Alcons brings Hamilton to life on Broadway

Sound designer Nevin Steinberg opted to use an Alcons system for the critically acclaimed Hamilton – An American Musical when it recently hit Broadway.

Based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, of the USA’s founding fathers, the musical is enjoying commercial and critical success and has already earned the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2016 Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album along with 16 Tony award nominations.

Having gained success with an Alcons system on the Steve Martin/Edie Brickell musical Bright Star, Steinberg chose to use Alcons again on Hamilton’s Broadway run.

“I needed to generate a very muscular, yet incredibly high-fidelity experience for the audience, with tremendous focus and clarity. I knew that the Alcons LR7, which was perfect for Bright Star, wasn’t the right solution for this show,” said Steinberg. “But my positive experience with the LR7 was a major factor in auditioning Alcons point source products for use on Hamilton. I did some critical listening of the SR9 and the VR8, and they proved ideal for this production.”

A total of 12 Alcons VR8 and eight SR9’s are included in the system. The VR8 is a compact monitor with a single 8in reflex-vented mid-bass and RBN401 4in pro-ribbon driver on a 90 x 40 degree waveguide for mid/high frequencies; the SR9 is a fill monitor, featuring double 5in mid-bass in a sealed box, with the RBN401 4in pro-ribbon driver on a 120 x 15 degree waveguide. Both systems share Alcons’ patented pro-ribbon transducer technology.

Alcons Sentinel10 amplified loudspeaker controllers are the drive engines for the Alcons pro-ribbon systems. The four-in/four-out 10kW controllers are deployed through their up-to-192kHz digital inputs, for an all-digital signal chain.

Hamilton, with music and lyrics written by Tony and Grammy Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, is unusual in that it extends the musical dynamic range of Broadway. The music ranges from sparse ballads, via R&B and hip-hop, to a fully-fledged rap battle, and the whole show is completely ‘sung-through’ – meaning that the lyrics provide the only plot information the audience receives.

The show features 21 cast members, accompanied by a ten-piece orchestra featuring drums, bass, guitars, percussion, violins, viola, cello and keyboards.

“Dave Rahn at Alcons USA was incredibly helpful, making sure that I got a good listen to the products that I was interested in and then following through with the theatrical sound vendor PRG Audio to co-ordinate priority shipping and on-time delivery for our production schedule on Broadway,” Steinberg concluded.

“Audience response to the sound has been very positive, along with their response to the rest of the production. The show is quite special, and the people who have seen it are pretty overwhelmed by the experience. I feel very lucky to be a part of it.”