Wicked – Orchestra Pit Photos

In October 2006 I saw WICKED at the Paramount Theater in Seattle. Of course it was an incredible show, amazing singing and a totally engaging score.

The core musicians in the pit that tour with the show are the conductor, drums, guitars and keyboards. The other musicians (like brass and woodwinds) are contracted locally at each venue.

Here are some pictures of the orchestra pit of the WICKED touring crew. GREAT SHOW GUYS!!!!

Wicked Orchestra Pit Pictures

Bass Player
The bass player, (seen here drinking coffee), plays 3 instruments; a stand up bass, a fretless electric bass, and a fretted electric bass.
Bass player Mark

wicked-bass.JPG

Guitar Player
This musician plays 6 instruments; a banjo, a mandolin, two acoustic guitars, and two different electric guitars to achieve different effects.
wicked-guitar.JPG

Percussionist
Chuck is the percussionist and he plays many, many different instruments. Besides the obvious timpani, bells, vibraphone, bass drum, tubular bells, and cymbals, he plays a number of very unusual instruments to achieve special effects including a peanut wind chime and a water pipe.
percussionist Chuck

wicked-percussion.JPG

more percussion equipment
Another view of the percussion area.
Percussion equipment

wicked-percussion2.JPG

More percussion
This view is more or less the way Chuck sees his area.
percussion equipment 2

wicked-percussion3.JPG

Keyboards
There are 4 keyboard synthesizers in the pit. One of them takes the place of the entire string section, and the other three take the place of other live musicians. Unfortunately, this isn’t good for live wind players, but it makes it cheaper for the producers of the show to stage a large production like this. The synthesizers blend in with the live musicians and make it sound like there is full orchestra in the pit. Here are two of the keyboards.
keyboard player

wicked-keyboards.JPG

Drummer Booth
The drummer has his own booth in the pit. This is for a couple of reasons, but mostly it’s so that the sound man can create a good balance between the drummers sound and the acoustic musicians, and also so that his sound doesn’t bleed into the other musicians microphones.
inside drummer booth

wicked-drums.JPG

Drummer booth
Inside the drummer booth. You can see that the drummer also has several percussion effects to play.
wicked-drums2.JPG

Brass Section
The brass section is made up of 1 trumpet, 1 french horn, and 1 trombone. If you look closely, you can see that they all use a variety of mutes to achieve different effects for different songs. The trumpet player plays a flueglehorn and a trumpet, and the trombone player plays a tenor trombone and a bass trombone.
brass players

wicked-brass.JPG

Woodwind section
The woodwind section is made up of 1 clarinet, 1 flute, (me!) and 1 oboe. The clarinet player plays clarinet, Eb clarinet, bass clarinet, and soprano saxophone. I play flute, alto flute, piccolo, recorder, and pennywhistle. The oboe player plays oboe and english horn.

You may be interested to know that each musician gets paid more $$ for every instrument they play!
woodwind players

wicked-woodwind.JPG

The Conductor
This is Bob the conductor. He, the drummer, two keyboard players, and the guitar player travel with the show; the rest of the musicians are local.

The conductor is really the one who runs the whole show. He is responsible for coordinating the singers with the musicians, and making sure that everything runs smoothly.

wicked-conductor1.JPG

9 comments

  • These pics aren’t from Seattle, at least not the brass/woodwind section, and it doesn’t look like the Paramount’s pit…

  • Correct – These photos are not from Seattle. The performance I saw was in Seattle at the paramount, but the photos are from the web.

  • Hello there 🙂

    My name is James, and I’m 16! just started college.

    I have a real love for theatre, one of the things i’d love to do when i’m older is play keyboards in the pit. Piano is my instrument, but one of my main problems is I’m terrible at reading music – I play very well by ear, and i’ve got my own little backing track company through all the things i’ve done by ear, my latest achievement was producing the full show backing tracks of ‘the wizard of oz’ (london cast recording) for a professional company, and i’ve produced many backing tracks for different companies and individuals, I use a mac with logic pro to do all the sequencing and many different instrument plug-ins that sound real! (samples etc) and I love doing justice to this musical theatre music.

    I really want to get into the pit crowd when i’m Older, but I can’t read music well – where as I can play the music just as good, i just can’t read the notes. so if anyone has any tips on how to get better at reading music, or how you even get into the pit crowd once you’ve mastered the reading music stuff! Is it just a matter of who you know or what? I’d really love to know, its just something I HAVE to do when I’m older.

    If someone could point me in the right direction etc, please talk to me *email edited*

    Thanks a lot for everyones time.

    Cheers,
    James

  • Hi James,
    For reading music I’d highly suggest private lessons.

    For sightreading, the best advice I ever got was back in college. I was told “To get better at sightreading music, just sightread more music!” And I believe that’s true.

    I also believe when you learn to read music you will become more sophisticated in your ear training, and be able to play more complex music by ear.

    Don’t be fooled in thinking that producing audio and scoring for notation are similar. They are very different animals. In musical theater you will be working in performance with notation, and the game is to make the notation sound free and take it off the page.

    For pit experience you can volunteer for local theater productions in your area once you can read a bit of music. The pit almost always needs a keyboardist, or two or three! I would often include a student in my community theater pits. Sometimes I would give them a simple glockenspiel part as an introduction to the pit.

  • Where is the string section?? Dont forget them!!!

  • this would be awesome to do! i would love to do this! i’m a junior in high school and a pretty decent woodwind player. i can play Bb clarinet, tenor sax, Bb bass clarinet, and baritone sax. i hope to play alto and soprano sax and flute! and one of my passions is to play professionally in new york. after looking at this, i really want to do something like this!

  • Very cool photos! I had the chance to sit in the Wicked pit on Broadway last year. Awesome experience!

  • What kind of video monitors are being used in this show? The ones in almost all the pictures…
    What brand is it?

  • Hello, Dave here from Maryland…where can I purchase a drum booth like the one used in WICKED?

    Many thanks and God Bless,
    Dave

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.