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Music Box Tour Orchestra 
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Why are people immediately ticked off when someone has critisism about their favorite show? Oh I mean, the size of the orchestra of that show. Grow a back bone people.

Like it is of any significance.

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Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:25 pm
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Yeah, not attacking the show, in case anyone thought that. Yes, the ugly synth brass bugged me, but I still enjoyed the show itself. I wouldn't have seen it 34 times by now if I didn't. And please don't take my angry smilies so seriously. :wink: However, I do apologize, Phantom On a Budget, if I came across bitchy myself.

I admit I can be a bit overbearing about the whole orchestra thing, but that's cause I know live music will most likely soon be a thing of the past. It's just one of the things that makes a live performance so unique and special to me and it's sad that they're relying more and more on machines to cut costs. I can't stand that cheap, electric sound. It's like having a thorn stuck in my side whenever I hear a nasty synth squawking in the pit below. And after what they did to Les Mis, I can't help but feel the need to continue beating this dead horse. :lol: It's one thing for a school or community production to augment their pit with machines, but I feel ripped off when a hit like Phantom does. #-o

On a lighter note, the Hannibal slave master fell flat on his face. XD Poor thing. It looked like it must have hurt a lot. He looked pretty shaken up and disoriented by it afterwards.

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Thu Apr 17, 2008 1:40 am
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Quique wrote:
Mistress wrote:
Mungojerrie_rt wrote:
A small orchestra can work well. It allows each instrument to stand out and not be just lost in with the others. It can also give the music a more raw sound which can also be very effective.


Look at the Sweeney Todd revival...ten actors who all played their own instruments...it worked very well.



I beg to differ.

And the Phantom engagement I saw was held at a massive theatre with massive orchestra pit. There is no excuse!!!! :twisted:

Lucky that I am not such an admirer of the Phantom orchestrations, or I would have grrred my way through the show.
Yes but you have to take into account the whole tour, not just one venue.


Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:34 am
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I'm aware that venues vary in size and some might be limited as to how many musicians their pits could accommodate. I'm just displeased with the choices they made for the engagement I saw, whether it was the tour's or the venue's decision is irrelevant to me. I'm also aware that orchestra size and quality vary from city to city and length of run.

The 3rd NT of Les Mis used to use synths in place of strings for short stops. I hated that so much, but understood that hiring local musicians for only a week or so was not very feasible. I'm not as unforgiving as I seem. :wink:

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Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:09 am
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No worries, Quique, I apologize as well. That's the problem with communicating via text.

It's unfortunate to see the orchestra get cut down/synthesized. It's been a couple of years since I saw the Broadway production, but I'm sure they're in the same boat as the Tour regarding the reduction of musicians. Hopefully, though, we'll never see a day when the orchestra is completely eliminated. I can't imagine that the performers would ever agree to that, for infinite reasons.

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Thu Apr 17, 2008 1:17 pm
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Quique, I am just as appauled by the orchestra size issue as you are. A synth-brass? WHAT?

Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.

When I saw the show at the Kennedy Center last summer this was the orchestra:

Violins: (9)
Jennifer Choi, Zinoviy Bogachek, Jessica Fan, Julia Grueninger-Cox, Martha Kaufman, Eric Lee, Susan Midkiff, Victoria Noyes, Margaret Thomas

Violas (2)
Evelyn Harpham, Uri Wassertzug

Cello (1)
Robert Newkirk

Bass (1)
Frank Cranovale

Horn (4)
Peter de Boor, Robert Odmark, John Peiffer, Geoff Pilkington

Woodwinds (4)
Steve Bates, Lora Ferguson, David Jones, Stephani Stang-McCusker

Trumpet/Piccolo Trumpet (1)
Fred Irby III

Percussion (1)
Michael Brothers

Keyboards (3)
Cynthia Hoxie, Edwin Milam, David Robinson

Keyboard Sub (1)
Jarrell Crowder


It was wonderful.

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Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:13 pm
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Sweeney Hyde - agreed. They were in top form at the Kennedy Center. Probably the best I've heard them in awhile.

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Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:33 pm
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Sweeney Hyde wrote:
Quique, I am just as appauled by the orchestra size issue as you are. A synth-brass? WHAT?

Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.

When I saw the show at the Kennedy Center last summer this was the orchestra:

Violins: (9)
Jennifer Choi, Zinoviy Bogachek, Jessica Fan, Julia Grueninger-Cox, Martha Kaufman, Eric Lee, Susan Midkiff, Victoria Noyes, Margaret Thomas

Violas (2)
Evelyn Harpham, Uri Wassertzug

Cello (1)
Robert Newkirk

Bass (1)
Frank Cranovale

Horn (4)
Peter de Boor, Robert Odmark, John Peiffer, Geoff Pilkington

Woodwinds (4)
Steve Bates, Lora Ferguson, David Jones, Stephani Stang-McCusker

Trumpet/Piccolo Trumpet (1)
Fred Irby III

Percussion (1)
Michael Brothers

Keyboards (3)
Cynthia Hoxie, Edwin Milam, David Robinson

Keyboard Sub (1)
Jarrell Crowder


It was wonderful.



Wow! :shock: That must have sounded gorgeous! =D>

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Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:05 pm
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.... wait a minute, I just realized ... someone I know's dad was in the orchestra/that was the orchestra I saw. Sorry for reviving a dead post.

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Mon May 17, 2010 10:40 pm
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During the Tour stops in S.F. and L.A. only a core group of the touring orchestra was used. the full orchestra returned when the tour came to Denver.


Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:27 pm
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It wouldn't have anything to do with the mix coming through the soundboard and out the PA system mwould it? Maybe it was a bad mix or something.

Andy.

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Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:41 pm
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Post Re: Music Box Tour Orchestra
Well, just got back from the 2nd to last L.A. performance of the Music Box tour, and most likely of the original production, as well.

