Pageant the Musical

 

ACTLab/A Sensible Theatre Company, June 2018

Director: Charlie Johnson

Musical Director: Garrit Gaudan

Lighting Design: Robert Aguilar

Scenic Design: Reiko Huffman

Costume Designe: Pete Rush

Props Design: Cedric Wright

 

Pageant was a musical comedy produced by A Sensible Theatre Company in partnership with ACTLab, presented in ACT Theatre's Bullit Cabaret. It was presented as a "real beauty competition" complete with audience judges and the potential for any of the competing beauties (all male actors playing female pageant queens) to win at the end. While it was a relatively small show compared to many musicals, it was a fun challenge to take on because I had never designed a musical before in any respect. 

While I did not have as many individual cues to build for the show, I spent plenty of time working on the show creating the system, working with the music director, working with costumes on mic placment and scenic on monitor and speaker placement. (On the mic note: in the end, we went with transmitters under double wig caps and one backup halo rig as well as a handheld wireless mic, just in case). I also recorded/created/selected most of the sound effects which I programmed through QLab during tech working along a sound engineer brought on to help me load in the show and tech it. Because he was only available for that window of time, I took over as A1 and ran the sound for the rest of the show.​

Some paperwork samples from my pre-tech process designing the sound system.

When I use preshow music, I try not to include anything easily recognizable or with lyrics unless it is to set a very specific time and mood. This was definitely a show that called for that!t may be a little cheesy, but sometimes you really just need to "hype up a crowd" and this mix was super fun to put together to try and get people into the spirit of things. 

Pageant - Miss Texas V.O. for Swimsuit Competition - Miss Texas (played by Andrew Murray)
00:00 / 00:00

While I did not have a lot of sounds to build from scratch, there was a lot to be pre-recorded, which I did in the cabaret space itself with my tiny portable studio setup (consisting of a mic stand, my MacBook Pro, a couple of pairs of headphones, an SM58, and my trusty little Focusrite Scarlett 2i2) once we got access to it.

When played back, the "room" in the recording essentially disappeared, which made it sound natural even when we saw the characters onstage clearly not talking. However, an unfortunate aspect to this particular "guerilla recording studio" setup was that we did not have access to a pop filter, which you can tell from a few plosives in this file. Luckily, those disappeared along with the room tone during playback for the most part.
This particular file played over Miss Texas' (played by Andrew Murray) swimsuit competition strut down the catwalk, with the 3 piece band vamping over it.