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Member Name: trentsketch
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Birthday: 9 - 27
Gender: Male
Location: NJ
Occupation: Music Director/Writer
Profile: I work as a music director for educational and non-profit theater and as a freelance writer. My main webhub is my entertainment media blog Cue the Media.

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Most Recent Message Board Posts:
  • Jr. and G2K Versions!  May 26 2017, 12:52:48 PM

    I forgot about the Tams Witmark shows. Wizard of Oz is very good. They keep Jitterbug, ditch the poppies sequence, and give Auntie Em a sweet little duet with Dorothy when Dorothy is trapped in the Witch's castle. That adaptation works.

    And I agree that Seussical is the only one I know to improve on the material. It's more focused and sticks to the stories that children would actually engage with and enjoy.

  • Jr. and G2K Versions!  May 26 2017, 08:50:03 AM

    I've music directed quite a few of the MTI Jr shows. Aladdin, Little Mermaid, Honk, Seussical, and Shrek are all solid adaptations. Beauty and the Beast is too long and does nothing to simplify Beast or Belle's harder solo songs for younger voices. Same with Music Man and Into the Woods--the material is still very challenging for the age group's intended. Mulan's only advantage is a huge cast. Lion King is basically a staged concert in the Kids or Jr version.

    I haven

  • Why is Glass Menagerie Closing Early?  May 17 2017, 08:56:02 AM

    I enjoyed the production, but it was not well-attended. I paid for an orchestra seat (because I just don't like the mezzanine in that theater) and most of the people around me had discounted tickets from TKTS or TodayTix and the like. Quite a few only went to the show to see Sally Field (but only at a discount). It just did not pull in enough money to last until the original closing date. 

  • Non-Profit Community Theatre Questions  May 15 2017, 12:06:53 PM

    As someone who gets paid by various theaters as a musician and/or a technician, I think what you're doing sounds about right. I get handed 1099 forms to fill out if I'm making more than $600 in a year. Otherwise, it's a cash under the table deal for a couple nights' work. 

    At most, if the worker isn't on a year-round staff, they're a contract employee. If you have permanent members who work on every show, you could technically consider them employees. Frank

  • Did The Light In The Piazza Have A Chance At Winning Best Musical?  May 7 2017, 12:58:54 PM

    It's an interesting question to ask, for sure.

    Spamalot had the most commercial success and buzz about it. Light in the Piazza had probably the most talked about performance of the season (Victoria Clark). Spelling Bee and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels had their fans, as well.

    Spamalot was predicted to nearly sweep the awards and then didn't. All the nominated Best Musicals took him big prizes, and Light in the Piazza took all of the design (lighting, costume, scenic) and musi

  • 2017 Drama Desk Nominations & Awards  Apr 27 2017, 11:37:26 AM

    I knew one of these awards bodies had to go all in for The Hairy Ape. A tremendous production. The only surprise for me was The Hairy Ape not making the cut for Original Music in a Play. The music added so much to the production and really set up the dance and fight choreography beautifully.


  • Good shows for high schoolers to perform?  Apr 20 2017, 08:20:28 AM

    Once Upon a Mattress is a good choice. Big cast with lots of room for production numbers. You can get away with a unit set and some moving pieces and still tell the story well.

    All Shook Up is another one. 10 great parts and room for as much ensemble as you want. Sets can be very simple since Act II is supposed to take place in an abandoned amusement park. The Elvis Presley music is the draw.

    Legally Blonde is a lot of fun and HS kids tend to love it. The show does call for two

  • Keys For Maria In The Sound Music  Apr 2 2017, 09:20:24 AM

    Most of the score isn't too low even in the Mary Martin keys.

    RNH offers a lot of extra orchestrations/arrangements in different keys or for alternate songs for an additional fee. This includes raising the key of "The Sound of Music" to the Julie Andrews key. Other options include Edelweiss in Ab, adding "I Have Confidence" with a full orchestra instead of the "My Favorite Things" reprise, and replacing "An Ordinary Couple" with "Somethi

  • Musicals staged as concerts  Mar 1 2017, 09:10:16 AM

    Fela! The show is one of Fela Kuti's concerts telling the story of his life.

