I was sitting at home thinking about how I didn’t have anything to write about since I’m on vacation. Then I realized that being on vacation is a rarity in our business. This is the first time I’ve ever had one. That is, left a show that is still in progress and been absent while the show continues on.

All too often in this business “vacation” is the time that we spend frantically trying to find what the next gig is or skimping a saving until the next tour picks up. It’s nice to actually have a little time off when neither of those things is a concern.

So how does vacation work on a Broadway tour? I’m glad you asked. Otherwise I would have nothing to write about.

We moved the show from Cincinnati to Cleveland. I’m allowed to leave but I think missing a load in or load out would be pretty tough in the audio department without training in a vacation swing. Many shows do just that but in order to cut costs and make it easier for us to come and go as necessary the audio department has decided to simply train a local on the backstage show track. When I’m gone my assistant mixes the shows and the local takes his place backstage. In reality, we are training the local we already have and then an additional local is brought on to cover my contract per IATSE/Yellowcard rules. In this case I stayed through the first couple shows and left Friday morning and will be gone for 8 days (9 shows).

The nice thing about touring the county is that you get to see all of the airports and hotel rooms you would ever want to. Because of that it was very easy to pick where I wanted to go on my break: Home. Of course it couldn’t be quite that easy. One of my girlfriend’s best friends was getting married in Portland, OR over the weekend so I had to make a quick detour to the Pacific Northwest on my way from Cleveland to NYC.

The other thing I wanted to do, while I have a little downtime is check in and see how everyone is feeling about the content of this blog thus far. As I’ve said before there are certain things I can’t/won’t write about because of intellectual property concerns. That said, are there any questions from those of you reading thus far? Anything you want more information/clarification on? The only reason I started this was to be a source of information so let me know what you guys are interested in reading or learning about.

Thanks for reading,

Jake

6 COMMENTS

  1. I have been following the story. It has been great reading.

    I have a question about cable looms. Since there is so much variability (I assume) in the location of some gear from show to show (you mentioned amp racks in the basement in Boston for example) and perhaps cable routing from FOH to the amps, how is that length variability handled?

  2. @ Rob… Having moved a few B’way shows in and out, from NetWorks or Troika to Disney Theatrical, it’s a matter of the scale of the show to some extent. Theaters that have “x” number of seats tend to be of similar size. Commercial real estate lot sizes are another factor. There is a modicum of predictability.

    Typically a show will have a 200′ or 250′ FOH bundle with a 50′ – 100′ extension. In our PAC, the FOH mix position is at the back of house left, but typically theater audio is stage left. The bundle must come off downstage left, cross in front of row A (against the orchestra pit wall), then go up the house left aisle, zig-zagging around the wheel chair platforms (adds 50′ to the total straight-shot run). That makes the total length from downstage to FOH mix around 240′.

    Most theaters have a way to accommodate cabling for drive and amps in other rooms, usually conduit or trap doors in the deck, “mouse holes” in walls. Blue Man Group was just through our PAC, and their PA racks lived in the paint shop, off stage left. Their speaker cables were all Socapex. Extensions for those and other audio needs lived in a big box marked “SPARES”. We became acquainted with them. 😉

    The need for additional feeder, cables or other things are determined by the shows Head Carpenter when he does the advance. The expenses for additional items are taken care of by the local presenter. When WICKED came through a couple years ago, the local presenter had to pay for a complete FOH lighting truss to substitute for balcony rail positions as our balcony rail couldn’t support the weight.

    Jake can give you specific examples of how Addams Family addresses these issues, but the designer’s approach is probably similar to the generic scenario I describe… lots of extensions and spares.

    Have fun, etc.

    Tim Mc

  3. Jake-

    You might explain some of the details of Pink Contract as it applies to work schedules, overtime, staffing rotations, etc. That’s a whole ‘nuther world for most audio people that haven’t done theater at this level.

  4. Hey Jake, I really enjoy reading your blog, thanks you!

    Could you talk about your console routing in more detail? What pieces of the SC48 do you feel you are really leveraging to make the show that much better? I’ve done a fair bit of musical theatre mixing and for me its quite a different strategy than a typical rock show. What processing do you typically using on leads? On chorus? etc Buss compression? Parallel compression? Are you utilizing snapshots/scene recall? How are you managing all your inputs on your 16 available faders? VCA’s?

    Thanks!

    Mike Brown

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here