KV2 Audio » News » KV2 Audio brings enchanted soundscapes to Disney’s Beauty & the Beast, the musical

KV2 Audio brings enchanted soundscapes to Disney’s Beauty & the Beast, the musical


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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. It has since grossed more than $1.7 billion worldwide and played in fifteen countries and 115 cities and remains one of Broadway’s biggest successes.

A new Australian production – based on the 2021 UK revival - is currently mid-way through a tour across Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne that has achieved excellent reviews. Bigger, more lavish and more exuberant than ever, Disney has pulled out all the stops for this latest production which boasts stupefying costume and set design, amazing effects, and of course stunning sound to match from KV2 Audio designed by renowned sound designer and long-time Disney collaborator, John Shivers.

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 – all very well versed in KV2 systems – 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,” declares Shivers. “There is simply no better product line to meet my requirements.” Indeed, Shivers has designed KV2 Audio systems for a large number of hit Broadway musicals including The Lion King, Kinky Boots, Pretty Woman, Shucked and many more.

Kevin Kennedy describes the system in use for Beauty and the Beast: “Where space permits, we use the ESR215s as main Left and Right loudspeakers. For Beauty, we use two sets as upper and lower systems for most of the venues, with EX12s flown near the lower ESR215s as infill for the first few rows. If space is limited, we replace 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 our centre cluster, with one SL412 focused on the circle/balcony while the other acts as a downfill for the stalls. We also have 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 high-performance floor-standing VHD2.18J subs providing low end for the main seating area. We deployed 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 – were used as front fills, under-balcony delays and surrounds, and finally, we made a late add of three EX10s to beef up the surrounds.

Kennedy agrees with Shivers that KV2 has an extensive offering for live performance applications, especially in theatres where architectural constraints and sightlines can pose considerable challenges for sound designers. “It’s true that KV2 has a solution to just about every scenario in live theatre,” he admits. “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. The ESR215/SL412 LCR proscenium solution is a great example of that and has become something of a classic in John Shivers designs – it’s powerful, precise, delivers sublimely transparent audio quality, and the boxes themselves are very low profile so perfect for musical theatre. There’s also a great mix of passive and active products, so it’s very easy to build systems precisely tailored to the needs of the venue and the production.

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.

KV2 System Setup:

  • 4x ESR215MkII
  • 2x SL412
  • 2x EX15
  • 4x EX26
  • 42x ESD5
  • 20x EX6
  • 8x ESD25
  • 2x EX1.8
  • 2x VHD2.18J
  • 3x ESR3000
  • 2x VHD3200
  • 2x SL3000
  • 21x ESP2000


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