KSL more than fits the bill for female-led Pop musical &Juliet.
&Juliet arrived in London with a bang. Following a roaringly positive run in Manchester the musical is now leaving its impact on the West End, securing #1 spot in Broadway World’s London ‘Top 10 New Shows’ and reviews calling the sound ‘first-rate’.
The show rewrites the story of Shakespeare’s Juliet; instead of dying for Romeo, Juliet lives and goes on a number of adventures, educating the audience about current topics of identity and female empowerment along the way. Seamlessly woven into this revamped plot are pop songs of anthem status from legendary record producer Max Martin. ‘Baby One More Time’ by Britney Spears, ‘Everybody’ by The Backstreet Boys, and ‘Roar’ by Katie Perry are just some of the globally successful chart-toppers getting audiences on their feet.
This is a show of such musical ferocity that transporting its power and emotion was left to Olivier Award winning sound designer Gareth Owen and the system was supplied by Stage Sound Services.
“I have worked with d&b loudspeakers for long enough and know the company well, so I decided to spec’ KSL without having listened to it first. To do justice to the works of super-prolific record producer Max Martin, it definitely delivered the tight, clean pop sound I was looking for.”
This is echoed by Max Martin himself: “We wanted to create a really unique sound for &Juliet in the West End, something that brought the worlds of musical theatre and pop together. Gareth Owen and d&b loudspeakers helped us to deliver that.”
Owen explains that this KSL System, supported by SL-SUBs, is the first time the SL-Series has been used on a musical theater production.
“Inside a closed theater environment, KSL’s cardioid performance works extremely well,” explains Owen. “Its unique design prevents reflections from the back of the array bouncing off the proscenium wall and muddying the sound – an issue very common in a theater setup because arrays are so often flown within touching distance of the proscenium walls.”
KSL has been designed to deliver a greater level of accuracy and impact with a directness that noticeably improves clarity, both for the audience and onstage. With a quieter environment for the actors, there’s room in the sound design process to actively steer and shape the sound onstage; time otherwise spent filtering out unwanted low end reverberations.
“We were able to customize the stage sound to the artists’ exact requirements,” confirms Owen. “For the first time ever we have been able to run the stage foldback for the cast without a CUT filter - a d&b specific high-pass filter that minimizes some of the low frequency reflection onstage. With KSL we actually had to add some low end back into the foldback to give the performers a fuller sound onstage. Although this might sound like extra effort it’s creative time, not corrective.”
Owen’s decision confirms KSL is firmly at home in musical theatre and the next step in the company’s mission, Democracy for Listeners - the idea that in any given space, inside or out, sound can be tailored in a way that’s right for everyone. For audiences and performers, and equally - those who don’t want to hear at all –homes and offices near festivals, and urban party places for example.
Both Shakespeare’s reimagined heroine and the KSL system have made resoundingly successful West End debuts.
”We will certainly use KSL again,” says Owen, “Indeed we already are – it’s getting a second outing on Back to the Future in March 2020! When it comes to rock and roll, and pop musicals, it’s simply the best box out there. I’d use it on every show if I could.”