HelixNet wired and FreeSpeak II wireless intercoms kept performers, acrobats, and production crew connected during death-defying performances -
Clear-Com®, the leader in real-time communication and connectivity solutions, was Cirque de Soleil’s intercom provider of choice for the company’s Broadway musical ‘PARAMOUR’. The show, which closed out a year-long run on April 16, 2017, used Clear-Com’s HelixNet wired and FreeSpeak II wireless intercoms to provide complete coverage throughout the 1,932 seat, 24,000 square foot Lyric Theater.
In addition to coordinating the fast scenery, prop, and athletic equipment changes in the ‘Golden Age of Hollywood’ musical, PARAMOUR’s stage crew monitored the real-time safety of Cirque de Soleil’s aerial performers; all of whom were working without a net. The Clear-Com intercom equipment was rented by Cirque de Soleil from Masque Sound of East Rutherford, NJ; which has also supported the systems during PARAMOUR’s Broadway run.
“PARAMOUR was one of those projects which took Broadway in a new and different direction: It had a story and songs like a musical, but also had a strong component of Cirque du Soleil acrobatics interspersed throughout the piece,” said David Patridge, PARAMOUR’s Associate Sound Designer. “To stay on top of the action, the PARAMOUR production crew needed a reliable, robust, and flexible intercom system that would keep everyone connected without any gaps or dropouts. This is why we selected Clear-Com’s HelixNet wired and FreeSpeak II wireless intercom systems to do the job.”
Cirque de Soleil rented three HelixNet Digital Partyline Main Stations for PARAMOUR. With the assistance of Masque Sound, they integrated the three HelixNet systems into what may have been the largest intercom system of this type on Broadway. The audio design also called for 18 HPB beltpacks and 18 HRM remote stations to connect the stage crew to the HelixNet system.
“HelixNet is a terrific product and was a no-brainer when compared to traditional partyline wired intercom systems,” said Patridge. “You can operate 24 multiplexed channels over a single XLR cable and power the unit with that same cable.”
For wireless communications, PARAMOUR rented Clear-Com’s FreeSpeak II 1.9 GHz intercom system with wireless beltpacks/headsets for 15 users, plus nine antennas to extend the reach of the FreeSpeak II footprint throughout the entire Lyric Theater. FreeSpeak II is designed to integrate easily with HelixNet and other Clear-Com wired intercom platforms.
“Most Broadway theaters suffer from some degree of difficulty in achieving coverage throughout the entire building,” added Patridge. “At the same time, the current expectation with wireless communications is that a person wearing it could be located anywhere -- not just in the stage house. This is why we deployed nine FreeSpeak II antennas and a couple of splitters to deliver full coverage. We were able to cover every inch of the building through the placement of these antennas; all connected with lightweight CAT5 cabling. This kind of full coverage is simply not achievable with previous versions of wireless communications - at least, not without a lot of expensive coaxial cable, antenna splitter/combiners, and RF trial and error.”
As PARAMOUR approached its final curtain, David Patridge was very happy with Cirque de Soleil’s intercom choice for the company’s first-ever Broadway show.
“I can state without reservation that Clear-Com’s HelixNet and FreeSpeak II performed flawlessly for us,” he said. “They made sure the show always went on.”
“Clear-Com is incredibly proud, yet humbled, to have played such a central role in PARAMOUR’s successful year-long run on Broadway,” said James Schaller, Clear-Com’s Regional Sales Manager. “When Cirque de Soleil relies on your intercom systems to keep the show rolling and their performers safe, the sense of honor and responsibility are profound.”