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Shows with just piano?

sephyr
Featured Actor
joined:11/21/10
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 12:19am
Do these kind of shows work for you? I'm listening to a cast recording with just piano accompaniment and it just feels like empty space. It feels like without orchestrations there's something missing. I know there have been smaller scale shows that just use piano... What do you think? Do you still get the whole experience with just piano?
Featured Actor
joined:12/31/69
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 12:31am
For me it depends greatly on the show. "Big" shows sometimes sound flat when compared to other fully-orchestrated versions. Piano only accomianments tend to work best for shows that were always intended to be played on a small scale, like THE FANTASTICKS or DAMES AT SEA. That being said, I do think that if a score is good enough even a solo piano can make it work well. Sometimes lackluster scores hide behind lush arrangements.
sephyr
Featured Actor
joined:11/21/10
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 12:41am
I definitely agree! I guess just having piano accompaniment really puts your songs' melodies to the test. I saw a production of And The World Goes Round with just piano and it totally worked because the bare bones of the songs were strong.
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blaxx
Broadway Legend
joined:6/28/05
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 01:06am
The last Most Happy Fella revival with two pianos was so endearing.
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AEA AGMA SM
Broadway Legend
joined:8/13/09
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 02:07am
The two pianos arrangement of My Fair Lady is becoming pretty popular. I haven't seen a production of it, so I can't speak as to whether that popularity is because of the quality or because of the cost savings.
Did you know that every day Mexican gays cross our borders and unplug our brain-dead ladies?
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TheGingerBreadMan
Broadway Star
joined:12/7/12
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 08:12am
I saw the national tour of Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking! and they used only piano. I thought that the single piano worked very well, it went along with the rest of the production. It only had 4 actors, cheap costumes, and a very, very minimal set. I enjoyed the show a lot and felt like it would have been too much had they used full orchestra accompaniment. Maybe if the production had been on a larger scale, they could have worked in a full orchestra.
Gothampc
Broadway Legend
joined:5/20/03
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 09:38am
"Sometimes lackluster scores hide behind lush arrangements."

This really says it all.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
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trentsketch
Broadway Legend
joined:6/25/09
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 09:57am
It really depends on the show. Something like Musical of Musicals the Musical could get away with just a piano because the piano played a central part in the conceit of the show, with various actors switching off on the piano from song to song.

But I've been stuck a lot of times with smaller groups where I've had to do piano only versions of shows that really needed more instrumentation. The worst was the one piano The Music Man.

Smaller shows work better, as a rule, because they already feel smaller in scale with so few actors and sets.
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Movidude742
Stand-by
joined:6/1/11
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 10:19am
Isn't Title of Show, just Larry on the 88s?
oasisjeff
Broadway Star
joined:11/15/07
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 11:09am
The Last Session is just one guy on piano, and holds up well.
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trentsketch
Broadway Legend
joined:6/25/09
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 11:36am
Correct, Movidude. It's another small show written with one piano/keyboard as part of the show. The keyboard is in the show.
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musikman
Broadway Star
joined:8/31/06
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 03:21pm
A Day in Hollywood/Night in the Ukraine has only one, maybe two pianos. The way it's scored and arranged makes you feel like it's 10 musicians.

Occasionally a stray ukelele/gong/clarinet/harmonics is played onstage or briefly in the pit, but it's really just the piano.

I really hate all the orchestra downsizing crap and small pits in general, but I just love listening to this cast recording. It's great up on stage, too!
-There's the muddle in the middle. There's the puddle where the poodle did the piddle."
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MKunkel
Understudy
joined:2/14/12
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 04:20pm
You can license any Rogers and Hammerstein show with a two piano reduction. The two piano version of "South Pacific" is glorious. On the same side, the two piano version of "Oklahoma" is not as good.
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darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 05:00pm
The two-piano arrangement of "Carousel Waltz" from "Carousel" is one of the most breathtaking pieces of musical theatre arrangement ever. Much like the orchestral setting of the waltz, this arrangement is making its way into the classical repertoire.
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Demitri2
Broadway Star
joined:3/25/05
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 05:57pm
I've always enjoyed the Off Broadway recording of BEST FOOT FORWARD that starred Christopher Walken and Paula Wayne and introduced Liza Minnelli to the NY stage.
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mschwager
Stand-by
joined:11/21/11
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 05:58pm
Cradle Will Rock also only has piano. I know it can be done with one or two.
jo
Broadway Legend
joined:5/15/03
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 06:28pm
ASPECTS OF LOVE is one of ALWebber's best musical scores. I saw the show in London and on Broadway and enjoyed the production tremendously...Many years later, I saw a local production based on the scaled down staging by Gale Edwards, using a two-piano accompaniment to the production. It became more like the chamber piece that Lloyd-Webber had probably originally intended for his composition.

Either way, it was a great night for music!
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Mr Roxy
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 07:34pm
I once saw a revival of " Most Happy Fella " with 2 pianos and no other orchestra.
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tazber
Broadway Legend
joined:5/10/05
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 07:41pm
Marry Me A Little is a piano only show.

Also Ruthless!

Love 'em both.
....but the world goes 'round
Broadway Legend
joined:12/31/69
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 08:48pm
BEST FOOT FORWARD is a great example of a lively duo-piano recording. One of my all-time favorite cast recordings, and more rich and lively than some fully-orchestrated recordings. It would be interesting to hear the score with the full original orchestrations by Don Walker and Hans Spialek, though.
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GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 08:53pm
The last Most Happy Fella revival with two pianos was so endearing.

Indeed, it was!

I would rather see ANY musical with just one piano than pre-recorded orchestral tracks; the latter allow for no accommodation for the pacing of that night's show and are far more deadening, to me, than a solo piano.

Maybe I've seen too much summer stock, but our local house did a production of SWEENEY where the Beggar Woman never did find the right key, not once in the entire show! Had there been a live piano player, he could have cued her.

Big pet peeve of mine. Thanks for the chance to vent.
Jon
Broadway Legend
joined:2/20/04
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 10:27pm
A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine had two pianos in the pit, plus a third piano onstage, occasionally played by Frank Lazarus, the co-author who played the Chico role.
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henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 10:32pm
Another vote of appreciation for the two piano Most Happy Fella revival; it was beautiful. Surprisingly beautiful given that one would think that sumptuous near operatic score needed a full orchestra, but it worked!
LittleEdieFan
Understudy
joined:12/21/13
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/18/14 at 11:07pm
Falsettos is being staged in Sydney next month with just piano accompaniment.
bobs3
Broadway Legend
joined:4/8/12
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/19/14 at 03:10am
Someone already mentioned it but THE CRADLE WILL ROCK is usually done with just an onstage single upright piano.

I didn't see 70 GIRLS 70 but I am going to guess it had a full orchestra even though the character Lorraine plays the piano onstage throughout the show.
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Movidude742
Stand-by
joined:6/1/11
Shows with just piano?
Posted: 1/19/14 at 04:45am
well the most recent version included Lauren Molina on Cello as well

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