Kai Harada is associate sound designer for the German production of Wicked, which features a 90-input Cadac J-Type live production console. Stuttgart, Germany (November 27, 2007)–The latest production of the hit musical, Wicked, has opened at Stage Entertainment’s Palladium Theatre in Stuttgart, bringing the total to seven worldwide, including the U.S. tour. Sound design is by Tony Meola, with Kai Harada as associate sound designer, featuring the show’s trademark 90-input Cadac J-Type live production console and Meyer Sound M1D and M2D line-array systems.
The show stars Willemijn Verkaik and Lucy Scherer as the two witches, selected after more than 1,800 hopefuls auditioned for the roles. Sung entirely in German, this is the second foreign-language version to be staged, following the Japanese show that opened in June.
In the run up to Wicked’s opening night, the 10-year-old Palladium Theatre has undergone a substantial refit. The 1,800-seat auditorium presented few major challenges to the sound team, as Harada expands, “The Palladium is a purpose-designed venue and as such, presented us with a pretty straightforward project, with one exception. It is a big space, and there are lots of areas to cover, so we have had to expand the sound system to an all-time record for the show, putting in some 213 loudspeakers in total.”
Harada continues, “We have used a similar approach to previous productions, with the primary system components remaining constant, and working with Stage Entertainments to use its existing equipment as appropriate. Given that Wicked is a very lyrical show, and the sound design reflects this very sympathetically, it has been an interesting experience to work on the German-language version. The main differences we have noticed are that the big chorals have a much greater operatic effect, and the ballads are less soft with perhaps more attack. We had a fantastic reception from the audience on the first preview, and are anticipating a great first night.”
The 90-slot J-Type is specified with 34 programmable stereo and mono dual-input modules, 38 standard mono modules, 14 output modules and 70 motor faders. Alongside this are 36 Sennheiser SK-5012 radio microphones, plus a selection of Meyer Sound loudspeakers. The primary system comprises two 11-cabinet M1D line-array systems at the core, complemented by four 4-cabinet M2D systems and an assortment of Meyer MM-4, UPJ, UP Junior and UPM loudspeakers.
The entire system, including the installed loudspeaker systems, is controlled via six Meyer Galileo processors. Lexicon effects processors are used for some of the “other-worldly” effects. The sound team includes Misa Miyabara as sound assistant and Michel Weber as production sound engineer. David Prikryl is head mixer, supported by Ollie Schaal as second mixer. The backstage and house sound staff is comprised of Jan Bramburek, Ollie Nerz, Benny Wollet and Andreas Ahmen, all assisted by the installation team–Gary Hickeson, Jenny Winkler, Peter Winckler, Frankie Dimke, Benny Schulenkorf, Volker Smyrek and Selem Dogac.