“Act One takes place in a town outside the chocolate factory and Act Two takes place inside the factory,” says Keister. “Those two worlds are very visually distinct and we felt they needed to be sonically different as well. Act One is fairly conventional in establishing basic locations and mood through soundscaping, but in an incredibly subtle way. In Act Two, we are in the chocolate factory and each location within the factory is very unique. In concert with Mark Thompson’s brilliant scenic designs, we wanted to fill out these imaginative spaces with matching audio. Trying to create those two very different worlds was a main goal of the project, and thanks to the equipment Masque Sound was able to provide, I think we were successful.”
Since the chocolate factory is a magical place, the sound design was not constrained by reality. According to Keister, “The creative process was endless with some soundscapes having literally hundreds of elements. Because this world could be as bizarre as we wanted, the challenge was reigning it in and doing something that was creative and added to the overall story-telling rather than distracting from it.”
The sound system designed by Keister and provided by Masque Sound is anchored by a DiGiCo SD7 and a large Meyer D-Mitri System. “The SD7 is the heart of the live reinforcement system, and D-Mitri handles all the playback and spatial routing duties,” adds Keister. “Those two items together contain the bulk of the audio processing – we have about 220 inputs and a little over 185 outputs from the two systems. The surround system alone has 102 discreet outputs. There is quite a bit of interplay between the SD7 and D-Mitri to route live audio into the surrounds, allowing us to process and space map the elements to make a living soundscape that moves around the audience.”
Keister’s PA system consists of all Meyer Sound LEOPARD™ arrays with Galileo Processing. Small d&b audiotechnik® components are also used in some fill and surround locations. Microphone elements provided by Masque Sound include Sennheiser MKE-2 mics for many actors with some DPA mics utilized as well. The orchestra pit features an assortment of Neumann, AKG, Sennheiser and Shure® microphones. The wireless package is made up of Sennheiser SK-5212 transmitters and EM-3532 receivers. In all, the show utilizes over 40 channels of wireless.
“It was wonderful to be able to work with Masque Sound again,” says Keister. “I’ve known the gang at Masque Sound for over 20 years and they always do their due diligence in putting together a package that really works. We had a spectacular crew and producers who budgeted wisely to give us the time and resources needed. In addition, my team including Josh Liebert, Julie Sloan, Brett Bingman, Walter Trarbach, Brian Hsieh and Tracy Cowit did an amazing job. We are very happy with the end result.”
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tells the story of Willy Wonka, world famous inventor of the Everlasting Gobstopper, who makes an astonishing announcement. His marvelous—and mysterious—factory is opening its gates…to a lucky few. That includes young Charlie Bucket, whose life definitely needs sweetening. He and four other golden ticket winners embark on a mesmerizing, life-changing journey through Wonka’s wondrous world. Get ready for chocolate waterfalls, exquisitely nutty squirrels and the great glass elevator, all to be revealed by Wonka’s army of curious Oompa-Loompas.
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