Profile: Company at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (2021)

We explore some of the audio and lighting used in one of Broadway’s newest revivals.

Housed at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, Company is a Broadway musical-comedy revival starring Katrina Lenk and Patti LuPone.

From the show’s website:

It’s Bobbie’s 35th birthday party, and all her friends keep asking, Why isn’t she married? Why can’t she find the right man and isn’t it time to settle down and start a family? As Bobbie searches for answers, she discovers why being single, being married, and being alive in 21st-Century New York could drive a person crazy.

The theater houses 1,092 seats with an orchestra and a mezzanine. Like many Broadway theaters, this is an intimate venue with audiences situated close to the stage.

To amplify this space, the show uses speakers from d&b audiotechnik’s Y-Series and V-Series with a heavy reliance on their point source boxes.

For this production, audio is arranged into two systems: mains and delays. The primary system is aimed at the first few rows of the orchestra and the bottom half of the mezzanine, with boxes positioned around the proscenium.

This main system is composed of d&b audiotechnik V-SUB subwoofers and V-Series point source boxes.

A small three-element array is positioned at the center, aimed directly at the exposed orchestra. A secondary two-box array is mounted above, aimed at the bottom half of the mezzanine.

For the back-half of the mezzanine, a small two-box d&b audiotechnik Y array sits at the center, flanked by Y-Series point source boxes. Additional V-Series point source boxes are positioned at the sides.

If you look closely, you can see smaller E-Series delays and fills mounted below.

As we head into the orchestra section underneath the mezzanine, we can see additional rings of E-Series delays alongside a point source box at either side.

Like audio, the primary lighting rig is situated mainly around the proscenium and along the space between the orchestra and the mezzanine. The show uses several Martin MAC Encore fixtures.

If we were to head further back into the theater, we can see a High End Systems SolaFrame 3000 fixture.

As for the show, if you’ve heard of Company, you probably know that this production is a Stephen Sondheim (and George Furth) classic which has been the subject of several revivals over the years. While I’m not intimately familiar with the history of this production, this iteration of Company makes use of some very clever staging. Here, sets are self-contained in moving cubes that move in and out of view throughout the show, merging and separating depending on the scene. Through the use of what I presume to be very clever automation, cubes would pull back, move up or pull off to the sides in perfect harmony. In fact, the show made me question the concept of space given the number of scene changes they were able to deploy using several large moving sets.

For audio and lighting, the show featured a relatively modest rig which served the production well. Lighting wise, Company must have been a challenge to illuminate when you consider that the cubes are mostly enclosed from the top and the sides, which makes lighting a potential challenge. To me, Company seemed as well lit as every other show that I’ve seen and several illuminated set pieces were expertly integrated into the show.

For amplification, I was situated in the center of the mezzanine and the audio sounded clear and full, which isn’t always the case in a musical production. Depending on the show, I sometimes get the sense that intelligibility is prioritized above all else, which makes some delay systems sound thin. That wasn’t the case here.

I’m not one to usually watch a musical-comedy, but Company is worth a visit for its staging alone.

Equipment list:

  • d&b audiotechnik Y-Series
  • d&b audiotechnik V-Series
  • d&b audiotechnik E-Series
  • Martin MAC Encore
  • High End Systems SolaFrame 3000

These photos were taken on December 11, 2021 in New York, New York.