The Mansion Ballroom at Harrah’s New Orleans recently underwent a metamorphosis into a five-million-dollar performance theatre for former Las Vegas entertainer Earl Turner whose show is on open run in the new room [See LD November for more coverage on the lighting design]. As part of the overall facilities upgrade, the casino installed a full concert sound reinforcement system with two identical 48-channel Soundcraft MH4 mixing consoles at the helm.
One of the desks is being employed to mix front-of-house sound for the 500-seat, aptly-named Earl Turner Theatre. Thanks to the multipurpose design of the MH4, the other serves as a dedicated monitor console residing at stage left for Turner and his live ensemble, who are under the direction of bandleader Chris Coleman.
"Earl puts on a very high-energy show five nights a week and really gets his audiences involved," says Jim Boa, who has served as the entertainment technical manager for Harrah’s New Orleans since the casino opened in 1999. "It’s because of that interaction that we required a sound system that would allow the audience to very clearly hear everything that Earl says, especially when the band is playing at full tilt. Between the talented abilities of our engineers and our new equipment–including the Soundcrafts–we’re effectively able to accomplish that. It’s a great sounding show."
When the resident performer’s schedule is dark, Harrah’s keeps the 2,200 sq.ft. stage busy with other musical acts, comedians, and theatrical productions, like the recently-hosted Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding. Seeing that the two new MH4s are solely dedicated for Turner’s show, Boa and his crew bring in Harrah’s smaller 32-channel Soundcraft Series TWO to run both the house and monitor sound when these less technically demanding productions occupy the room.