Firehouse Productions relied on d:screet™ 4061, d:fine™ 4088 and d:dicate™ 4011 mics for live broadcast of 69th annual awards ceremony
As the old saying goes, “the show must go on;” and it must also be heard, which is why Firehouse Productions once again relied on DPA Microphones for the recent 2015 Tony Awards, held at Radio City Music Hall and broadcast live on CBS. The audio team used a variety of DPA d:screet™ 4061 Omnidirectional
and d:fine™ 4088 Directional Headset Microphones
to capture the vocals of the production’s performers, including co-hosts Kristen Chenoweth and Alan Cumming. A number of the 4061s were also used in the orchestra pit. In addition, singer Josh Groban’s audio team selected DPA’s d:dicate™ 4011ES Cardioid Microphones
for his performance, which was accompanied by a piano.
For the last several years, Firehouse Productions has used DPA microphones for the sound quality and ability to keep up with the demanding, rigorous rehearsals and live performances, while effortlessly blending in with the various costumes. As part of the production process, each show that performed rehearsed in their respective theaters prior to the award ceremony.
“The show’s engineers prefer the sound and durability of the DPA mics, which need to survive being sent to the various theaters during rehearsals,” says Vinny Siniscal, RF Coordinator, Firehouse Productions, who, along with Sisse Jonassen, was also in charge of tech’ing all of the mics on-site. “Once the mics arrived for rehearsals, they were rigged into the costumes. The crew and I were confident that the mics would return for show day in pristine shape, a critical point for the success of the production—at least on the audio end. Since we were moving such large ensemble casts on and off the stage at a quick rate, there was almost no rigging or miking done on-site; it’s all in the costume. When the actors got into costume on show day, the mics were already there and all that needed to be done was to connect transmitters and test communications.”
With so much at stake, Siniscal placed a heavy emphasis on the reliability that DPA’s mics provided to the production, especially in a wireless environment that is up against so much movement. “There were a lot of problems with other devices in the past in terms of broken connectors as a result of too much activity, traffic and handling,” he recounts. “For a production like this, which is broadcast live to millions of people, it is crucial that the mics survive being rigged, plugged and unplugged, yet still maintain the required level of sound consistency.”
Siniscal also recalls first looking for new mics to use during the Tony Awards and how he and his crew liked how well DPA’s cardioid 4088s were used in corporate applications, especially in front of a PA for a large group. “The d:screet™ 4061s have a very similar functionality and sound quality, with an added benefit that they can also be hidden easily in a stage costume,” he explains. “We were looking at a lot of different mics, but overall—in terms of color, durability and sound quality. When we took over the Tony Awards, we knew that both mics were the right tools for this application.”
To complement the pristine sound of the theatre performers, DPA d:dicate™ 4011s were placed inside Groban’s piano on request of Chris “Cookie” Hoff, the singer’s Monitor Engineer. “DPA microphones have been a mainstay in Josh’s piano for years,” he says, noting that the mics always have the gain before feedback that he appreciates, despite the loud floor wedges that were near the piano. “When I came into the camp, our FOH Engineer, Mickey Beck, had insisted on keeping with the choice of mic and I soon realized why—the d:dicate™ 4011, like the 4021 before it, fits under the closed piano lid, but also delivers the natural sound we are looking for, with limited EQ. DPA also does a great job of helping engineers place the microphones where we need them with several mounting options.”
With song and dance numbers being such a mainstay of the Great White Way, it’s no question that the annual Tony Awards show, which aired on June 7, was chock full of entertainment, replete with colorful costumes. The audience was treated to performances from the 2015 Tony-nominated shows in the ‘Best Musical’ and ‘Best Revival of a Musical’ categories. This included Kristin Chenoweth and the cast of On the Twentieth Century; Brian d’Arcy James, Christian Borle, Brad Oscar and the ensemble cast of Something Rotten!; Chita Rivera and the cast of The Visit; Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe and the cast of The King and I; and the casts of On the Town, Fun Home and An American in Paris, among several other performances, including one from singer Josh Groban, who recently released an album of musical theatre favorites.
Siniscal has been an RF engineer for over 10 years at Firehouse Productions and started the company’s RF and intercom division when he first arrived. Since then, he and Firehouse Productions have managed audio, wireless and communications for large-scale productions, such as the MTV Video Music Awards, NBA All-Star Game, 12|12|12 The Concert for Sandy and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame specials, including the recent 25th anniversary, to name just a few.