At the Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST), a Meyer Sound M1D line array loudspeaker system is optimized to provide audio support for everything from Shakespearean dramas to contemporary, high-energy musicals like Follies, Sunday in the Park with George, and Gypsy.
Designed to meet specific architectural challenges, the system was supplied by long-time Meyer Sound dealer TC Furlong of Lake Forest, IL, with logistical coordination by Jeff Cech. The 18 M1D loudspeakers in CST’s 500-seat Jentes Family Courtyard Theater replace an aging, point-source center cluster.
“The Courtyard was designed like the Swan Theatre in London, with very high surrounding balconies and a deep thrust stage,” explains James Savage, head of sound at CST. “The system also has to cover the room’s 270-degree spread.”
The new center cluster of eight M1D loudspeakers covers the main center section of the house in three zones, while side arrays of five M1D loudspeakers each are arranged in three zones to manage the extreme vertical coverage. “The M1Ds definitely fill the role much better from a quality standpoint,” adds Savage. “And their precise vertical control gives us the ability to greatly increase gain before feedback.”
In addition, two UPJ-1P VariO loudspeakers are placed at the proscenium to pull the image down, while four more UPJ-1P loudspeakers are located at the lower level balcony rail to supply fuller music for the side seats and foldback for the thrust stage.
Two USW-1P subwoofers are mounted on catwalks at the proscenium to couple with the wall for low-end boost, and an additional inventory of 14 UP-4XP loudspeakers with IntelligentDC technology and eight MM-4 loudspeakers can be deployed as needed. System drive, zoning, and optimization are provided by a Galileo loudspeaker management system with two Galileo 616 processors.
“The diverse form factors of Meyer Sound loudspeakers lend themselves well to the specific geometry of our thrust theatre,” says Chris Plevin, CST director of production. “The small-form MM-4 front-fill cabinets and relatively compact M1D arrays allow us to realize the best possible acoustic reinforcement without impacting the scenic and lighting designs.”
Founded in 1986 by artistic director Barbara Gaines, CST moved to its new two-stage venue at Navy Pier in 1999. It’s the third-largest regional theatre in the Midwest and was recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award in 2008.