• Drum Set and Percussion Setups from Musical Theater and More

New York Spectacular at Radio City - Joshua Mark Samuels

Joshua's Mark Samuels' drum set setup for the New York Spectacular at Radio City.


"Because there were some tracks used in the show the writers wanted to have a very 'live' orchestra sound. Everything I am playing is acoustic (no electronics). For the drums I used a Yamaha Stage Custom Birch Kit. I like birch for pit playing as the wood is a bit softer and makes the attack a little less punchy. The cymbals are all Sabian (I am a proud endorser). I use mostly the Artisan Series with an HHX Stage Ride and a Paragon Splash. I also have a 17" Holy China.

There were a lot of other percussion instruments - both me and the percussionist had concert bass drums, as well as bongos and a bucket 'drum'. I also used some LP Jam Blocks, cowbells, temple blocks, wind chimes, shakers, concert tambourine, and a siren whistle for some sound effects. Also, if you notice money on the ground in some shots, those bills are not tips, rather they are from a song 'Money' where fake money is blown all over the stage, inevitably landing all over us musicians.

This show was incredible not just because the orchestra and music was fantastic, but also because during one number in the middle of the show, the percussionist and I got off the band car, changed into costumes and headed up to the stage where we ran down the aisle and performed bucket solos. We also danced in the audience and on the stairs of the stage as the cast sang a version of 'Empire State of Mind'. It was so exciting to actually be a part of the show.

All together it was an incredibly rewarding experience. Not just because I was playing in one of the biggest music halls in the world, and not just because I was featured onstage, but because this was the first production at Radio City where I held the drum chair. In past shows (Christmas and Heart and Lights at Radio City) I have had the percussion chair, not the drum chair. I often subbed for the drum chair in past productions but this was the first time I was able to make the show my own. It was wonderful working with David Holcenberg (Musical Director), Mia Michaels (Director), Billy Stein and AnnMarie Milazzo (Music Writers/Producers/Arrangers) in creating a drum part that added so much to the production. I hope to get to work with these incredibly talented people again soon!

Thanks to Mike Jenkins (Sound department) for the photos."

Summer of 2016