Much of North America will get the chance to hear Eva Peron plead to the masses not cry for her as Evita takes her act on the road accompanied by five tractor-trailers. This production, directed by Larry Fuller, who choreographed the original Broadway production, is under the watchful eye of none other than legendary director Hal Prince who is the tour's production supervisor. The tour is produced by Troika Entertainment.
Lighting design is by Richard Winkler, set design is adapted by James Fouchard based on the original scenery by Tim O'Brien, and Duncan Edwards is the sound consultant. Mark Norfolk, with Clifton Park, NY-based Specialized Audio-Visual, Inc., designed the sound system used on the 60-week tour. While recreating the choreography and sets from the original Broadway production is fine and dandy, when it came to audio it was time for an upgrade. That is where d&b audiotechnik's Q Series came in handy, according to Norfolk. “I adapted the line array to fit into some standard theatrical towers that I reconfigured because a lot of tours don't have points where we want them in order to fly the system,” he explains. “We have to carry our own way of flying them, so I'm using three sections of aluminum towers that were manufactured at a local machine shop.”
The tower's bottom section contains two Q1 subs and a Q10 and is 3.5' tall. On top of that is a 6'-tall section that holds three Q1s and a Q10 for the main array. The top 2.5' section of the tower has a quarter-ton motor that attaches to the cluster to move the line array up and down as needed. “On top I have a lone Q7 on a yoke for loge, fills, and side boxes,” Norfolk explains. “It's also carrying a center cluster of three Q1s and a Q10. I needed a wider dispersion, because we don't have the height that we would normally have if we had some points up in the air.”
As the tour is touching down everywhere from Toronto to Cincinnati to San Diego, the audio system needed to be as versatile as possible. While Evita will sit down for some long runs — a few month-long engagements, but mostly one- and two-week stints and even some half weeks — the audio rig had to be able to load into a venue in day and a half. “We used the Q Series for its versatility in covering these different rooms, as well as adapt from room to room. Some of the bigger tours — The Producers, Mamma Mia! — will sit for three, four, or six months and they can change a little. Evita moves almost every week so it needs to move fast. The lightweight speakers made the towers lightweight and very easy to install.”
The system's flexibility also comes in handy when the sound components need to be enhanced when the show plays in larger venues such as the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. “We supplement the center cluster and add three more Q1s and ancillary speakers,” Norfolk says. “The tour is playing a lot of older, Vaudeville houses and concert halls and those are usually not too much of a problem, but there's not enough of those 4500-seat rooms [on the tour] to warrant carrying all the equipment all the time, so we just supplement it as needed.”
The front of house mixing console is a Midas Heritage 3000-56. Two Yamaha 015s are used as submixers front of house with an added 015 in the pit that doubles as pit monitor mixer and submixer. Other equipment on the tour includes six Q7s for fold back; four E3s for frontfills; d&b D12 amplifiers and some E-Packs; Sennheiser wireless mikes are used on the show. Main system control EQ is by BSS SoundWeb, with three 9088 units front of house with 24 I/O.