Michael Waters, one of Australia’s most recognised theatre sound designers is currently working on three major stage productions: Fame the Musical, West Side Story and Hairspray.
Jands Production Services has supplied the audio equipment for all three hit musicals. A common thread running through all three stage productions is the absolute reliance on Shure wireless microphones.
Jands has supplied the new lightweight and discreet Shure UHF-R Micro Bodypack transmitters (UR1M), a product Michael is delighted with for multiple reasons.
Though these wireless microphones have not been widely commissioned in the theatre world, Michael says that the Shure UHF-R Micro Bodypack transmitters are being used on all three productions.
Costumes are a major feature of musical theatre and the low profile of the Shure UR1M is a distinct advantage, measuring only 49mm x 60mm x 17mm in size and weighing in at only 62g.
Michael says that directors and costume designers don’t want to see any bulbous lumps on the back of the costumes. This is particularly important where skimpy leotards are worn such as in Fame.
It also gets really tricky when one has to put double packs on performers and sometimes three packs if one has an in-ear monitor – the performer may end up with a large spare tyre.
The size is not the only reason that attracts Michael to the Shure UR1M Micro Bodypack wireless microphones. He says that they also sound great.
Additionally, the wireless microphones can also withstand a lot of physical activity. All three musicals incorporate a considerable amount of choreography, with a lot of energy and sweat produced on stage, but they are standing up really well, he added.
According to Michael, the overseas creative team on West Side Story had not seen the Shure UHF-R Micro Bodypack transmitters before this production. They were so impressed by them they are now looking at possibly using them on other productions of the musical around the world.