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Mendy Smith

In an orchestra pit far, far away...

June 19, 2011 at 7:40 AM

Tonight concluded this years Night Court musical comedy production.  It was a long grueling week but well worth the effort.  

I learned a new skill - playing the melody on kazoo while simultaneously playing the viola part (on viola of course).   Surprisingly, it made playing the viola part much easier.  Something to think about further....  

Live theater is always a unique and fun experience.  You never know what will happen and have to improvise on the fly when things don't go as planned such as missed queues, wrong lines, and having to props flying into the pit  (no cellists were harmed in the making of that scene).

We had a funny moment at the opening of Act 2.  We were to play "Cry Me a River" as the curtain rose, but it never did.  We ended up playing the intro 3 times before going into "doodling mode" while our conductor was on the phone with the stage manager to find out what was going on.  Needless to say, there was confusion on the sound ques.  They went back to some intermission music and we did the reprise of the piece. It ended up being the "show joke" for the rest of the week.  

I'm looking forward to next year "Laws Vegas".  This time though, we will be up on stage and not in the pit.  Should prove to be interesting to say the least.

From Jim Hastings
Posted on June 20, 2011 at 2:54 PM

This brings back fond memories of my high school years, when I played lead violin for several of our spring musical shows -- although I didn't gain any kazoo-playing experience or witness the curtain and prop challenges your group ran into.

Although we instrumentalists were never on stage, we weren't in a pit, either -- just floor level, with the singer-actors on stage above us.  I know this kind of work helped to make me partial to singers.  The two productions that I thought were really tops were the vintage Broadway shows Where's Charley? and Bells Are Ringing -- great scores all around and some memorable violin parts.

From Ray Randall
Posted on June 21, 2011 at 12:09 AM

While playing in the pit for the musical "Plain and Fancy," there is a song in there called "City Mouse Country mouse." Yup, we did. We got two mice from a shop and flipped them on stage during the dress rehearsal. Pan de monium. LMAO.

From Elaine Yong
Posted on June 21, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Playing in "Guys and Dolls" a few years back, the producers had both Miss Adelaide and Sarah Brown throw their bouquets into the audience at the end of the show, because the orchestra isn't in a 'pit' per-say, rather, just below the stage, one of the bouquets landed in the lap of one of the cellists during a sound check/final rehearsal. We all found it very amusing at the time!
The thrills of the mix ups in the pit..! :) 

From Marsha Weaver
Posted on June 21, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Words cannot express how much I wish I had a video of all this!!!  :D

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