Based on a book by Peter Stone and featuring music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards, 1776 is a musical that draws on the events surrounding the creation and signing of the Declaration of Independence.
While the show focuses on events dating back some 237 years, there’s nothing ‘historical’ about the American Conservatory Theater’s (ACT) audio attributes, which utilizes Lectrosonics Digital Hybrid Wireless microphone technology.
St. Petersburg, FL-based sound designer Kevin Kennedy was contracted to coordinate sound for the American Conservatory Theater’s presentation of 1776. With a 20-plus-year audio background that spans everything from designing audio systems and mixing for touring Broadway musicals to mixing rock acts such as Alan Parsons, Kennedy is well versed in the sound reinforcement challenges of contemporary theater.
The Lectrosonics equipment used for 1776 is the theater company’s house system, which includes four Lectrosonics Venue series receiver mainframes—each one fully stocked with six VRT receiver modules for a total of 24 channels housed in four rack spaces. There’s also an assortment of transmitters, including four SMV Super-Miniature beltpacks, 18 SMQV dual battery Super-Miniature beltpacks, two HM plug-on transmitters for use with handheld microphones, and six SMDa Super-Miniature transmitters.
“Even though the house system consists of 24 channels, we actually required 26 channels for this production,” Kennedy explains. “As I was unable to secure additional Lectrosonics equipment, I found myself augmenting the Lectrosonics system with a competing manufacturer’s gear. Fortunately, the two systems complemented one another. Lectrosonics’ audio quality is excellent.
“I was particularly impressed with the build quality and the compact form factor of the Lectrosonics equipment,” he continues. “The small Lectrosonics transmitters are ideal for fitting in wigs and tight costuming situations and are really rugged. I also appreciate the fact that the LectroRM app for iPhone and iPad is available, as this handy tool makes it very easy to adjust audio level, frequency settings, and other system parameters when the SM transmitters are buried deep within wardrobe.”
Kennedy offers these final thoughts about the Lectrosonics equipment used on ACT’s presentation of 1776, “I have nothing but good things to say about the Lectrosonics units. They blend perfectly with the supplemental units that we used on the show and work very well with costuming—enabling us to easily hide the bodypack transmitter. Knowing that Lectrosonics is such a dominant presence in the broadcast market, it’s good to see them doing such good work in theater.”