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Orbital Sound puts Dutch Wicked production in the round

London-based rental company Orbital Sound adds Wicked to its show list as the hit musical premieres on the Dutch stage.

November clocked up yet another big musical première for the Dutch stage, as Wicked opened at the Circustheater in Scheveningen. For sound designer Tony Meola and associate sound designer, Kai Harada, this is the third foreign language production of the show that they have embarked on – tackling a tricky venue in the round. From an audio perspective, Wicked exemplifies Tony Meola’s approach to sound design, which is at all times to help tell the story, focusing on the audibility of the lyrics, combined with a natural, dynamic design with a very big range. Kai Harada elaborates: “The Circustheater is a challenge – with a circular seating area, it presents a number of acoustic difficulties, but we are working closely with the theatre management to improve it while at the same time optimising our system to the challenges of the space. “The sound design focuses on delivering a very natural sound, giving the illusion that the sound is coming from the performers on stage rather than via loudspeakers. The show combines a blend of many different musical styles – mixing rock numbers, pop and ballads to create a contemporary musical against a 19th century background, performed by an orchestra of 14. It has proved to be hugely successful with audiences around the world, and there appears to be huge enthusiasm for it here in the Netherlands as well. “This is a really exciting production, with a very strong international cast that includes the original “green witch” from the German show – Willemijn Verkaik. Although a fluent German speaker, Willemijn is Dutch and so the perfect choice to reprise her brilliant role as Elpheba – she is effectively coming home!” London-based rental company Orbital Sound has added Wicked to its show list for the first time – contracted by Stage Entertainment to supply the a portion of the sound equipment to complement equipment coming from the Stage Entertainment Germany production of Wicked. The sound system for the Circustheater deploys Meyer Sound line array systems comprised of M1Ds and M2Ds, a Cadac J-Type Live Production Console, 40 Sennheiser SK-5012 and EM-3532 receivers, and a comprehensive selection of other Meyer Sound loudspeakers. The sound system is processed via five Meyer Galileo processors; sound effects are played back via Akai samplers, and Lexicon processors are used for some of the other-worldly effects. Orbital’s brief included providing the majority of the surround system, as well as the Roland orchestra pit monitoring system, some cabling infrastructure, and intercom/video equipment. Orbital provided much of the surround system– already in place for the previous show, Mary Poppins, as well as the Roland orchestra pit monitoring system, some cabling infrastructure, and intercom/video equipment. The balance of the equipment came from the Stage Entertainment Germany production of the show. This production of Wicked is being staged by Joop Van Den Ende Theatreproductions in association with Stage Entertainment and Wicked Worldwide. Stage Entertainment Holland’s executive producer, Peter O’Keeffe, commented on the production aspects:
 “Wicked was a remarkably smooth production process for such a complex technical show and also a totally different undertaking compared with our other major show, Miss Saigon, which opened just over a month before this one. The most complex element was how to bring together a number of elements and make it all work – which is where Orbital did a great job. Some of the equipment came over from Germany, complete with German labelling, the technical team comprised a mix of English and Dutch staff, and our sound designer, Tony Meola, is American. It all came together extremely well, opening on 6th November.”