• Drum Set and Percussion Setups from Musical Theater and More

Charlie Descarfino - Far From Heaven

Charlie’s setup from the Off Broadway production of Far From Heaven at Playwrights Horizons in New York City.

“Something that seems to be a recurring theme in playing musical theater currently is the one player, drum/percussion book. I have encountered this playing on Broadway at the 2006 revival of Les Miserables, the recent Broadway production of The Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, and now once again at this Playwrights Horizons production of the new musical Far From Heaven.

Needless to say, performing this type of chair requires careful planning, taking into account logistics necessary to access all the surfaces and stick changes required to achieve the orchestrator's desired effect. My method of arriving at the setup I use takes into account the proximity in time and physical space from one instrument change to another, the space allotted to the percussion setup in the pit, as well as certain elements I think of as standard setup variations (ie glock over timpani or stacked over the xylophone, easy access to the pedals of the timps from the drum set, etc...) depending on the needs of the particular orchestration. 

Often an array of stick changes and holding various combinations of beaters also comes into play. This is a good example of how the Miller Machine comes in handy, saving one what may be an extra mallet change that may be the thing that will allow you to reach your next instrument change with the right mallets in your hands.”