Sennheiser elevates West Side Story on tour
Thursday, 6 April 2023
west-side-story-foto03-credit-johan-perssonThe West Side Story production premiered in Munich at the end of last year (photo: Johan Persson)
Germany - BB Promotion’s production of West Side Story set out on a world tour in late 2022 and has been capturing the hearts of audiences around the world ever since. Theatre sound designer and live sound engineer, Tom Marshall, worked with BB Promotion and Stage Sound Services (SSS) to create an appropriate audio setup which includes Sennheiser Digital 6000 wireless audio solutions as well as monitor speakers and microphones from Neumann.
The show’s audio equipment includes 34 Sennheiser SK 6212 mini-bodypack transmitters, two Sennheiser MKH 40 microphones, 14 Sennheiser EM 6000 dual-channel receivers, 10 Neumann KH 120 monitors, eight Neumann KM 140 cardioid microphones, and two Neumann U 87 microphones. To ensure seamless performances during the tour, Marshall requested an identical ‘B’ system, so the two systems can ‘leapfrog’ their way around the globe.
Working in theatre sound since 1995, Marshall’s expertise in mixing musicals, as well as his foray into live music mixing, have earned him a reputation as a highly regarded international theatre sound designer. He has a deep-rooted connection to brands like Sennheiser.
“Sennheiser is the trusted brand for audio professionals. Throughout my theatre career and my ventures into live bands, rock’n’roll, and corporate projects, I continue to use Sennheiser products, knowing that I am in the best of hands.”
Marshall’s association with BB Promotion, the organiser of the new West Side Story production, goes back to a project they collaborated on six years ago in Cologne, Germany. The relationship was further strengthened when Martin Flohr, the executive producer and artistic director of BB Promotion, attended a West Side Story production in the UK where Marshall was overseeing the audio. “They were impressed with the sound quality and wanted to replicate the design for the new production. I was thrilled to be invited to be part of the project,” he says.
Having worked for more than 15 years with Stage Sound Services on various productions, Marshall reached out to the company’s trusted experts to enquire about the equipment needed for the show. “I have a long-standing relationship with the company and its director, Phil Hurley,” Marshall explains.
Hurley notes that supplying products for the West Side Story global tour was exciting, so when Marshall contacted them, they were eager to be a part of the project. “Tom had a specific request for the particular loudspeaker manufacturer, which we had in our inventory,” he says. “We then discussed using Sennheiser Digital 6000 and the company’s flagship mini-bodypack transmitter SK 6212, a benchmark for advanced digital transmission technology in modern audio productions. Tom was pleased with the recommendation and decided to use the SK 6212 for the show, amongst the other products we supplied.”
For orchestra monitoring, Marshall and the rest of the team, which includes Dan Gregory (lead production sound engineer), Tom Meehan (head of sound), Aaron Barker (deputy head of sound), and Clara Lim (assistant sound engineer), wanted some self-powered monitors that could be used as and when needed.
“I was determined to incorporate top-notch monitor speakers into the show, so when Phil suggested the Neumann KH 120 studio monitors, I was intrigued. Neumann is renowned for producing exceptional sound, and after listening to the KH 120s I was blown away. I was using a different brand before, but the KH 120s truly exceeded my expectations. I was so impressed that I even asked if I could take a spare set home with me,” Marshall states.
The West Side Story production premiered in Munich at the end of last year, with 1,500 spectators, including Alexander Bernstein, son of composer Leonard Bernstein, who called it a “fantastic production”.

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