Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?

ken8631
Broadway Legend
joined:4/13/04
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 08:25am
Was anyone surprised that the orchestra wasn't actually in the theatre (they were in the Capital Records building?)? Does it matter? I would think that the sound would be a lot different for the people actually there.....

Did they not have an orchestra pit?
TheGingerBreadMan
Broadway Star
joined:12/7/12
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 08:30am
I wasn't suprised at all. I think it made plenty of sense. There may not have been enough space in the theater for an orchestra.
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ken8631
Broadway Legend
joined:4/13/04
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 08:43am
It that normal for the Oscars?
Brian07663NJ
Broadway Legend
joined:6/21/06
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 09:11am
ken8631 - YES I had an audible WTF moment when I saw that. Thought it was stupid. I was just in that theatre last month to see the final performance of Iris. Although the it looks gigantic on television the theatre is more of a Gershiwn size inside with extra balconies. Without massive sets there should certainly be a location for an orchestra at the theatre. Had to be some strange reason...union related?
Up next: Apr 01 Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Apr 05 Charo at RamsHead OnStage; Apr 07 Lady Gaga at Roseland Ballroom; Apr 13 Amaluna next to Citi Field; Apr 18 Disney Junior at MSG Theatre; May 06 Aladdin; May 13 Artpop Ball Lady Gaga at MSG
Brian07663NJ
Broadway Legend
joined:6/21/06
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 09:23am
In trying to research why the orchestra wasn't at the theatre I found an interesting fact.

Adele's "Skyfall" is the first time a 007 tune has won in the Best Original Song category!

WOW - I found that really annoying because I own the "The Best of James Bond" cd that has all the movie songs. "Skyfall" has to be one of the worst 007 songs I have heard. If you like Shirley Bassey and 007 I highly recommend the album. She sings 3 songs on the album: "Goldfinger", "Moonraker" and "Diamonds Are Forever".
Up next: Apr 01 Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Apr 05 Charo at RamsHead OnStage; Apr 07 Lady Gaga at Roseland Ballroom; Apr 13 Amaluna next to Citi Field; Apr 18 Disney Junior at MSG Theatre; May 06 Aladdin; May 13 Artpop Ball Lady Gaga at MSG
ken8631
Broadway Legend
joined:4/13/04
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 10:04am
I can't even imagine seeing a Broadway show with the orchestra not in the theatre......

Hopefully they won't follow the Oscar's lead and start outsourcing the orchestra! Orchestra in India, playing for multiple shows? lol
trentsketch
Broadway Legend
joined:6/25/09
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 10:14am
Simply put, they switched the venue to a much smaller movie palace that did not have an orchestra pit. There have been Broadway shows where either the entire orchestra or large parts of the orchestra were placed in a separate room from the auditorium or even in the basement with the audio pumped into the theater. It's not an uncommon practice to feed in the audio from elsewhere. It didn't impact the quality of the telecast.
ken8631
Broadway Legend
joined:4/13/04
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 10:19am
I guess outsourcing the orchestra may be in the cards then! Chinese orchestra maybe? Can have a pretty large orchestra that way.....
Yero my Hero
Broadway Legend
joined:3/27/05
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 10:21am
I know it's not the greatest example, but the orchestra for SPIDER-MAN is actually in two different rooms in a completely part of the theater. They had to do that because the pit is full of traps and other stage machinery.
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SondheimFan5
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/10
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 10:23am
I think Patti LuPone has said the Tonys do the same thing. Though I disagree with having the orchestra off-site (it should be front and center), for sound balance reasons it is probably a wise move to have it in the off-site studio so they can get as high quality as possible.
trentsketch
Broadway Legend
joined:6/25/09
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 10:37am
Yero, that's one of the examples I was thinking of. They had a nice video a while back explaining how it all worked.
followspot
Broadway Star
joined:12/27/11
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 10:50am
Already standard practice on Broadway for sections of the orchestra to be housed in different backstage rooms within the theatre.
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ken8631
Broadway Legend
joined:4/13/04
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 12:30pm
Wow - guess I'm used to actually looking into the orchestra pit during intermission. I'm sure it sounds a bit different if they aren't physically in the same room..... No? If not, may as well outsource them so the same orchestra can play different shows! Saves a lot of $$ I'm sure.... Or just pre-record and play it back for each performance....

I like having them there, seems more "real" to me.... I'm paying good $$ for those seats, I'd like to have the orchestra there with me.
finebydesign
Broadway Legend
joined:7/17/07
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 01:05pm
The Palace does the same thing, I think the strings are upstairs somewheres. At least for Aida.
broadwayguy2
Broadway Legend
joined:5/18/03
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 01:22pm
Seriously, it depends on the instrumentation as to whether it makes a difference to the sound.

In the cast of the Oscars, it makes fine sense in that it frees up the design of the stage and allows for greater points of access to and from the stage for winners, cameras, etc... and, let's be frank, it's a LOT easier for the conductor to stick to schedule and just start playing the Jaws the theme when the clock strikes zero than it would be were that winner staring at him three feet away...

In the other cases, reasons vary.. you don't lose two rows of orchestra seating, you free the sub-stage for mechanics, dressing space, storage, etc... You also, as has been mentioned, have cases where not all of the band or orchestra can physically FIT in the pit and some instruments play from other locations in the theatre. You could make the arguments about sound quality for a wind instrument, yes. but for quite a few instruments, it doesn't "detract" from a live sound at all... Keyboards, Electric Guitars and Basses, V-Drum Kits, etc - many of them make no 'live' sound at all without being fed through the sound system, some other instruments are quiet and drowned out by others in the pit so all you hear is the 'mixed' version regardless.. Still OTHER instruments - particularly percussion - sound far better (if they have to be mixed through a sound board) when played in an isolated room because you don't get any bleed over to or from other instruments.

