Masque Sound provided a custom audio equipment package for the Classic Stage Company’s (CSC) critically acclaimed revival of the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical, Passion.
The limited engagement recently wrapped at Manhattan’s CSC Theater.
Directed by John Doyle, Passion tells the story of a young Italian soldier enmeshed in a steamy affair with a beautiful married woman. When he is transferred to a remote outpost, he meets a sickly, unattractive but devoted woman. Her love leads him to rethink the nature of passion.
Sound Designer Dan Moses Schreier worked closely with Masque Sound to create an intimate experience for the audience.
“From a sound design standpoint, this was a very challenging show,” says Schreier. “The theater itself is very small, with only 199 seats, and we had a nine-piece orchestra suspended over the heads of one section of the audience.
“It was an enormous amount of work to make it sound as clear and transparent as the show demands, and Masque Sound’s equipment and support was instrumental in helping Production Sound Mixer Josh Reid, Associate Sound Designer Nicholas Pope and myself achieve our vision.”
With the orchestra located on one side of the house, Schreier’s main objective was to create a wash of sound that would envelop the audience. This way, it wouldn’t seem as though the sound came from just one side of the house. By using reverbs very carefully, he was able to accomplish this.
At the heart of the package Masque provided was the new Yamaha CL-5 mixing console with two RIO 3224 I/O racks. With a three-section fader layout for efficient hands-on control, the CL-5 is an ideal choice for a diverse spectrum of live sound systems.
The Masque Sound team felt it would work perfectly. In addition, Masque Sound’s technical team provided all of the training and setup for Schreier and his team, helping them gain familiarity with the new console.
“One of the great things about working with Masque is their flexibility in working with different theater productions of various sizes and budgets,” adds Schreier. “We knew going in to Passion that the budget was going to be smaller than a Broadway production.
“Masque Sound was able to take the numbers we gave them and help us develop a package that in no way would compromise the sound of the show. The show sounded great and Masque was unbelievably supportive.”
The original Broadway production of Passion won the 1994 Tony Award for Best Musical.