Open Forum

Curtains Pit Orchestration Choices

  • 1.  Curtains Pit Orchestration Choices

    Posted 15 days ago
    Hi folks,  I'm currently hiring my pit for "Curtains" and I wonder if anyone has any experience with the best way to get the most out of fewer instruments.  I currently have 1 trumpet, 1 trombone, 1 WW (no flute) and a rhythm section with 2 keys.  I'm thinking of adding one more WW player and stopping there.  Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.  Thanks, ​

    ------------------------------
    Linda Urban
    Haverhill MA
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Curtains Pit Orchestration Choices

    Posted 13 days ago
    Hi Linda -

    I directed CURTAINS back in 2011 - by far the funniest musical I have ever staged!
    Had a great time with it but ti was also our first musical in our brand new theater - so the production is a bit blurred in my memory - there was so much to learn about our new space, the show almost took a back seat.
    I don't have much to do with our orchestras (I can't even play the piano - only life regret) but I was able to pull up our program.
    We used mostly hired adult pros for this show and they sounded GREAT!
    Students were used as doubles on some instruments

    ORCHESTRA
    Conductor
    Keyboard
    Drums
    Bass
    Guitar
    Banjo (this dude was the hardest one to secure)
    2 Trumpets (1 was a student)
    2 Trombones (1 was a student)
    3 French Horns (2 were students)
    5 Woodwinds (2 were students)

    A point to remember from a non-musician: Kander and Ebb wrote all of their shows around a piano - so a great keyboard is essential




    ------------------------------
    Jeff Bengford
    Performing Arts Chair & Theatre Arts Educator
    Westmont High School
    Campbell, CA 95008
    www.WestmontDrama.com
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Curtains Pit Orchestration Choices

    Posted 13 days ago
    Hi Jeff,  Thanks for the info.  You had a substantial pit and I bet it sounded great!  It is helpful to see how it was filled out.  I'm moving in the direction of adding WW players primarily.  Thanks again.  Linda

    ------------------------------
    Linda Urban
    Haverhill MA
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Curtains Pit Orchestration Choices

    Posted 13 days ago
    Hello Linda, we are lucky to have a large student pit orchestra.  I have been a part of may other productions, however, where one instrument from each part worked very well. A couple of strong keyboards can fill where necessary, especially if one of the keyboards is a synth. This show, however, really does need the complete percussion kit.

    ------------------------------
    Jill Campbell
    Gifted Support Teacher
    State College Area School District
    State College PA
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Curtains Pit Orchestration Choices

    Posted 13 days ago
    Hi Linda,

    Obviously, the full orchestration is always preferable if available. But if not, here are two options that Musical Directors have shared that worked for their productions:

    The Broadway production of CURTAINS was scored for 16 musicians, broken down as follows:
    Piano/Conductor
    Woodwind 1 - Flute, Piccolo, Alto Saxophone, Clarinet
    Woodwind 2 - Oboe, English Horn, Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet
    Woodwind 3 - Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone
    Woodwind 4 - Flute, Baritone Saxophone, Bassoon, Clarinet
    Horn 1
    Horn 2
    Trumpet 1
    Trumpet 2
    Trombone 1
    Trombone 2
    Percussion
    Drums
    Guitar - Electric, Acoustic, Banjo
    Keyboard
    Bass

    Here are the two options:
    Option 1 (11 musicians): Cut WW 2, WW 4, Horn 2, and Trombone 1 & 2

    Option 2 (8 musicians): Use only Piano/Conductor, Keyboard, Percussion, Drums, Guitar, Bass and Trumpet 1 and Woodwind 1 if available.

    Break a leg!


    ------------------------------
    Jim Hoare
    TRW
    New York, NY
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Curtains Pit Orchestration Choices

    Posted 13 days ago
    When we did the school edition most recently, we used Stage Tracks and enjoyed using it.  The first time we did the show we did have live music, but I'm sure we did not have more instruments than what you are planning.  Someone may know more than me about this, but I think you are doing fine with that group.

    ------------------------------
    Bonnie Wilson
    Scottsdale AZ
    ------------------------------