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KV2 Audio brings magical soundscapes to Beauty & the Beast

The smash hit musical show Beauty and the Beast, which has grossed $1.7 billion worldwide, has been revived for an Australian tour, with KV2 Audio centre stage

KV2 Audio has provided the sound systems for an Australian revival of the smash hit musical show Beauty and the Beast, which was inspired by the 1991 animated film, itself a version of the French fairy tale La Belle et la Bête. The stage show has grossed more than $1.7 billion worldwide and played in 15 countries and 115 cities, remaining one of Broadway’s biggest successes.

For the Australian tour, sound designer and long-time Disney collaborator, John Shivers, has installed the ESR215s as main left and right loudspeakers. He is using two sets as upper and lower systems for most of the Australian venues, with EX12s flown near the lower ESR215s as infill for the first few rows. If space is limited, Shivers replaces the upper 215s with EX15s, with a further two EX15s as balcony delays flown from a delay truss midway into the house.

A pair of SL412s serve as the centre cluster, with one SL412 focused on the circle/balcony, while the other acts as a downfill for the stalls. The production also has a pair of EX1.8 subs as part of the centre cluster which provide low-end reinforcement for the circle and stalls, and a pair of floor-standing VHD2.18J subs providing low end for the main seating area.

Shivers is deploying 20 compact EX6 loudspeakers for foldback, both on- and off-stage, and as fills in the house for places shadowed by the main PA, such as the boxes and extreme sides of the auditorium. ESD5s – over 40 in total – are used as front fills, under-balcony delays and surrounds, and finally, he has made a late add of three EX10s to beef up the surrounds.

Shivers first started work on Beauty and the Beast for the Shanghai production in 2018. He and his associate designers, Kevin Kennedy and Greg Pink, along with sound engineer Andy Sharman then started designing the new, re-conceived version of the show, which launched at the London Palladium for a limited 12-week run before heading out on a nationwide tour.

A similar production is now on tour in Australia. “I specify KV2 loudspeakers for all my shows now,” said Shivers. “There is simply no better product line to meet my requirements.” Shivers has also designed KV2 Audio systems for a large number of hit Broadway musicals including The Lion King, Kinky Boots, Pretty Woman and Shucked.

Kennedy added: “Quite apart from the outstanding audio quality, a KV2 system usually enables us to achieve amazing sound with far fewer boxes than would be required using products from another manufacturer.”

In the wake of the huge success of the 1991 animated film, Beauty and the Beast, Michael Eisner, Disney’s then-CEO, finally took the plunge to produce it as a musical on Broadway in 1994. Based on Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s fairy tale La Belle et la Bête, the stage musical was the first full-length stage show to be produced by the newly created Disney Theatrical Productions (DTP) company.

Beauty and the Beast is currently playing at the Lyric Theatre, Brisbane and will be moving to Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne in June where performances are scheduled until the end of October 2024.