Having continued successful permanent productions in Chicago and New York, the Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet (MDQ) has hit the road with a North American tour. To accommodate venues seating from 1,400 to over 3,000, sound designer Kai Harada specified a Meyer Sound system based around MICA® and M’elodie® line array loudspeakers.
“My goal was to give the touring crew a system with a lot of flexibility, so they could adjust coverage angles for theatres of all shapes and sizes,” explains Harada. “With the M’elodie center cluster and MICA side arrays, they have all the power they need for bigger houses, along with reliable consistency of sound—a quality at which Meyer systems always excel.”
Inspired by a 1956 recording studio jam session by Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis, Million Dollar Quartet captures a pivotal night in the history of rock ’n’ roll. On the MDQ tour, the lion’s share of the show’s energy is delivered by a split dual center array of 20 M’elodie loudspeakers and the upper and lower side arrays comprising a total of 20 MICA loudspeakers. A left-right configuration of 600-HP subwoofers and a 700-HP at center provide low end, while a total of 16 UPM-1P and UPJunior™ VariO™ loudspeakers supplies fill and delay systems as needed. A Galileo® loudspeaker management system with four Galileo 616 processors provides drive and optimization.
“This is a rock ’n’ roll show, but it was my goal to preserve the dynamic between the book scenes, the songs, and the big finale,” Harada says. “It’s important to hold a lot of punch in reserve, and this system certainly has it.”
Harada is also the sound designer for resident productions of MDQ at Chicago’s Apollo Theater and off-Broadway at New York’s New World Stages. The New York system is based around a MINA™ line array in the center with CQ-1 and CQ-2 loudspeakers on the sides, while the wide thrust staging in Chicago also employs CQ-1 loudspeakers with smaller UltraSeries™ models for delays and fills. PRG Audio supplied all three systems for the touring and resident productions.
Despite the radical differences in venues, Harada credits the Meyer Sound systems with maintaining a uniform sound. “For me, it comes down to consistency and transparency,” he says. “I can focus on bringing the audience closer to what is happening on stage with the confidence that the system won’t adversely color their experience.”
Harada also specified Meyer Sound systems for MDQ’s well-received 2010-11 run on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre and in London at the Noël Coward Theatre in 2011-12.
The book for Million Dollar Quartet was written by Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott. The Broadway production was nominated for three 2010 Tony Awards, with Levi Kreis (Jerry Lee Lewis) winning Best Featured Actor in a musical.
A long-time associate of Broadway sound designer Tony Meola, Kai Harada currently supervises sound for all productions of Wicked, and has designed around the world using Meyer Sound systems, including Hinterm Horizont in Berlin, and the critically acclaimed revival of Follies on Broadway.
About Million Dollar Quartet:
When the Broadway production opened last year, critics and audiences leapt to their feet. The New York Times called the show, “a buoyant new musical that whips the crowd into a frenzy,”New York Magazine said it is, “a dazzling raucous spectacle that sounds like a million bucks,” and NY1 called it, “90 minutes of platinum grade entertainment.” The musical continues its successful New York engagement at New World Stages. The Chicago production of Million Dollar Quartet opened in 2008 and is still playing to packed houses at the Apollo Theatre. The West End production opened in 2011 and played at the Noël Coward Theatre in London for one year.
Million Dollar Quartet is produced by Relevant Theatricals, John Cossette Productions, American Pop Anthology, Broadway Across America and James L. Nederlander.