is a bit different over at the Marquis Theatre, home to Come Fly Away, a dance revue based on the music of Frank Sinatra. This innovative performance piece mixes live music and singing with playback from Sinatra's actual recording sessions, including duets between one of the lead characters “with” Sinatra via the recordings. Orchestra members use Aviom Personal Mixers to manage the combination of live and playback material, creating a monitor mix that helps them play each instrument at the appropriate time, making every performance seamless.
The latest Broadway staging of La Cage aux Folles is markedly different from its predecessors. Its set designers have created a club-like atmosphere for the production, with the band situated on two different sides of the stage, nightclub-style. Band members use the Aviom Personal Mixers to bridge the sonic gap between the two sides. Having the ability to set the mix to keep all the musicians on cue and in time has greatly simplified the show's musical elements.
“The Aviom A-16II has become the standard personal mixer for many of the Broadway shows,” says David Strang, general manager, audio for PRG. “With few exceptions, every project we work on, whether it is a touring theater or Broadway, is now utilizing the product. It's invaluable to the musicians in the orchestra pit, to be able to dial in their own mix of exactly what they need to be listening to over their headphones or, in some cases, a monitor speaker.”