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Phantom Lip-Synching?

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TheGingerBreadMan
Broadway Star
joined:12/7/12
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/9/13 at 01:25pm
I found this video on Youtube. John Cudia, who used to play the Phantom, explains how Raoul and Christine run to the basement and put on a headset to sing "All I Ask of You (Reprise)" live. To see it, skip to about 7:50.
Video
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beensince1987
Featured Actor
joined:2/3/11
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/9/13 at 01:49pm
Also here is Seth's "Obsessed" video with a string player from Phantom, also Gay Willis hitting high E in the end of it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9dLou-8w3Uo
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TheGingerBreadMan
Broadway Star
joined:12/7/12
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/9/13 at 02:05pm
^
Love that video. Seth is awesome.
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FireFingers
Stand-by
joined:11/16/10
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/9/13 at 03:02pm
Sadly a lot more of broadway than producers would admit is on "tape" as people are calling it (Modern designs use computer harddrives with it stored on, older shows use CD and some are still on mini-disk). If you see the production in London of Phantom, you can tell which songs have non-live orchestrations, as the conductor dons an enormous pair of headphones to listen to the pre-recorded parts. Budget cuts have meant instruments have been pre-recorded and the musician cut, their is no longer a guitarist in Phantom, for example.

Bits are added in and taken away depending on the performer's skill. Some can manage the cadenza, so it is sung live, with only the last note added, and so on.
Dave19
Broadway Star
joined:12/23/11
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/9/13 at 03:24pm
The whole title song is pre-recorded in every production of the Phantom around the world. From the first to the last line.
They have all the separated vocal tracks, so if (for example)the understudy Christine is performing with the main Phantom that day, they just put in her vocal track, together with the Phantom's track and the clicktrack, as the orchestra plays along.

It has happened that one of the vocal tracks would not play because of technical issues, and then after the first 2 lines of the song, you could see the Christine realizing there is no sound, so she starts singing the song live. It happened in London and she looked scared. The first verses we kind of ok, but she started modulating halfway through the cadenza. It was awful.

There is 29 minutes and 31 seconds of singing pre-recorded in the first act of Phantom.
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SweetLips
Broadway Star
joined:1/23/13
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/9/13 at 05:15pm
Sorry to do a side step but reading about 'tape recording'-I did a 2 year tour with a Minstrel show and to enable us to dance and creat the very distinctive sound required,we taped our vocals with a piano,base and drums and sang along with our tapes each performance to a live pit orchestra.Each song segment always started with 3 rim shots-can't remember if that came from the conductor or the tape.The large tape deck was in the prompt corner and the level of sound dropped considerably when the tape occasionally broke-we had to sing much louder till the tape was fixed as we certainly didn't have personal mics.
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darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/9/13 at 05:53pm
That's also the traditional cruise ship and theme park method- solos are always "live" for the featured soloists with personal mics, but everyone is singing live along with pre-recorded group vocals, and the orchestra plays along with a recorded small combo.
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Wynbish
Broadway Legend
joined:4/27/12
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/9/13 at 06:05pm
^ And the Glee Live! method
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FireFingers
Stand-by
joined:11/16/10
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/9/13 at 06:21pm
I had a friend who worked on a cruise ship where they had a recording of everything, so that if the sax player was ill, or the drummer had hurt his hand, or the lead had sore throat, their whole part could be played from tape.
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GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/9/13 at 06:47pm
They do the same at the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies and don't even bother to deny it.
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CATSNYrevival
Broadway Legend
joined:3/1/04
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/9/13 at 07:03pm
Why would they deny it?
That's right! Underscore mother-fu@#ers!
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jnb9872
Broadway Legend
joined:11/24/08
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/9/13 at 11:12pm
To the OP's question about other shows, MAMMA MIA! has pretty much all the backing vocals tracked, as no one in the ensemble is visibly mic'ed...

Words don't deserve that kind of malarkey. They're innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. But when they get their corners knocked off, they're no good anymore…I don't think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.
Updated On: 2/9/13 at 11:12 PM
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Wynbish
Broadway Legend
joined:4/27/12
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/9/13 at 11:13pm
Doesn't Mamma Mia have backstage singers in booths?
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jnb9872
Broadway Legend
joined:11/24/08
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/9/13 at 11:40pm
The time I saw it, the track skipped during the Act I Finale medley.

I'm hoping that wasn't singers-in-booths, because I wouldn't want to know what happened to them that made them do that...
Words don't deserve that kind of malarkey. They're innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. But when they get their corners knocked off, they're no good anymore…I don't think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.
broadwayguy2
Broadway Legend
joined:5/18/03
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/10/13 at 12:35am
Dear lord...

jnb,
That is entirely false. The entire cast of Mamma Mia is mic'ed and sing live. Mamma Mia IS a stickler for mounting the mics right at the hairline, but on ALL of the ensemble men, you can see the mic cable taped to their backs along the spine when they shirtless and their transmitters are generally in the crotch of the costumes to avoid bulges in odd places when wearing smaller costumes.
The show also has several vocal booths backstage where the cast sings background vocals LIVE any time they are not physically on the stage, in which case, they'd be singing upstage of the taverna walls. You can EASILY search any number of backstage tour videos where this is shown. They DO use a sweetner track to thicken up the vocals during the curtain call megamix and during the act one finale since all hands are onstage.. and in the case of the act one finale (Voulez-Vouz), dancing quite hard.

