Custom Audio Equipment Package Delights Audiences at the Theater at Madison Square Garden
— With New York City’s holiday season underway, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical returns to the Theater at Madison Square Garden (MSG). In preparation for the Grinch’s arrival,
, a leading theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design company, worked with Sound Designer Ed Chapman to provide a custom audio equipment package for this family favorite.
Featuring hit songs like “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas,” Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical is narrated by Max the Dog, who tells the story of the mean and scheming Grinch whose heart is “two sizes too small.” The Grinch hatches a plan to steal Christmas from the Who family, a cheerful bunch bursting with holiday spirit, but, along the way, he discovers that there is more to Christmas than he bargained for in this heart-warming holiday classic.
In designing the sound, Chapman worked hard to ensure that the system could cover the large size of the Theater at Madison Square Garden without overpowering the audience. “The Theater at MSG is much larger than a traditional musical theater venue, and this production caters to children, so my goal was to distribute the sound evenly without making it sound like a rock concert,” says Chapman. “It takes a very accurate sound system to achieve this, which is where Masque Sound came in, supplying us with all necessary equipment to turn this vision into a reality.”
Yet, Chapman’s goal also proved to be his biggest challenge. “The Theatre at MSG’s in-house system is fantastic for a music concert situation but with a seating capacity of 6,500 and an unusually low ceiling with only one level, MSG is definitely a tricky place for musical theatre,” adds Chapman. “With microphones that are farther away from the source, as well as omni-directional mics on top of people’s heads and not handpicked vocal mics right in front of their faces, it ups the stakes for the other end of the PA, which is the sound system and the speaker system. That puts a big burden to get the sound distributed evenly without overpowering the audience.”
In order to provide complete coverage with great sound, Masque Sound provided Chapman with a Yamaha PM5D digital mixing console, equipped with a DM2000 sidecar, which he likes for its rock solid reliability. To complement the theatre’s existing in-house speaker system, Masque Sound supplied a delay ring of Meyer CQ-1s as well as Meyer UPQ-2s for the surround and Meyer Sound M1D line array loudspeakers for front fills. “Meyer loudspeakers are very high quality and some of the best on the market. Using the Meyer speakers is what allowed us to give it a little more finesse to not drive the house system like a rock and roll show. They sound great and were an excellent choice for this show,” adds Chapman.
Masque Sound also provided a selection of microphones, including DPA d:screetâ„¢ 4061 Miniature Microphones for the actors, as well as Sennheiser MKE 2s and Neumann KM 184. In addition, 30 channels of Sennheiser wireless were used and Masque Sound also provided its expert RF frequency coordination for the show.
“MSG is a special place,” adds Chapman. “The theater is double the size of any other venue that we would play, so it was necessary to acquire some supplemental speaker systems. Masque Sound was really helpful in talking me through the different options, while keeping in mind the show’s budget. They have a great inventory and were a wonderful crew to work with.”
The limited holiday engagement of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical opened in Manhattan at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on December 5 and is slated to run through December 28. For more information, including how to purchase tickets, please visit
About Masque Sound
Founded in 1936 by a trio of Broadway stagehands, Masque Sound evolved into one of NYC’s most successful theatrical sound reinforcement, installation and design companies specializing in theatrical, house of worship, sporting, corporate, TV broadcast and live concert events. Celebrating more than 75 years in the industry, the company is lead by Geoff Shearing, the firm’s 3rd generation owner, and Vice President and General Manager Stephanie Hansen. The company also operates Florida-based Professional Wireless Systems, a leader in the development and implementation of wireless technology. Credits range from major Broadway shows and tours including “Phantom of the Opera,” “Mamma Mia!,” “Lion King,” “Jersey Boys,” “Memphis,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Newsies,” “Once” and “Kinky Boots” to yearly Super Bowl broadcasts and installations of varying sizes, including New York’s New Victory Theater and historic St. Bartholomew’s Church. Masque Sound’s 70,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters and main assembly facility is located at 21 East Union Ave., East Rutherford, NJ, 20 minutes from midtown Manhattan. For more information, call (201) 939-8666 or visit