For the Tonys - at the Beacon particularly - there are so many people and so many things going on and the music requirements so complex that it is just a lot more simple and sure to have the musicians located elsewhere.
trentsketch
Broadway Legend
joined:6/25/09
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 01:33pm
The outsourcing argument is a total joke. Sound does not move fast enough to stay in time with the show from great distances. And a CD cannot replace the ability of the orchestra director to cover for actor mistakes, vamp during a scene change, or allow the actors to actually perform a song with any tempo-based nuance.

Elaborate sets means a need for more room beneath the stage during a show. The whole orchestra can't always fit in the physical pit by the time the set is loaded in. It's been like this a long time.
Phyllis Rogers Stone
Broadway Legend
joined:9/16/07
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 01:38pm
Like followspot mentioned, it's already common practice on Broadway. A Chorus Line famously had its orchestra in other part of the theatre.
TheGingerBreadMan
Broadway Star
joined:12/7/12
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 02:36pm
WICKED's percussionist plays from a seperate room. The show has so many percussion instruments, that it would take up 1/3 of the pit.
Some people can get a thrill, knitting sweaters and sitting still. That's okay for some people, who don't know they're alive!
ken8631
Broadway Legend
joined:4/13/04
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 02:57pm
On the outsourcing issue - could just be in another building somewhere. The actors play to the sound, the sound doesn't play to the actors, so the speed at which the sound arrives makes no difference. It's probably milliseconds anyway.
PitPro2004
Broadway Star
joined:2/15/04
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 07:47pm
There were two music ensembles; one that backed up Adele for the obvious reason and the other playing from one of the studios at Capitol Records.

Apparently they've been doing this since the move to the Kodak center. (or whatever it's called now).

The choice was actually quite brilliant because now you can completely control the balance and sound as necessary. The biggest problems of the night only occurred when they gave Jennifer the belter a microphone, and yet failed to bump up Catherine Zeta Jones vocals (even if the lip sync rumors were true, she was still under volume against the orch).

Thankfully the musicians got air time before the commercial breaks so you could see them. And they were MUCH happier leaving at the end of the night in terms of traffic...
"Sticks and stones, sister. Here, have a Valium!"
AEA AGMA SM
Broadway Legend
joined:8/13/09
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 08:44pm
"On the outsourcing issue - could just be in another building somewhere. The actors play to the sound, the sound doesn't play to the actors, so the speed at which the sound arrives makes no difference. It's probably milliseconds anyway."

A building nearby, yes, but the further away they go the greater that time difference would be. For an example just watch your local news anytime they have somebody reporting live from the field. You'll see that delay in action when the anchors in the studio ask the reporter a question and it takes them a couple of seconds to begin responding.
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GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/27/13 at 10:09pm
There were two music ensembles; one that backed up Adele for the obvious reason and the other playing from one of the studios at Capitol Records.

I couldn't tell, but the two professional conductors in the room with me swore the on-stage orchestra with Adele was faking it.

The actors play to the sound, the sound doesn't play to the actors, so the speed at which the sound arrives makes no difference. It's probably milliseconds anyway.

Just one reason why so many Broadway musicals end up sounding like aerobics classes. There was a day when the ensemble followed the conductor, but the conductor (within reason*) followed the principals, allowing the latter to act while singing.

* A good conductor could "goose" the tempo if the soloist was dragging or rein in a runaway number, but conductor and principal were collaborators. I'm sure this is still the case in some shows, but when actors are responding primarily to what they hear, they are not acting what they feel.
Updated On: 2/27/13 at 10:09 PM
winston89
Broadway Legend
joined:6/18/06
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/28/13 at 08:30am
I did like how they showcased some musicians during the Oscars last year.

and, TheGingerBreadMan, the drummer for Wicked is in the pit. I remember seeing him there when I saw the show a couple of weeks ago. And, speaking as a drummer, while the show's score may be viewed as percussion heavy, so to speak, they are all things that are small and can be added onto a drumkit.

I also think that with regards to Broadway and orchestras, they don't need to be in the pit. It's nice to see them if they are but it is not something that I think is needed.

Another thing to consider is that if producers remove a pit from the orchestra, and move the orchestra elsewhere in the theatre (like the basement etc) then they can have an extra row or two of seats.
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Tag
Broadway Legend
joined:11/19/05
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/28/13 at 09:16am
^While the drummer might be in the Wicked pit, TheGingerBreadMan said the percussionist is in a separate room. Take a look at this video, Wicked is extremely percussion heavy (59 instruments).


See here
Updated On: 2/28/13 at 09:16 AM
Fosse76
Broadway Legend
joined:3/21/05
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/28/13 at 11:56am
Simply put, they switched the venue to a much smaller movie palace that did not have an orchestra pit.

If you are talking about the Oscars, that's not true. It was at the 3300+ seat Dolby Theater (formerly Kodak), which was built FOR the Oscars.

There have been Broadway shows where either the entire orchestra or large parts of the orchestra were placed in a separate room from the auditorium or even in the basement with the audio pumped into the theater. It's not an uncommon practice to feed in the audio from elsewhere. It didn't impact the quality of the telecast.

True, but it may have affected the sound inside the venue itself. As for the telecast, I felt the orchestra overwhelmed the singing.

Updated On: 2/28/13 at 11:56 AM
JoeKv99
Broadway Legend
joined:12/27/04
Orchestra not in theatre for Oscars?
Posted: 2/28/13 at 12:15pm
The nice part is that they can afford a larger orchestra this way. During Orchestral down time, they also recorded backing tracks for a laxative commercial and the intro to a Korean documentary for PBS.The Tony Award orchestra will be able to play the theme for the ABC evening news, then play a bat mitzvah in Trenton, then the Tonys!
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