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body mic story

Discussion in 'Pit Orchestra Stories' started by Jim, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. Jim


    A few years ago I was playing in the pit for Beauty and the Beast. During a scene, one of the supporting actresses was wearing a body mic. When she left the stage, the soundboard person didn't fade her mic. Obviously the tech crew backstage didn't turn off the body mic, either, because the entire audience could still hear her talking backstage.

    We were then treated to about a half minute of her talking to someone about how she should have gotten the role of "Belle" (the lead role) and that she was a much better actress than the girl who got the part. All this while the next scene was continuing on stage.

    While it was fascinating in its own bizarre way, I wanted to crawl into a hole, because it was so embarrassing for the entire company. And where were the sound people? They obviously had no idea what was going on. Absolutely unbelievable.
  2. This wouldn't happen to be in Worcester, MA would it?
  3. Don't get me started....
  4. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    I thought this was going to be like the scene in "Naked Gun" with Leslie Nielsen. Now that was funny.

  5. Heckelphone

    Heckelphone Double Reed CE Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Not exactly music-related, but I saw a similar situation a few years ago. I went to a seminar, and the speaker was using a wireless clip-on mic. At the break, he wandered down the hallway to the men's room, mic broadcasting all the way. When the organizer realized where he was heading, a panicked look came over her. She didn't know how to cut off the sound, and ran down the hallway after him.

    She didn't make it in time... Nobody told the speaker until after the entire seminar was over.
  6. In the 1950s TV stations used portable TV cameras with a neck strap. They were called the "creepy peepie." When you weren't pointing it at something, it hung down in front of you and pointed at the ground. (You can see where this is going.) A cameraman went into the men's room. His creepy peepie was still on.
  7. Jim


  8. Back in the early days (which means before A Chorus Line, which is the start of the 'modern' miking techniques), a friend of mine was in the chorus of a show on Broadway. One of the leads was an older British actress.

    She had a fast change off right, and somehow lost the body pack in her wardrobe. At the same time, the sound guy forgot to pull her mic out. She clearly said 'I don't know where the bloody thing is. It's down there between my legs somewhere.'
  9. Supporting actresses are notorious for this kind of princess talk. I've worked with too many stage productions and I've heard this from pretty much every supporting actress.
  10. Worth remembering this mythical scene


  11. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Which leads me to comment that the arrangement of the Theme From 'The Naked Gun' that we have is one kick ass piece of a swing tune, spoiled only by way too much time spend on solo passes.
  12. We too play it at every gig we get (i.e. not so often...), with one of the Bigbands I'm baritoning in and it's always a gas. And it's a good launching pad for soloes...

  13. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    I always limit it to one solo - too much of tenor or trumpet may be great for the jazz crowd, but I've watched as people lost interest on the second solo pass. It's a great set opener, though - brassy and loud.

    So too, for that matter, is the Linda Eder showpiece Big Time...
  14. Wow, didn't know at all. Great piece, a bit Kurt Weilesque at the beginning of the head. Punchy arrangement indeed. Alas, no singer available to do the job at this time...
  15. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    We do it as a duet, with the girls hamming it up through the verses, then coming together for the choruses. Lots of gestures, posturing and "vogueing" to communicate the meaning. The big finish at the end, with the pyramid of half note triplets built through the entire group, is what I call "armpit music", the sort of stuff where the vocalist throw up their free arms into the air at the climatic moment.

    And, having a girl who can do it is only one part of the problem. The woodwind section in the middle (a pyramid built with the clarinet, alto and tenors) is very difficult, especially on the clarinet.

    I have about a hundred of what I call "performance" numbers, where the storyline is almost as important as the music or the words. Most of it isn't what you would consider dancing music - it's more like entertaining revue material. (Our current group has about thirty of these ready to go at any one time.) I usually program these during the last third of the cocktail set (to introduce vocalist(s) to the crowd), or in the last half of the dinner set, when people are sitting idle but it's too early for serious dancing.

    Big Time is one that I like to use as a set opener, what with the dramatic drum chorus at the opening (during which time the vocalists enter the lighted zone) and the uptempo nature of the whole piece.

    A lot of making this work depends on the vocalists that you are gifted/tasked with. In the beginning with our group, we had a baritone (who doubled trombone) and a couple of altos, but over the past five years I've had a baritone and a countertenor (sic), plus a crop of mezzos, none of whom were instrumental doubles, affording me far greater flexibility. Unfortunately, they come and go (one actually went out to the West Coast to break into entertainment out there - he's pretty good, but I don't think he's that good), so the training process is an ongoing burden.

    I do have two excellent "performers" in my trombone section, but you have to be careful not to draw down the instrumental talent too far to suit the vocals. I do the comic male lead vocals on Love Shack and One Night In Bangkok, but (again) I have to be careful to pick tunes where half of the deep bass of the band won't be missed all that much. All in all, it's a balancing act, another problem to deal with in a whole constellation of them.

    Some are just chores, pure and simple. Today, I did trouble shooting on each and every one of our stand lights. Two gave us trouble last Saturday, and I tested each and every one with a certified "good" light bulb. All twenty of them had to be unpacked, the cord unwound, the light tested, and (if the light did not work) the certified bulb tried instead. Then, it was pack them all up again, also a bit of a chore. It turns out that the "bad" light was just a case of a loose nut on the shaft of the light fixture portion, combined with a burnt out bulb.

    This would be easy to correct, excepting only one thing - I visited Lowe's (the big hardware chain) to pick up some new bulbs and found than they no longer carried them. I hope that the phase out of incandescents hasn't progressed too far, and that they can still be purchased. I didn't see any fluorescents that would make a good substitute, and the LED music stand lights that are currently available don't light things up all that well.

    I do have a small flashlight with a strip of LEDs that can serve as a backup. It is so bright that you cannot look directly into it, takes only two AAA batteries, and will burn for a solid day on one set of them. I had kept one of these by the sound system to do emergency troubleshooting, but I now carry two with fresh batteries, just in case of a stand light failure.

    As Harold Hill once said, "Never a dull moment in the music business"...
  16. saxhound

    saxhound Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    /total thread hijack

    Not sure if you are buying the old style tube lights - the type that come with a Manhasset light. They are getting harder to find. I have been buying all my light bulbs in bulk from http://www.1000bulbs.com. They still have them. I have always thought that those tube bulbs are a bit too fragile with their very long filament.

    Lately I have been buying appliance bulbs (like you would put in your refrigerator or oven). They come in various wattages from 15 to 40 watts, and last a long time. You can even spend a little more and get shatterproof bulbs.
  17. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    For some reason, our automagic antispam software really hates this thread. I tweaked a couple more settings and it should be "better," now. I'll still continue checking the moderation queue at least once a day ....
  18. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    "Thread hijack" is something that I don't think applies here. Free association is an interesting thing, and kept within bounds, does no harm to the website/blog/whatever this thing is.
  19. saxhound

    saxhound Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Agreed. Interesting how it evolved from wireless mic mishaps to light bulbs. I was going to post about my episode with a wireless mic in the men's room, but decided that was TMI.
  20. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    And, I managed to find a source for the bulbs, at $1.97 a piece. There was also an alternative that would fit, a "flame-shaped" bulb with the normal larger screw in base. They were cheaper too, although unfrosted.
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