Based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, of the USA’s founding fathers, Hamilton – An American Musical is enjoying enormous commercial and critical success on Broadway, being the hottest ticket in decades. The show has already earned the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2016 Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album, but is also nominated for no less than 16 Tony awards.Having gained success with an Alcons system on the Steve Martin/Edie Brickell musical Bright Star, sound designer Nevin Steinberg opted to use Alcons again on Hamilton’s Broadway run.
Hamilton, with music and lyrics written by Tony-award 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 which are accompanied by a 10-piece orchestra featuring drums, bass, guitars, percussion, violins, viola, cello and keyboards.
“I needed to generate a very muscular, yet incredibly high-fidelity experience for the audience, with tremendous focus and clarity,” says Nevin, famed for Broadway theatre productions like Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella”, “It Shoulda Been You”, “Mothers and Sons”.
“I knew that the Alcons LR7, which was perfect for Bright Star, wasn’t the right solution for this show. 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.”
Twelve Alcons VR8 and eight SR9 are included in the audio system for Hamilton. The VR8 is a compact monitor, with a single 8” reflex-vented mid-bass and the RBN401 4” pro-ribbon driver on a 90 x 40 degree waveguide for mid/high frequencies; The SR9 is a fill-monitor, featuring double 5” mid-bass in a sealed box, with the RBN401 4” pro-ribbon driver on a 120 x 15 degree waveguide.
Both systems share Alcons’ proprietary and multiple-patented pro-ribbon transducer technology for an intuitive linear response and high SPLs with up to 90% less distortion.
Alcons Sentinel10 amplified loudspeaker controllers are the dedicated drive-engines for the Alcons pro-ribbon systems; The 4-in/4-out 10kW controllers are deployed through their up-to-192kHz digital inputs, for an all-digital signal chain.
“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,” says Nevin.
“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.”