Music and Lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin
Book by Heather Hatch
Directed by Dr. David Herendeen
Musical Direction by Jan McDaniel
Oklahoma City University
Kirkpatrick Auditorium, Oklahoma City
In this modern American musical, we follow a young girl Elle as she rises above the expectations of others to bring justice and peace in the world. Given the contemporary rock instrumentation, I chose to emphasize the driving and building beats through careful positioning of a line array system and subwoofer loudspeakers. While originally pursuing a standard rock-n-roll concert setup, the sound was adjusted to be less abrasive and more inviting. Experience was gained through coordinating interaction with rental companies and members of the sound team to more fully realize the design concept.
For sound amplification of the performers, I chose to follow the standard forehead microphone placement to provide an even and balanced sound while allowing the element to disappear on the actors’ faces. To further contribute to the invisibility of the microphone, element cables were colored using paper tape and nail polish to seamlessly disappear into the actors’ hair.
The orchestra featured several doubled instruments and three keyboards running synthesized effects through midi controlled preset patches from the licensing agency. In order to maintain balance and control between the orchestra and the voices, a headphone monitoring system was employed to reduce uncontrolled amplified sound from the pit. In addition, microphones were placed on each instrument in the pit to allow for an even blend. Through these techniques, the full instrumentation was realized and we were able to recreate the original impact of the composer’s intent.
While live dogs performed in the production, pre-recorded sound effects for barking were engineered for a precise cue within the score. Additional sound effects including whale calls and doorbells were also engineered to contribute to the zeitgeist of the nineties.
These elements were seamlessly fused together to provide the audience with a clear and coherent medium to follow Elle’s journey in realizing what is most important in the world.