I watched that BBC Behind the Mask doc on YouTube last night...and I cried! What can I say? The show holds great nostalgic value since it was only the 2nd show I saw and part of what introduced me to the magic of musical theatre.

But...I left the theatre unmoved just now. In fact, I did some serious dozing off during my favorite song of the whole show, "Point of No Return."

Oh, all the usual effects and lavish scenery were there--chandelier, miles of drapes, gold proscenium, candles, boat, staircase, and everything else that travels stuffed inside 22 18 wheelers.

This was the single worst performance of the show I have ever seen.

Last night I was reading reviews and got pretty angry at some of the harsh comments people were making toward the actors. After today's matinee performance, I take it back.

Already not a masterpiece by any means, this show is utter crap w/ bad performances. OK, let's be totally fair here--lackluster performances. I mean, the whole lot of them boast top notch voices and tons and tons of potential, but they phoned in their performances. Boy, did they phone in their performances.

I saw nearly the same exact cast back in early 2009 and they did a wonderful job. I know they must be worn out and I'm sure touring isn't always fun but maybe they were saving themselves for the final performance tonight? Who knows? All I know is that I got more out of that Christine dummy that lunges forward suddenly.

We had an understudy Phantom: Stephen Tewksbury. He was really good and the only one who even tried. Oh yeah, Nancy Hess' Madame Giry was in good form, too.

Everyone else needs a vacation...and they're getting a permanent one just in time!!

The orchestra sounded weird. There was an obviously fake french horn and some other instruments, which made my floppy ears shrivel up and *die*. The string section was beautiful. Best way to describe overall sound; many parts of it sounded canned especially when the live strings started playing. Occasionally even the strings sounded fake but I know they hired local musicians so must be ma satellite dish ears + cavernous Pantages auditorium = mumble jumble.

Ahhhh.

EDIT: Some more thoughts.

Looking over my Playbill, there are two french horn players and plenty of string players as well, so I guess any 'fakeness' is the result of the new sound system recently incorporated into the tour. There were very noticeable sound 'enhancements' that I've never heard before. Some of it was great, like the way they'd pan the Phantom's voice from one side of the auditorium to the other. While that isn't new, it actually sounds like he's right behind you and walking to the opposite side of the auditorium. It made me want to look behind me, it was so real. Very nice.

At other times, it just made everything sound too processed, thus fake. Not sure, but it sounded to me that they beefed up the cast's vocals for "Masquerade" in an attempt to make it sound like a hundred people instead of just a handful. There was this reverb added that 'thickened' the sound but also made it sound robotic. The few times the strings sounded fake, I detected some sort of sound enhancement, no surprise.

Would like to point out the musicians in the pit were/are the same group that have played for many shows at the Pantages and other L.A. area venues. They're a terrific group and I haven't got the slightest negative thing to say about their playing. Absolute top-notch group of musicians. They're consistent, reliable, and add a distinct uniqueness/individuality to their playing that I love. They've surely got a fan! Sadly, probably the only one considering 99.9% of audiences wouldn't know anything is amiss should some midi machine contraption take the place of a real, living orchestra. Growl.

The Phantom tour has an unusually high stage deck (due to all the candles 'n stuff under it, no doubt) and it's one show you do not want to sit within the first 5 rows or so because then you can't see the famous fog-covered stage floor with its many candles popping out of nowhere. My row G seat couldn't be more perfect and it was a treat to actually see the stage floor again. Last time I was able to see it was when I last saw the show on Broadway in 2007.

But--yes! Another 'but'--it didn't look right. Usually there is a set of candles that rise toward the front of the stage, then another set rises behind it, then yet another right behind that one. The result is a neat, pull-back zoom effect. Today, one set of candles barely peeked out from their trap doors, and that's it. Some even looked crooked. But I guess it could just be the tour being scaled down, although I'm pretty sure I've seen the effect in this tour before. Not a major complaint, btw. Just a minor detail I noticed.

Back when I saw the show in early 2009, I wasn't too pleased with the revised orchestration work for the title song but it wasn't too bad. It was basically the version done for and used in the film. The title song is always thrilling to see live but I wanted to take my shoe off and hurl it into the pit today.

WTF!!!!??? The new new orchestration is the WORST I've EVER heard! I'm serious when I say it sounded like a train wreck...literally! They added this tacky electric guitar which was so loud, it overpowered everything. The film version also featured the electric guitars (and was actually very close to what Steve Harley had sung to in 1986) but they weren't intrusive. What I heard today was awful. Loud guitars wasn't the extent of it either, there were all sorts of ugly sound effects (random thunder, claps, warpy sounds) added. Thankfully, they spared us from further added orchestral ornamentation from hell.

Btw, as mentioned before, this engagement featured a fantastic orchestra (although still smaller than what I'm used to getting from Phantom).


THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA ORCHESTRA

Principal Conductor..............................William Waldrop
Associate Conductor............................David Robison

Concertmaster....................................Joanne Taylor
Violin..................................................Kathleen Robertson, Jennifer Choi, Susan Chatman, Cameron Patrick
Viola...................................................Darrin McCann
Cello...................................................David Mergen
Bass...................................................Trey Henry

Flute / Piccolo......................................Steve Kujala
Flute / Clarinet....................................Dick Mitchell
Clarinet / Eb Clarinet / Bass Clarinet.....John Yoakum

French Horn........................................Nathan Campbell, Edward Ferguson
Trumpet / Piccolo Trumpet...................Wayne Bergeron
Bass Trombone...................................Andrew Martin

Percussion..........................................Michael Brothers

Keyboards / Synthesizers...................Cynthia Hoxie, Edwin Milam, David Robison

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Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:32 pm
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