Love, Janis Loves JBL’s Vertec®

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Mar 26, 2008 1:30 PM


Marking the first commercial use of JBL Professional’s  new powered full-size Vertec® VT4889ADP full-range line array element and VT4880ADP companion subwoofer with JBL DrivePack® technology, San Diego-based Meeting Services Inc. is providing audio, lighting, and projection needs for the national tour of Love, Janis. The musical is based on the life and music of 1960s rock and roll icon Janis Joplin.

Inspired by the best-selling book, Love, Janis by Laura Joplin, the singer’s younger sister, the show’s features general management by Paul Rambacher, set design by Norman Schwab, tour light and projection design by Jeffrey Cady using original 1960s psychedelic lightshow images from San Francisco’s legendary Bill Ham, and sound design by Eric Stahlhammer.

Love, Janis is playing in a wide range of venues nationwide. The current tour leg is scheduled into midsize proscenium-stage theatres, such as the 1,167-seat Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where the show ran February 29-March 2. Sound designer Eric Stahlhammer relied on JBL’s new powered full-size system “on the boards” to give the classic-rock, period-authentic show a full-range, dynamic sound as the production moved through classic Janis Joplin songs like “Piece of My Heart,” “Down On Me,” “Ball and Chain,” “Mercedes Benz,” and “Me and Bobby McGee.”


“The brand-new VT4889ADP system is powerful and full-bodied, with its 15-inch low-frequency woofers. It has all the acoustical hallmarks of the standard VT4889 with the addition of integrated power and digital signal processing,” notes Stahlhammer, a veteran theatrical sound designer. “Having a powered speaker system for this production saves us both setup time and backstage space. Now that Meeting Services has supplied this new audio package for the tour, I can’t imagine using any other system to do this show.”


For front fill applications, Stahlhammer’s sound design for Love, Janis includes JBL’s compact VRX928LA two-way loudspeakers, arrayed on the stage lip to cover forward seating rows in the theatrical playhouses on the national tour. “I can see numerous applications for JBL speakers in touring theatrical-style productions,” observes Stahlhammer. “My design criteria has always been to give audiences the best sound possible in coordination with a given script and stage set. This system package is giving us excellent results from both a sonic and practical point of view, and the show has been getting excellent reviews. The audience is on their feet and singing along, every night.”


Love, Janis will be appearing for multiple nights at theatres in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachussets, Ohio, Texas, and California through June including Philadelphia’s Zellerbach Theatre, Boston’s Majestic Theatre, Los Angeles’ Wilshire Theatre, and Modesto, California’s Gallo Center for the Arts.

“Touring musical theater productions like Love, Janis can be very challenging for production crews, as setup restrictions, limited backstage space, and cross-country travel put time at a premium for stagehands and traveling crews alike,” says David Scheirman, VP of Tour Sound, JBL Professional. “These new powered full-size models provide a comprehensive set of solutions for high-end, powered loudspeaker applications. We’re encouraged to see how this new system is assisting professional users in not only the traditional concert rental and corporate A/V production segments, but also those who serve theatrical and performing-arts environments.”