The hit musical makes it to Paris, opening at the Mogador Theatre
Regarded as one of the original modern musicals, Andrew Lloyd-Webber's CATS has been captivating audiences for more than 30 years, since its first performance at The New London Theatre in 1981. An important major Parisian production has recently opened at The Mogador Theatre, with sound design by Greg Pink and choreography in person by Dame Gillian Lynne.
The Mogador Theatre, built in 1913, was recently restored by Stage Entertainment France to its original splendour. The stage geometry works extremely well for CATS, with the set sloping down and giving the audience an excellent view of the dancing. From the technical team's perspective, this made speaker positioning something of a challenge in terms of finding the right speakers to fit the limited spaces.
Stage Entertainment's resident sound engineer Bertrand Billon explains:
"Greg Pink decided to make a change for the Paris production, as the famous Meyer Sound MSL-2s were becoming harder to obtain. He made the jump to the UPQs as his new reference for the first time. The PA system is a mix of Meyer Sound UPQ, UPA1p, UPJ, UPJuniors and UPMs, with d&b audiotechnik B2 SUBS. It is all about point sources, with no line arrays at all and an interesting design feature is that we have a pair of UPQs inserted in the upstage back wall, fed with the band mix. The mixing system is made up of three components the console, band input and monitoring stagerack, and the radio and outputs stagerack, all connected via an Optocore loop. One unusual aspect for CATS is that we have to provide very low latency video monitoring for the musical director, as he cannot see the stage directly, as well as providing a real-time image of him back to the cast on stage.
"During rehearsal, we had to increase the number of feeds into the desk, which required a bit of quick rethinking by Greg and associate sound designer, Tim Stephens. With the cast and band already on stage, it involved modifying the keyboard rig and monitoring. A few frantic hours later, we had managed to change the wiring, cards and set-up "
A unique feature is the pit sound design, with all electronic instruments being mixed to a set of Genelec speakers, in order to balance them with the acoustical instruments. The pit ambience is then picked up by a "stereo tree" above the MD's head, giving us a bit of live sound from the pit.
The sound team includes Nicolas Lemperier as Sound No 1, Patrick Bergeron as No 2 and Arnaud Dannenberg as Radio No 2. For the Orbital Sound team, the Mogador Theatre is a familiar venue, most recently being involved with "Dance of the Vampires" and once again providing equipment and technical support for the new production of CATS. The show premiered on 1st October, meeting with enthusiastic critical and audience acclaim with Bertrand concluding "it is one of our best ever openings so far here in France."
For the Orbital Sound team, the Mogador Theatre is a familiar venue, most recently being involved with "Dance of the Vampires" and once again providing equipment and technical support for the new production of CATS. The show premiered on 1st October, meeting with enthusiastic critical and audience acclaim with Bertrand concluding "it is one of our best ever openings so far here in France."