Yamaha Bring "Horrors" to Broadway

Mar 18, 2004 12:00 PM, Editors


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Little Shop of Horrors is enjoying a hot revival at Broadway's Virginia Theatre, more than 20 years after its off-Broadway debut. At the request of composer Alan Menken, a Yamaha MPC3 Grand MIDIPiano is anchoring the show's orchestra. Musical director Henry Aronson plays the instrument during performances, both as a piano and as a MIDI controller for many of the other reed, string and electric piano sounds.

"The issue was really the piano sound, primarily," Aronson said. "Broadway pits are usually pretty crowded places, and a lot of pits don't use a real piano. But Little Shop is a really piano-centered show. The primary concern was getting a really fine instrument in there, and on top of that, we wanted to have the flexibility to do some MIDI stuff.

"It's a great feeling for me to have a responsive piano there," Aronson continued, who uses a Yamaha Clavinova digital piano at home for composition and practice. "There's a fair amount of pounding rock ’n’ roll stuff, but there are also some ballads in there. This gives me a lot more responsiveness as a player, and I can get more out of it."

According to David Obele, the show's assistant to the music contractor, the orchestra pit had already been covered with a stage extension by the time Menken brought in the Yamaha MIDIPiano, and technicians actually had to dismantle part of the theater wall to get it in place. "I think this instrument, in particular allows us a lot of control to create the sound that has become attached to Little Shop of Horrors," Obele said. "It's a rock score, it's not a typical theater score. People know what it sounds like through the movie, and now that we've got it live, it allows us to re-create that with minimum headaches."

For more information on the gear, visit www.yamaha.com/proaudio. For more information on the show, visit www.littleshopofhorrors.com/index.php. For more touring news, visit mixonline.com/live_sound_tour_profiles/index.htm.

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