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Topic: New Musical Theater Production: Overture, Entr'acte, Bows - JaBB, GPO, CoMB, GAS

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
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    New Musical Theater Production: Overture, Entr'acte, Bows - JaBB, GPO, CoMB, GAS

    Hello Again, Friends! …

    In January, after three months of leisurely working on preliminary arrangements and orchestrations for a new, parish musical comedy, we received word that our show needed to be ready for May … not next Fall as originally planned. And THAT was about the last time I visited these pages!

    I’d like to share with you over the next few months some of the musical numbers from our show, which had it's brief, but successful and well received run in May. These original arrangements and orchestrations for the 30-piece virtual pit orchestra (our show used these instrumental backing tracks) are nearly 100% Garritan … JaBB 3, GPO 4, CoMB 2, GAS (Basic), supplemented with only a few drum set samples from Sonar X1’s Session Drummer 3, and on one song, a jazzy, gospel Hammond organ from Dimension Pro 1.5 (I don’t think there’s one in a Garritan library).

    I hope you enjoy this music from our show, and please feel free to comment; I'd love to hear from you … it’s good to be back!

    Frank

    ------------------------------------

    First up is the overture…

    Overture

    This was one of the last four pieces created (as is almost always the case), but is always one of my favorites to produce. If you are an arranger at heart (which I am!), musical comedy overtures offer the writer an endless amount of diversity of musical styles, meters, keys, colors, moods …you name it … and all in the span of a piece only 3-4 minutes long!

    When I sit down to create an overture, I usually start by selecting a song from the score that embodies the show’s overall theme. In this show, a romantic comedy, it was the last part of the Act II finale medley: George and Ira Gershwin’s “Love is Sweeping the Country”. This tune was perfect with its ‘love-y’ lyric message, but more importantly, it has that show-biz feel to it: a blistering, jaunty, 2-beat tune that just drips musical theater. I based the intro, fanfares, transitions, and1st and last parts of the overture on it, as well as the Entr’acte and Bows music (Excerpts available below). IOW, I used this song (or parts of it) as an anthem for the entire production.

    Note the curtain-opening music (which begins after the overture has concluded and the applause have started). These little utilities (curtain openers and closers, playoffs, crossovers, etc.) help keep the show’s momentum flowing. They’re short, but a lot of fun to create! In the case of this one, the curtain opens during the cue, and as soon as the cue ends, the 1st actor begins speaking his lines immediately. A seamless transition to dialogue.

    Component Songs of the Overture (w/ writers) …

    1- Intro/fanfare and 1st Song, “Love is Sweeping the Country”
    (George and Ira Gershwin)

    2- “Tea For Two”
    (Victor Youmans and Irving Ceasar)

    3-
    “I’m Only Thinking of Him”
    (Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion)

    4-
    “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive”
    (Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer)

    5- “Love is Sweeping the Country”; also used for the utility (curtain opener).

    Instrumentation for the 30-piece Virtual Pit Orchestra …

    Reed 1 – Flute, piccolo, Bb clarinet, soprano saxophone
    Reed 2 – Flute, Bb clarinet, alto saxophone
    Reed 3 – Flute, Bb clarinet, Bb bass clarinet, tenor saxophone
    Reed 4 – Bb clarinet, oboe, English horn, tenor saxophone
    Reed 5 – Bb bass clarinet, Eb contra-alto clarinet, baritone saxophone

    Bb Trumpets 1, 2, & 3
    Trombones 1, 2, & 3 (Tb 3 is bass trombone)
    Horn

    Violins A (4)

    Violins B (3)
    Violas (2)
    Celli (2)
    Harp

    Keyboards (Piano, organ)
    Bass (Acoustic upright)
    Guitar

    Percussion 1 – Dum set, Latin percussion
    Percussion 2 – Mallets (xylophone, vibraphone, orchestral bells, tubular bells), Latin percussion
    Percussion 3 – Timpani, misc, Latin percussion

    ‘Bonus’ Tracks …

    Here are short excerpts of the Entr’acte and Bows music. I’ve included them to show how the basic arrangement of “Love Is Sweeping The Country” (as developed for the Overture), was reused with slightly modified orchestration, transpositions, and with some new material. Bear in mind that the three pieces of music are separated from each other by nearly an hour in each instance: the beginning, middle, and very end of the show (except, of course, for the Exit Music).

    ENTR’ACTE

    If you’re not familiar with the term, an entr’acte (“On Tract”, which literally means “between act” in French) in musical theater jargon is a brief Act II overture (in multi-act operas, each subsequent act may have its own entr’acte).

    Sadly, the overture and entr'acte have become passé in a lot of modern musical theater, but as someone with arranging/orchestrating sensibilities, I still love 'em. Our producer/director wanted an overture and of course I didn't argue! (PS: Don't tell any of your orchestrator friends, but the real reason many shows had overtures and entr'actes was simply to quiet the audience and let the late-comers squeeze into their seats before the first actor spoke ... talk about utilities! )


    BOWS MUSIC

    The Bows Music was a little more complex to create. After the show’s big production number finale, and after the applause have sounded for a while, you need a brief utility (about half a minute) to close the curtain, get all 30 adults and 24 children/teens into the wings (and in the order necessary for their bows), and then reopen the curtain when the first group of performers are ready for their bows.


    Besides allowing the company to make their back-stage maneuvers, this utility also needs to entertain the audience and add a little suspense to the moment. Once the curtain reopens, then the actual bows music can play.

