The linearity and complete lack of coloration of LYON is critical to delivering the dynamic range of this show, from quiet dialogue to full-on rock and roll. In musical theatre, getting out exactly what you put in – only louder – is absolutely key when you are trying to tell a story while, at times, keeping the sound reinforcement absolutely invisible.”
Mick PotterSound Designer
Meyer Sound LEO Family reinforcement systems lay down a rock-solid sonic foundation for two of the hottest musicals playing on London’s West End, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s brash and energetic School of Rock and the soulfully scintillating Motown: The Musical. Both systems were provided by London-based Autograph Sound with logistical coordination by Scott Arnold.
The sound design for School Of Rock was by Mick Potter, whose credits include Les Miserables, The Phantom Of The Opera, Evita, Cats, Miss Saigon and Sunset Boulevard, among many other notable productions. For the London design, Potter tweaked the system template he created in 2015 for the still-running Broadway production, with both systems anchored by main left and right hangs each comprising 10 LYON-W wide coverage line array loudspeakers.
“The linearity and complete lack of coloration of LYON is critical to delivering the dynamic range of this show, from quiet dialogue to full-on rock and roll,” comments Potter. “In musical theatre, getting out exactly what you put in – only louder – is absolutely key when you are trying to tell a story while, at times, keeping the sound reinforcement absolutely invisible.”
The production also showcases the high-impact yet controllable bass of the LEO Family’s 1100‑LFC and 900‑LFC low frequency control elements. “Both the 1100-LFC and the 900-LFC sound fantastic, with unbelievable detail,” Potter notes. “Also, the new 900-LFC provides a lot of flexibility in theatre applications due to its modularity.”
Another unique feature of both the Broadway and West End designs is a center horizontal array of small MINA line array loudspeakers, with an arc of 11 speakers suspended over the stage in London. “It was a necessity because of the scenic design but it works out very well, covering the whole auditorium horizontally and vertically,” says Potter.
To augment the LEO Family components, the complete Meyer Sound system incorporates an additional 44 loudspeakers and seven subwoofers, mostly drawn from the versatile UltraSeries. Drive and optimization is provided by a Galileo loudspeaker management system with nine Galileo and two Galileo Callisto processors.
“I’ve been designing sound for major musicals for nearly twenty years and every design has been built around a Meyer Sound system,” concludes Potter. “For School of Rock, it was simply a matter of finding the right Meyer loudspeakers for the style of the show – in this case a combination that could deliver rock concert levels yet with the detail and transparency of a theatre system.”
Motown: The Musical opened to rave reviews earlier in 2016 at the 1400-seat Shaftesbury Theatre and continues its extended run through at least October of 2017. For the London production, sound designer Peter Hylenski upgraded his Meyer Sound system to 14-per-side LEOPARD line array loudspeakers with deep bass solidified by a half dozen 900-LFC low-frequency control elements. The full system complement also includes 12 UPM‑1P, 14 UPM‑2P, eight UPM-1, 10 UPJunior, four UPQ-1P, and eight MM-4 loudspeakers along with two M1D-Sub and two 700-HP subwoofers.
School of Rock: The Musical is based on the 2003 film of the same name and features Lloyd Webber’s music with lyrics by Glenn Slater and book by Julian Fellowes. Motown: The Musical is based on the memoir by Detroit R&B recording mogul Berry Gordy and showcases music by Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Mary Wells, The Temptations and The Jackson 5, among others.