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Legally Blonde reed parts

Discussion in 'Pit Orchestra Stories' started by snakeman5001, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. Hey guys. This year my high school's spring musical is going to be Legally Blonde, and I will be in the pit orchestra. However, my band director keeps telling us that the orchestra consists of just piano, synth, bass, guitar, and drums. But I know for a fact that there are woodwind parts because 1) I've heard them on the Broadway cast recording and 2) I've seen the woodwind parts on the Music Theatre International Legally Blonde web page (it's kind of a double-edged sword knowing more than your teacher does).

    I've signed up in the pit orchestra as "woodwinds or synthesizer". Now I know that Legally Blonde is a fairly new musical and maybe not many of you guys have played it, but what are the woodwind parts like for Legally Blonde? I've seen the licensed version on the MTI web page and it looks like there are two reed parts. So I just want to know what the reed parts are in Legally Blonde so hopefully if I do get woodwinds (probably Reed 1), I'll be ready. I mean, Footloose had a reed part, and so does Legally Blonde.

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Welcome to the wonderful world of the reduced instrumentation amateur musical. Music directors are often loathe to deal with a real orchestra, particularly if they are from the world of choir. They are used to playing with piano, and often will go with just a piano/synth, even if the capable horn folks are ready willing and able.

    Bret Pimentel's website at http://www.bretpimentel.com/doubling/shows/index.shtml has a comprehensive listing of all musical theater scores and the instrumentation thereof. If there's a reed part, he will have it listed, although some of us have helped him out with a few entries.

    I try to approach the MD and point out the value added when you have something other that a slinky synth covering all and sundry. (They're really only good for the string parts, and then only for some of them, but the players think that they are God's gift to instrumental music.)

    When we approach a piano only operation, we generally bring them the whole megulla, with someone to cover each part. Sometimes they bite, sometimes they don't. But, if they're a choir director, don't get your hopes up...
  3. Carl H.

    Carl H. Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    No, they are not good for string parts, they are noise makers for producing a synth string sound which sounds nothing like a string section.
  4. The pit orchestra conductor will be my band teacher. She says she's like the peon and at the bottom of the list with the vocal director and the drama director, so she'll always be the last one to hear about something music-related to the musical according to her. Now in my perspective, that's kind of beating yourself. The pit orchestra director is just as important as the vocal and drama director! Anyway, there are woodwinds in the instrumentation. And I always tell myself to never lose faith. And hopefully she'll find out.
  5. Merlin

    Merlin Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    I think the vocal and dramatic directors would do well to remember it's the MD who ACTUALLY runs the show.
  6. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    I've conducted my share of high school musicals, and there are usually "artistic disagreements" between the staff members involved. The singers and dancers learn their parts at one tempo and tend to perform at that one tempo regardless of the conductor or the tempo of the accompanying parts. It becomes a matter of who follows who. My favorite joke is the orchestra conductor who asks the dance instructor, "How would you like the tempo this time---too fast, or too slow?"
  7. Hopefully this post isn't too late to be helpful.

    I played horn in Legally Blonde just last November.

    There are reed parts. We had two players who played Tenor & Alto Sax, Clarinet and Flute (though I know the score also includes Oboe)

    It's a tricky score. Everyone I've talked to puts it up there with West Side Story. But it's also very fun.
  8. From what I saw on Music Theatre International's Legally Blonde page I saw there were 2 reeds as follows:Reed 1: Piccolo, flute, oboe (optional), English horn (optional), clarinet, alto saxReed 2: Flute, clarinet, baritone saxIf I do get woodwinds, it'll probably be reed 1 because usually that's the most important book when it comes to reeds. As an update I've turned in my conflict sheet so now we wait.
  9. What do you mean it's the MD who really runs the show? I understand the artistic director teaching the blocking and the musical director teaching the music to both cast and musicians, but why do you think the MD is the one who actually runs the show?
  10. Merlin

    Merlin Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Strictly speaking, it's the stage manager who runs a show. However, the MD is the person who actually makes things happen while the show is in performance.

    In professional theatre, the other directors jobs terminate as soon as the show is officially opened. Only the MD is there all the time.
  11. Update: the books just came in. Now we wait and hopefully I'm in...
  12. It is official. I'm in the pit orchestra for Legally Blonde and I will be playing Keyboard 2. Really excited to be taking on a new challenge that will further my repertoire as a musician
  13. Carl H.

    Carl H. Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    What parts are covered in this book?
  14. There are 115 patches for Keyboard 2. There are various sounds including "full brass", "pipe organ", various Rhodes registrations, lots of electric piano patches, string patches, tons of synth and pop sounds, and many more
  15. So I was heading into school today, and I see that "Bend and Snap"'and "Gay or European" have both been cut from my Legally Blonde at my school! Well there goes two major plot points in the musical! I don't know why the drama director would cut them, but she did. Now I go to a Catholic high school but I see both these songs fairly appropriate for our generation. "Bend and Snap" tells how Paulette hooks up with Kyle and "Gay or European" gets a major problem in the court case settled: is Nikos gay or European. And I thought the MTI Performance License said you couldn't cut any existing material from the play, especially music.
  16. Merlin

    Merlin Content Expert/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    You go to a Catholic school...why are you surprised?

    MTI probably only acts upon complaints. Are you ready to open that can of worms? I know I would...no, wait. I'd change to a public school.
  17. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Parochial high schools are notorious for "editing" the content of the book musicals that they produce, terms of the rental be damned. As already mentioned, you could cause a reversion by complaining to the organization holding the rights, which likely would cause far more severe repercussions for you in your schooling, or you could leave it lie. The second course is far more logical.

    If you are playing at parochial schools, then you are automatically limited from the "edgier" shows. I play at three Lutheran high schools here in Houston each spring, and the most controversial show that I've seen in fifteen years has been The Pajama Game, where one song and about five plot points were eliminated involving the married union representative and his girl chasing ways.

    So, stay with the parochial school and get ready for "unauthorized" editing on even the hoariest of shows. Or, move on to the public sphere and join the twenty first century...

    (And, I am aware that you might not be the one making the choice to remain at that school. One of the negatives of being a minor. Even if you were able to move on to another situation, it's most likely that you would be starting out as an outsider, and would not get the opportunities offered to a longer-term student.)

    And, this isn't the practice at all parochial schools. Here in largely right-wing Houston, the two Episcopal high schools do shows like The Producers without batting an eye. We also have a few elite private high schools that do the same, and the public schools choose from a far wider pool of material.

    Oddly enough, unlike 40% Catholic Saint Louis (where I grew up), we only have one or two all-girls schools. In the 1960s Saint Louis, they did shows that were "out there" like Cabaret (which involved premarital sex and abortion), many of which I played for as part of a roving group of college musicians who made up for their lack of music programs.
  18. All I can say is that I hope that the director can find some way to make up for the cut songs. If there's nothing to make up for it, I believe there's gonna be some major plot holes in our show.
  19. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Admin and all around good guy. Staff Member Administrator

    This is kinda depressing... I've left shows for lesser offenses. Okay, I thought about leaving shows ... Fortunately my wife is there to reel me in.
  20. Carl H.

    Carl H. Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    I generally don't care what they cut, as long as it doesn't create an impossible instrument change. I'm a hired gun, not a director. Sure some of it is poorly done and tacky, but I'm only responsible for my part. It will sound as good as is possible in the circumstance I am placed in.
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