Now, to other posts...

As far as conductors wearing headphones go, have you ever been in a pit on a podium? A conductor wearing headphones does not automatically mean that vocals or orchestrations are recorded. To be fair, they MIGHT be one aspect, but headphones do NOT mean pre-recorded actors or musicians. The headphones generally signify that a click track.. quite literally just a steady ticking beat of a metronome.. is being used. That is ONLY to maintain a steady, even tempo for the conductor and orchestra... GENERALLY because of an automated scenic or lighting element that is programmed at a specific speed and must be in tempo with the music. There are numerous other reasons that the conductor can wear headphones, but that is just one.


Pre-recorded vocals might be employed for moments that require unusual staging - ie, the water effect in Flashdance or Wedding Singer, but AEA is a stickler for how it is employed and why.
RemlapLBC
Stand-by
joined:12/16/07
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/14/13 at 01:04am
In official articles about Phantom, it has said the conductor and drummer wear headphones with a click track during the overture.
Nothing to add about the title song, except that I know they are recorded and if recorded, why can't Christine sing all 8 shows?
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Movidude742
Stand-by
joined:6/1/11
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/14/13 at 08:39am
Rock of ages uses a sound booth so swings, ensemble and other off stage cast can fill out the sound. At the Brooks Dennis' one line in Don't Stop in the balcony was taped (Oh the Musical it never ends) But not at the Hayes I am told.

Mamma Mia fired a keyboardist for revealing publicly that much of the ensemble was at least doubled by pre-recorded tracks. I tend to believe this source

Any idea if Sierra Boggess sang the entire title song live during the 25th Anniversary Performance? She was facing the audience more than the show staging. I would not be surprised if she did everything, or everything but the final note.
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Visceral_Fella
Broadway Star
joined:1/18/12
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/14/13 at 09:35am
I mistakenly thought that when I saw Wicked that they were lip synching. It was my first musical and several years ago, but I remember seeing the show and being amazed, and then listening to the cast recording and being just as amazed. Somehow I thought it was impossible for people to sound that way live. I'm not completely surprised that people are so impressed with performances that they are almost in disbelief. Especially if it's someone who doesn't frequent theatre.
Dave19
Broadway Star
joined:12/23/11
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/14/13 at 11:59am
"Any idea if Sierra Boggess sang the entire title song live during the 25th Anniversary Performance? She was facing the audience more than the show staging. I would not be surprised if she did everything, or everything but the final note."

She lip-synched the whole song.
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newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/14/13 at 12:14pm
Returning to Follies, in the published score, after the dance in "Who's That Woman?," the top part is marked "Stella (+tape)." I thought Chapin addressed this, but maybe I heard elsewhere, that the tape of Mary McCarty was needed because she was winded and she couldn't belt over 6 other shrieking gals (all singing much higher than her). This was before the elaborate body-miking technology currently in use.

Updated On: 2/14/13 at 12:14 PM
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AEA AGMA SM
Broadway Legend
joined:8/13/09
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/14/13 at 12:18pm
That's what I seem to recall, though it's been a long time since I've read the book. I also seem to remember that there were dancers somewhere offstage also doing the tap routine with a microphone pointed at the floor to help provide a fuller tap sound (though I don't remember if this was in Chapin's book or somewhere else that I read that).
Did you know that every day Mexican gays cross our borders and unplug our brain-dead ladies?
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newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 2/14/13 at 12:36pm
The chorus boys were in a room under the stage making the tap sounds - that's the story I've heard many times.
mwey
Swing
joined:5/1/13
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 5/1/13 at 05:22pm
Hi Broadwayguy,
Since the click track is just a metronome, would the conductor or other musicians know where to start? or they have other special signal in it to indicate the starting point.
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Tag
Broadway Legend
joined:11/19/05
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 5/1/13 at 06:02pm
Mwey the conductor would have control over the click track and be the one starting it (usually).
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EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 5/1/13 at 06:59pm
"My memory is that the revival book cut down a lot of the character details of the supporting players, in the process increasing our focus on the central quartet. But I need to reread the original."

Yes, and no--in some parts, for sure, but the ending in the original was just the four leads. Everyone else has already left--in the revival there's much more added, somewht comic dialogue from secondary characters in that part.
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winston89
Broadway Legend
joined:6/18/06
Phantom Lip-Synching?
Posted: 5/1/13 at 07:16pm
Going back to Phantom.

With regards to the pre recording, it isn't of Sarah Brightman singing. I believe Equity states that if there is a pre recorded track of any kind, it has to be of the performer that is currently on stage. So, to use Phantom again as an example, there is a different pre recorded track of the title song for the lead as well as a different one for the alternate. Another example that comes to mind is Wicked. When we hear Nessarose moaning in act two off stage, it's a pre recording of whoever is on that night. If it's the lead, than it's a pre recording of the lead. If the understudy is on that night, then they have to use a different pre recorded track.
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