Paul Mazo is an occasion designer and producer at Stage Front, doing the job on anything from massive company functions to concert events.
I have go through many article content and letters from the community about the Johnny Mercer Theater and I want to deliver a unique point of view to the narrative – that of someone who has designed a dwelling undertaking occasions in there for above 30 a long time.
I have been an advocate for retaining the Johnny Mercer Theater considering that it was introduced a few yrs in the past that a prior town council was planning to destroy it and the MLK Arena at the time the Enmarket Arena was concluded.
As an party skilled who has worked a lot of hundreds of functions inside of the theater, ranging from dance recitals to massive concerts, I carry insight that none of the other viewpoint writers can convey.
I also would like to share facts to bolster the narrative that the Johnny Mercer Theater is a needed part of the arts and amusement scene that Savannah features.
From the desk of Adam Van Brimmer:All in on the new Savannah Civic Heart web page strategy? You might be currently being duped. Take into consideration this.
Initial of all, let us communicate about the audio method. A lot of men and women remark that the theater has a bad sound process. You need to have to realize that the installed seem program was designed as a voice-reinforcement technique for gentle tunes playback and for group functions. It was in no way made for large-degree live performance use. With this in intellect, a lot of roadshows bring in their individual sound techniques that are installed just for their exhibits and leave when they are done. These systems are, naturally, intended to be utilized in all sizes of venues and frequently are just also a great deal for the theater.
The touring audio engineers usually do not understand that the theater was objective-designed as a efficiency theater with symphonic performances in head, which is why you see the “clouds” overhead – their goal is to direct the acoustic seems to the audience so anyone will be ready to listen to the performances.
When the touring engineers in excess of mix (read: make it as well loud) the acts, it essentially makes the problem by generating the all round audio a lot more like mush than rising the intelligibility and clarity of the demonstrate, for this reason the “bad sound” moniker that the place as been recognised to have.
By merely managing the seem coming off of the phase and expending some time working on ranges in the room, the demonstrates can sound great. I have witnessed so numerous reveals of the previous 12 months that have experienced persons coming away remarking on how good it sounded. I know mainly because I have been in the audio booth and been given these feedback additional usually than not in my periods in there.
Much more letters:Charleston’s Gaillard Heart displays us what the Johnny Mercer Theater could be
Subsequent, let’s deal with the generation features that are mounted in the theater. Not only does it have a (simple) sound procedure, but it also has an set up lighting technique that has lately been upgraded with a lot of new LED lights fixtures and a new lighting console so the method can be employed for numerous far more kinds of occasions without having getting to carry in rental devices.
There is also what’s termed a “fly system” which is a intricate method of pipes, ropes and weights that permit scenic elements (like backdrops and curtains and even hanging projection and LED wall video clip screens) to be hung and moved in and out as wanted. This is an integral part of any true theater show and it cannot be duplicated in the arena with out wonderful, probably preposterous expense.
In the past couple of a long time, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been used bringing the outdated fly method up to latest specs which is each practical and safer for people doing work and doing on the phase.
A previous metropolis manager produced the circumstance to a earlier metropolis council that the arena could be upgraded to match the theatre’s abilities. Practically nothing could be even further from the truth.
This is not a dig against the Enmarket Arena, as it is an superb, well-believed-out facility, but it does not have a efficiency seem technique set up. It is a centre-mounted procedure that is a “public address” method utilized primarily for sports gatherings and we system to use it for the Chatham County large college graduations coming up this calendar year (it’s best for that). Any performance seem devices will have to be brought in, with the promoter or the home shelling out the cost for that (anywhere from $5,000 to upwards of $20,000 relying on the system).
There is no functionality lighting process in the new arena so any party will have to deliver in an overhead lights method that, in its most fundamental sort, could be an added $5,000 plus labor for installation.
As for the fly program for any phase items – there is nothing at all of the sort readily available in the arena. After once more, somebody would have to foot the invoice to provide in a little something like that if it even exists. I have been executing arena situations for over 40 several years and have in no way seen a moveable grid/fly process, and the price tag would be by the roof (no pun meant).
If they select to do an intimate, theater-sort clearly show in the new arena, then they will dangle a floor-to-ceiling drape all the way across the arena to make it fifty percent-residence for the smaller sized theater audiences, which can price tag upwards of $7,500 right before the labor to dangle it – who is shelling out for that?
The cause I mention all of these factors is that the arena is just that: an arena, not a theater.
If you take a glimpse at the functions that have been in the Johnny Mercer in the earlier yr, you see everything from Place to R&B to Rock – making use of all the property audio and lighting machines. The theater receives used a lot. Just Google Savannah Civic Middle occasions and you are going to see points from Aaron Lewis, The Fab Four… even Disney Princess in Concert – you get the drift, correct? None of these are arena reveals.
Connected letter:Johnny Mercer Theatre is a essential mid-sized location in Savannah
In Savannah, we have the Cultural Arts Centre at just about 400 seats in the auditorium, The Lucas Theater (operated by SCAD) which has about 1,200 seats, the SCAD Theater, also with about 1,100 seats and we have the Mercer at about 2,500 seats.
The roadshows that use the Mercer have to have that numerous seats to make money – they just can’t just changeover the displays to a fifty percent-dimension theater and expect to wander away with everything in their pockets following the displays (and they are in the small business of generating cash).
If we shed the Johnny Mercer Theater, all of the reveals that we have grown to foresee coming to town just will not – they’ll go to theaters in Charleston or Jacksonville and we will have a enormous void in our leisure menu in our city.
Sure, I have a private stake in holding the theater – I operate in there. I make my dwelling in the function and enjoyment company and I think that losing it would be an dreadful legacy to go away to our kids and grandchildren, not to point out each other. Savannah requires our 2,500-seat theater: The Johnny Mercer Theater.