Pit Happens!

Over the last few years, I’ve been focusing more on pit orchestra gigs (musical theater productions) for a multitude of reasons:

  • 40 years of playing in the cover band scene has burned me out
  • It’s a great way to keep up on my reading chops
  • I really enjoy being a member of a larger team working toward a common goal, with other people who are devoted to doing the same
  • The range of musical styles encountered from show to show (and even WITHIN a single show) is fun and challenging
  • The temporary nature of a theatrical production – I’m involved with a given show/theater/actors/musicians for a few weeks at most, then move on to the next one before it becomes tiresome

The beginning of 2019 is off to a busy start with 6 shows already completed in February and March alone. So here’s a brief overview of Q1, 2019.

The Croswell Opera House’s all-area high school show kicked off my year with a 2-weekend run of Sweeney Todd: School Edition. With a challenging score by Stephen Sondheim, this show walks a fine line between dark comedy and the deep desperation of the human experience.


Next up was “You Rock, Valentine!” at The Croswell. A stellar group of singers and musicians performed this concert of love-themed rock and pop songs.


Also in mid-February (with rehearsals and performance running the same week as the Valentine show) was a homecoming concert by Leah Crocetto. A trio of drums, bass, and guitar backed up Leah and her pianist/musical director, Todd Schreiber, with a tribute to the women of Broadway – from Barbra Streisand to Sara Bareilles. While this show was a challenge due to schedule, fluid setlists, and DIY charts, it was also one of the most fulfilling shows of the year so far!


In late February, Bedford High School presented Thoroughly Modern Millie. While this is a newer show, the score nails the musical styles of the 1920s.


Early March brought SMCC HS’s production of The Wizard of Oz and its lush orchestrations.


The final show of Q1 was Mary Poppins, presented by Whiteford High School. Although the bass book was a little ambiguous regarding switches between upright and electric, it was a pretty fun show to play.


Well, that’s the quick overview of my musical endeavors so far this year. Some of the content I’m mulling over for future posts include: detailed gear rundowns, tips & tricks, or anything else that pops into my head. Stay tuned!