Back to the pit with me! "Little Shop of Horrors" October/November

alparrott

Platinum Member
I used to be pretty busy in local theater as a pit musician. Lately it's been bands and other musical projects, but I just got offered the chair for our local theatre company's production of "Little Shop" for 11 shows in October and November. It will be good to get back into the swing of things - finally, that Yamaha Multi 12 will pay for itself!
 

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AndeeT

Senior Member
Congrats! Keep us updated and please feel free to post any info on what you do for learning the material/rehearsal/gig tips.

I have always wondered what its like to play in the pit of a show.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Congrats! Keep us updated and please feel free to post any info on what you do for learning the material/rehearsal/gig tips.

I have always wondered what its like to play in the pit of a show.
A LOT depends on the show, and also who you’re playing with. Some shows, like Oklahoma, are really straightforward and easy. Others, like Cabaret, look easy on the page, but are scary and difficult unless you’re playing with seasoned professionals.

Revivals of shows usually have WAY harder percussion parts than the originals. Some shows are fun and interesting, and some will bore you to tears.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
I’m the MD for ‘Hairspray’ next month. Fun music, a range of 60’s styles, fairly straightforward except for the occasional half bar, sudden stop or 5 bar phrase.

You certainly need to read and never lose your place on the page!

The frustrating bit is when the choreographer wants an extra 8 beats for the dancers to get in position or whatever. Modifying 12 sets of music can get tedious.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Congrats! Keep us updated and please feel free to post any info on what you do for learning the material/rehearsal/gig tips. ...
I have always wondered what its like to play in the pit of a show.
This will be my fifth professional theater gig. In this thread and this thread I recounted my last two musical theater experiences, including how I prepare for the job. This time, I'll be incorporating electronics to cover a lot of the percussion, and so I imagine it'll be a bit more preparation on that end. Listening to the soundtrack so far, I'm not unduly worried about the complexity of the show - and it turns out that both of my bandmates in my covers band have played the show. Plus which, I have worked with the MD and the bass player in previous shows. So I feel pretty upbeat about this one.

A LOT depends on the show, and also who you’re playing with. Some shows, like Oklahoma, are really straightforward and easy. Others, like Cabaret, look easy on the page, but are scary and difficult unless you’re playing with seasoned professionals.
Revivals of shows usually have WAY harder percussion parts than the originals. Some shows are fun and interesting, and some will bore you to tears.
And I've played both kinds of shows. Perhaps the most nerve-wracking, though, was working on a first-run musical with the composer also directing music. He fired a clarinet player at first rehearsal. I must have done all right, though - we remained friends until his passing and he always asked for copies of any new music I was doing.

I’m the MD for ‘Hairspray’ next month. Fun music, a range of 60’s styles, fairly straightforward except for the occasional half bar, sudden stop or 5 bar phrase. ...You certainly need to read and never lose your place on the page! ...The frustrating bit is when the choreographer wants an extra 8 beats for the dancers to get in position or whatever. Modifying 12 sets of music can get tedious.
I would not care to be an MD. I have seen their pain and I want none of it! But I completely agree with you that reading is fundamental on these gigs. You simply can't learn it by ear and memorize it on the typically short theater timelines. As for music mods, I just whip out my pencil and roll with it, trusting that the big guns know what they're doing. Having said that, if I notice something going screwy, I will bring it up; but if the MD says, no we do it my way... well, I do it their way. The checks cash easier that way.

I'd be having nightmares about being eaten by a plant.
Meh. It's a comedy. I would be more likely to have nightmares about getting to the venue and not being able to find my sticks or something.
 
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