“The world’s favourite musical” is how Annie was billed – and South African audiences wholeheartedly agreed, attending in droves. As always, the prolific Prosound partnership of Meyer Sound, DPA and Midas Pro Series along with Technical Director, Mark Malherbe, were on hand to ensure utmost integrity and fidelity of the audio component of this amazing – and award-winning -production. Annie ended its extremely successful run at Artscape’s Opera on the 8th of January, having started at the Teatro at Montecasion on the 12th of October last year.
An unusual and interesting set of technical and logistical challenges
Annie represented some rather unique technical challenges. Three different girls were cast as the eponymous Annie which presented some interesting challenges as this meant three different EQ, dynamics and gain levels had to be pre-set to cater for each unique actress and correctly implemented for each running of the show. There were also three separate casts of orphanage children, which taking into account the fact that the children were of all different sizes, shapes and ethnicities, meant a vast variety of different DPA d:screet 4061 headset microphones colour-matched to each young performer. It also again meant a complete change in EQ, dynamics and gain staging for each iteration of the cast. That’s without considering the typically huge number of wireless packs and receivers that needed to all be individually marked and sorted to make sure all the signals went where they were needed.
Preparation time for the show, including rehearsals totalled an unprecedented four weeks. The rehearsal process for Annie was also rather different to a typical musical, with a separate rehearsal having to be held for each of the 3 casts. This meant 3 times the number of rehearsals when compared to a traditional musical with a single cast and accompanying understudies. The logistics behind making this all possible were incredibly complex and involved but were expertly handled by the team.
The equipment that made the show happen
Splitbeam, Gearhouse’s Theatre Equipment Rental Company, were the selected hardware suppliers. Senior operator and long-time Mark Malherbe collaborator, Cara Dowling, expertly controlled the show from the mix position.
DPA 4061 head-worn microphones were used on the cast. DPA 4099 and Audio-Technica ATM-350 instrument microphones were used on the band.
Meyer Sound M’elodie Line Array elements, total of 12 boxes per side. Five M1 front fills were employed and a mixture of M1 and UPM cabinets were placed under balcony – 12 in total.
Midas PRO 9 main console, with a Midas PRO 1 on stage covering stem mixes.
Annie was an unparalleled success, in no small part thanks to Prosound’s Premier Brands – Meyer Sound. DPA Microphones and Midas PRO Series consoles – ensuring flawless audio that allowed the stellar cast’s performances to shine through.