    Bows music needs to run long ... we needed 7-8 minutes worth (for these local shows, everyone in the audience knows someone on stage … easy to get applause!
    J)


    I was proud of this cue because I created it just a few hours before opening night (using the timings in my head that I observed during rehearsals) and it worked like a charm … everybody, performers and audience, loved it ... here’s a minute or so of it.

  2. #2

    Re: New Musical Theater Production: Overture, Entr'acte, Bows - JaBB, GPO, CoMB, GAS

    Yo Frank! I was wondering where you went. I see you have been busy creating some fantastic arrangements. Your music just sounds great to me. I hear a highly sophisticated and professional sound here. It is good to have you back and I am looking forward to hearing more of your stuff from the musical comedy. Great post. Jay

  3. #3

    Re: New Musical Theater Production: Overture, Entr'acte, Bows - JaBB, GPO, CoMB, GAS

    Super orchestration! Whimsical and light. Just like the MGM musicals of the day, and that stuff is tough. I'm a huge fan of John Wilson's orchestations of the MGM stuff, and you've done a great job with them here.
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  4. #4

    Re: New Musical Theater Production: Overture, Entr'acte, Bows - JaBB, GPO, CoMB, GAS

    Well all right then! - So THIS is what's been keeping you away. Good heavens - They moved up the show 6 months earlier? Yikes!--That sure was a major change!

    But, they were lucky they had You in charge of the music. Most people would have caved under that kind of drastic demand. So, YAaaah you!

    And man oh man, these are wonderful tracks, Frank. Your love for Broadway informs these beautifully, and your musical expertise guides every measure along with energy and a great sense of fun.

    Love these tracks to death. And thanks for explaining to the non-theatre portion of your audience what an "Entr'acte" is. You're right - That term doesn't get a lot of mileage out of theatre circles.

    Applause to you_excellent stuff_we're so fortunate to have you and your work gracing the Forum's boards.

    Randy

  5. #5
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
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    Re: New Musical Theater Production: Overture, Entr'acte, Bows - JaBB, GPO, CoMB, GAS

    Quote Originally Posted by jaynkate01 View Post
    Yo Frank! I was wondering where you went. I see you have been busy creating some fantastic arrangements. Your music just sounds great to me. I hear a highly sophisticated and professional sound here. It is good to have you back and I am looking forward to hearing more of your stuff from the musical comedy. Great post. Jay
    Yo Yo, Jay ... Thanks for giving this stuff a listen!

    I really appreciate your supportive words; it always means a lot coming from musicans at this sight whose music I admire and enjoy. It's overwhelming right now to try and catch-up on all your's and all the other member's music, but a little at a time, that's my plan!

    Thanks again,

    Frank


  6. #6
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: New Musical Theater Production: Overture, Entr'acte, Bows - JaBB, GPO, CoMB, GAS

    Frank,

    What a great use of the Garritan libraries. It makes me think of all the stage and screen stars of the great musical era of the past and my past.

    It sure have it all down to a tee.

    Just super arrangements and realization of the music.



    Phil

  7. #7
    Senior Member Frank D's Avatar
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    Re: New Musical Theater Production: Overture, Entr'acte, Bows - JaBB, GPO, CoMB, GAS

    Quote Originally Posted by Plowking View Post
    Super orchestration! Whimsical and light. Just like the MGM musicals of the day, and that stuff is tough. I'm a huge fan of John Wilson's orchestations of the MGM stuff, and you've done a great job with them here.
    Hi Graham,

    Thanks for your kind words on this arr-orch ... I'm a fan of your epic film score style, so I really appreciate your feedback.

    I think you are correct in that my orchestration sounds at least half-way between Broadway and Hollywood. Contributing to this is probably the lack of small group string ensembles in GPO, my main string section source. I think if the 12-player 1st violin section were made up of three 4-4-4's (and 10-player 2nd violins=4-3-3), I could use a more pit-like 1st=4 and 2nd=3.

    Speaking of whimsical and light-hearted film scores, here's a couple of links to one of my favorite 50's epic film scores, Victor Young's "Around The World in 80 Days" (UA, 1956). Selections 1 and 2 are really great, but give 3 a quick listen (talk about theme and variations!). Unfortunately, these are not hi-fi, but still worth a listen ...

    3-"Paris Arrival"

    And for some cinematic large string orchestra writing, a nice hi-fi posting from the same film of the

    "Sky Symphony"

    Enjoy!

    Frank

  8. #8

    Re: New Musical Theater Production: Overture, Entr'acte, Bows - JaBB, GPO, CoMB, GAS

    Cheers Frank, enjoyed listing to those pieces from 80 days...I have the playlist on standby now for when I have more time to listen.

    Saw the film when I was a kid but remember little about the soundtrack so it's great hearing it again.
    Website:
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  9. #9

    Re: New Musical Theater Production: Overture, Entr'acte, Bows - JaBB, GPO, CoMB, GAS

    Welcome back Frank!And now for listening to your most recent work...
    Fabio
    Arrigo Beyle / Milanese / Lived, wrote, loved -- Stendhal
    Being Italian is a full-time job -- B. Severgnini

  10. #10

    Re: New Musical Theater Production: Overture, Entr'acte, Bows - JaBB, GPO, CoMB, GAS

    Wow! Great work, Mister Frank! I am very impressed with your musical abilities.

    In my mind's eye, while listening to your music, I could see the house lights dimming and the curtains opening.

    I am sorry that I didn't notice your post until just now. I look forward to more of your arranging and original work.

    My best to you.

    Larry
    Larry G. Alexander
    www.alexandermusic.com

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