2015 was just a crazy year with both production and construction. I would never have survived it without the tireless help of the entire team here at DRR&P.
We started the year with a full load of productions; Sea Lion High, the new sea lion and otter show for Sea World; new Junior musical versions of Peter Pan (the 1954 musical), Honk, Dear Edwina and Anything Goes; and a new full length musical (and Jr. version) based on the animated film Madagascar! In here somewhere I also managed to mix the score for a video game; more when that’s public.
From April to November 2015, we made it through a massive expansion of our studio building, adding a big, new orchestra recording space to studio A and an entire new studio suite, Studio D (complete with another lounge, shop, and two more bathrooms), to our facility.
The “Big Room,” as we call it, is 55×25 feet with 22 foot ceilings and has exceeded my fondest hopes in terms of it’s sound and playability.
Studio D has an 80 input Soundcraft 3200 console that we have just finished installing. This recording desk has an unusual history. It was custom built for Hans Zimmer’s Media Ventures studio where it was, among other notable projects, the desk that the score for Disney’s film The Lion King was mixed on. After that it was purchased by Jim McKell, a friend and fantastic engineer who used the console in his private studio until he passed away in 2014. I then bought the console but sold it to my friend Vance Powell who installed and used it for a year in his new Sputnik Sound. Finally, Vance replaced the console and I bought it back for Studio D, making me the third and fifth owner of the board. Phew. Anyway, it’s huge and sounds great.
Studio D has a 15’ x 18’ control room and a large recording booth. With a Protools HDX system and tie lines to the Big Room and other spaces, it effectively doubles the tracking and mix capabilities of Studio A.
During construction we still managed to produce 5 projects for Disneyland Tokyo, a fantastic new show, Magic To Do, for Princess Cruises featuring compositions by Stephen Schwartz, full theatrical accompaniment recordings of Little Shop of Horrors and Godspell, and finish pre-production on what would be our first project in the Big Room; a full length reference recording of Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
Magic To Do was a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with Stephen Schwartz once again. The show is a musical expressed through both choreography and feats of magic and illusion. It was wonderful to work with director Gabriel Barre and music director Mark Hartman. We had a great orchestra and a wonderful cast of singers.
I love doing projects for Tokyo Disneyland! Some favorites from 2015 were the Frozen Fantasy Gathering Parade and the Happy Halloween Harvest Parade.
Disney’s The Little Mermaid needs no introduction, and in 2015 we produced a full reference recording and accompaniment tracks of the musical for theatrical licensing. It’s an honor to cast, direct, produce and record an entire musical of this quality… even if no one ever sees it! We expanded the orchestra to about 30 musicians and with these wonderful players, Alan Menken’s score and Danny Troob’s orchestrations I can not express the joy I had when this first orchestra began playing in the new studio.
Lastly, Miami-based latin pop producer Rodolfo Castillo was back, along with arranger Chris McDonald, to record some tracks for an artist in developement, Nicole. As the young latin artist leans toward the country side of pop, we put together a killer rhythm section of Nick Buda, Tom Bukovac, Danny Rader, Tim Marks and Matt Rollings plus a string section of 10… so much fun.
So, with our newly expanded facilities and a stack of ever more exciting projects, 2016 has proven to be even more challenging and rewarding; but that’s the next post!