The Broadway musical Kinky Boots was a runaway favorite at this year’s Tony Awards, winning six Tonys. They include Best Musical and Best Sound Design, won by Sound Designer John Shivers. To present Cyndi Lauper’s Tony-winning pop score, Shivers devised a discreet yet powerful reinforcement system built around Meyer Sound MINA™ and M’elodie® line array loudspeakers.
Provided by East Rutherford, N.J.-based Masque Sound, the FOH system is anchored by split left and right main arrays of seven MINA loudspeakers each for upper arrays covering the mezzanine, and six each for lower arrays covering the orchestra level.
According to Shivers, the MINA arrays were chosen due to their visual subtlety and proven performance. “Cyndi Lauper wanted a sound as close as possible to her studio pop recordings, and certainly I wanted to have uniform distribution to every seat in the house,” says Shivers. “Since I also needed small, unobtrusive boxes to squeeze in alongside the proscenium, I chose the MINAs. I’ve been using MINAs ever since they were introduced because they simply sound better.”
For the center array, Shivers opted for a cluster of 12 M’elodie loudspeakers. “The voicing in the vocal range is exceptional,” he notes.
The balance of the main FOH system comprises a rear delay cluster of five M1D line array loudspeakers, plus six 500-HP and two 700-HP subwoofers for low-end reinforcement.
A Galileo® loudspeaker management system featuring five Galileo 616 processors handles system drive and alignment. “Galileo is very flexible, has great EQ, and the seamless integration with the MAPP Online Pro® prediction program is quite helpful,” says Shivers.
To achieve full control over the musical instruments for this pop-music show, Shivers worked with long-time associate David Patridge to isolate the orchestra elements as much as possible. The drummer, for example, is housed in a room behind the balcony, connected to the pit via audio and video monitoring.
FOH equipment includes a DiGiCo SD7-T as a main console, Sennheiser SK 5212 wireless transmitters, and a TC Electronic Reverb 6000 to supply reverb effects.
Based on a 2005 film of the same name and inspired by a true story, Kinky Boots is directed by Jerry Mitchell following the book by Harvey Fierstein. The show is in an open-ended run at New York’s 1,438-seat Al Hirschfeld Theater.