Flexible and Efficient Custom Audio Equipment Package Delivers Joyously Splendid Results for Award-winning Sound Designer Joshua D. Reid
Masque Sound, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, has once again teamed up with Sound Designer Joshua D. Reid to bring the traveling productions of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical to life with a custom audio equipment package, for both its East and West Coast tour.
Featuring the hit songs “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas,” The Grinch discovers there’s more to Christmas than he bargained for in this heart-warming holiday classic. Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small,” decides to steal Christmas away from the holiday-loving Whos.
In designing the sound for this year’s Grinch tour, Reid’s goal was to create a flexible and efficient touring sound system that could capture the magic of Dr. Seuss’ classic holiday narrative while providing the highest level of clarity for audiences, as well as a consistently enjoyable experience.
Reid faced the added pressure of providing sound systems for two tours, an East Coast and a West Coast touring route, that were built simultaneously. “Each venue on our tour route has its own acoustical qualities and coverage areas for the audience that have to be taken into account and we want to provide every audience member with the same high-quality experience of the show at each performance,” says Reid. “Our biggest design challenge is always designing a sound system that is compact enough for efficient touring, while also expansive enough to provide optimal coverage and an equally fun experience for audiences at all of our touring venues. The show itself is quite large, with 26 cast members, a 13-member live orchestra and 17 traveling crew members. Managing both builds at the same time was a big feat for both our audio team as well as those who were supporting us at Masque Sound. It took more than 30 people to build both tours within a two-week window of time, but we are once again, very happy with the results.”
The sound system for both tours this year was designed with minimal interconnect in mind. “Because of the great work of Masque Sound Project Manager Cami Letrick, both tours are almost identical in their design,” adds Reid. “Our mixing console is a Yamaha CL5, and we utilize eight computers that manage QLab 5 for playback, an Ableton Live DAW, Show Control and RF management. Our speaker towers consist of d&b Audiotechnik Y8 and Y12 line arrays, accompanied by d&b B4 Subwoofers, d&b Y7P loudspeakers, and E8 and E3 fill speakers. Each touring rack in our system is connected to a Dante network, providing redundant support for all systems and greatly minimizing cabling interconnect. We also travel with 36 channels of Shure ULXD1 wireless transmitters, paired with ULXD4Q wireless receivers, which also digitally interface with the sound system over the Dante network. Pit orchestra support is provided with Aviom D800-Dante A-Net Distributors and 16 personal mixing stations of, A-16II and A360 Personal Mixers. Clear-Com FreeSpeak-II provides flexible and clear communications for the production.”
For Reid, the collaboration with Masque Sound and his team on this year’s production of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical was once again an incredible journey. “Masque Sound has been an invaluable partner in bringing this vision to life for the last few years,” says Reid. “Masque Sound’s understanding of the show’s intricate requirements not only makes it possible to create a sonic environment that perfectly complements the grandeur of this production, but they also provide the personnel support for the needs of the direction and equipment that we take out on the road with us. In addition, the show would not be the success that it is without my team who work tirelessly day in and day out. My Associate Sound Designer Sam Kusnetz; Production Engineer Noah Dettman; Production Engineer & FOH Audio Engineer (West Coast) Mike Deyo; FOH Audio Engineer (East Coast) Davie Voelker; Deck Audio Engineer (East Coast) Meg Schelling, and Deck Audio Engineer (West Coast) Macy Kloville, all do an incredible job, and I am very proud of each and every one of them. This design could not have been accomplished without the constant support of our Production Manager, Heather Chockley, as well as Jayna Neagle and our friends at Crossroads Live North America.”
For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.grinchmusical.com. The tour is currently scheduled to run through the end of December with upcoming stops including San Jose, Providence, Los Angeles, Durham, Richmond, Costa Mesa, Chicago and Sacramento.
“Masque Sound is very fortunate to work with such a talented professional,” says Scott Kalata, director of sales, Masque Sound. “We look forward to supporting Josh for years to come.”