  • Andrew Lloyd Webber to Waive SCHOOL OF ROCK Fees for Schools Producing the Musical  Dec 13 2016, 10:54:17 AM

    As another theater educator, I have to back up dramamama here. It's wonderful that ALW is going to waive performance fees for a contemporary show. It's wonderful that schools are even allowed to license the show while it's playing on Broadway.

    Do not confuse availability with feasibility. There are vocally taxing parts in School of Rock that already make it difficult to cast K-12 students in those roles. Add on the requirement that the instruments must be played by the

  • Parade Ending Question (Possible Spoilers)  Oct 4 2016, 11:03:05 AM

    The libretto is very open in the lynching scene. It mentions the noose, the bag, and the wedding band and that's about it. I was in a production that used historical images projected on the set that had the hangmen recreate one of the infamous postcards of local people posing in front of Leo Frank's hanging body when the noose went around his neck. I've seen the KKK robes and confederate flags done, as well. The scene needs a big statement leading into the final number t

  • Is Once a Musical?  Oct 4 2016, 06:54:41 AM

    I've heard the argument both ways. I personally consider it a musical, albeit an unconventional one.

    Even when the film came out, there were critics who struggled to reconcile it with their notions of a musical. I always described it as a musical where the characters sings songs they don't even realize are a reflection of what they are going through in the moment. The characters are performing or writing songs in their story. Their goal is to perform/write good songs. That they

  • Keyboard Patch Program?  Sep 30 2016, 08:19:22 AM

    And I'll apologize right now. I didn't realize how many extra little sounds there were for Spelling Bee in the keyboard part. Yes, try to convince your company to pay for the Keyboard Patch Solutions. It's a really good bargain for what you get. You should not be doing that much programming for free. You could get by without it, but if the book is straight up called a Synthesizer part, you're going to want all the help you can get. 

  • Keyboard Patch Program?  Sep 29 2016, 09:02:09 AM

    trpguyy has it right. Forte is the way to go for Windows. It's more work than renting the MTI package, but you have a lot more customization.

    I will say I've had very good results renting the Keyboard Patch Solutions from MTI in the past. They do a nice job on shows that have very weird sound descriptions in the books. I'm talking things like Seussical or Aida where there's no rhyme and reason beyond the original MD's own MIDI setup. You can pretty easily program yo

  • Performers on Singing Competions  Sep 8 2016, 06:14:09 PM

    All of these shows edit the story lines and coach you on what you can and cannot discuss. As someone who made it far on Idol oh so many years ago, I was specifically told not to mention any of my work in theater or classical music because I was slid into a more rock/pop track by the producers than the standards track I thought they'd want me to go. My first callback was a good 25 minutes of "what else you got? Know any R&B? Rock? Jazz? Classics? Punk? Pop? This artist? That

  • re: What's the deal with 'Amour'?  Sep 2 2016, 09:11:33 AM

    I also saw the original production and fell in love. I'm so happy the rights are available now. Time to start convincing all the local theater people I know that Amour is a great choice for their next season. I dream of MDing that show. The score is just magnificent.

  • What Broadway  Jul 31 2016, 04:57:29 PM

    I'd love to see Amour come back.

    More realistically, Caroline, or Change.

  • Will any of the original Principals be in Hamilton after July 9th?  Jun 13 2016, 05:19:03 PM

    A few film sites have posted that Phillipa Soo is going to have a part in Moana. I know a voice acting job isn't going to last forever, but she must have some reason for leaving Hamilton. Who knows what else she has lined up or in the works?

  • Theatre pet peeves - from the stage!  Jun 5 2016, 04:27:10 PM

    If I'm allowed to, I do keep a bottle of water with me at a show. It is for medical reasons. I drink if I have to and hold the bottle between my feet so I know where it is at all times. When I used to act, I'd have to have water set in both wings and backstage to counteract the dehydration effect of all my prescription medications.

    If I'm not allowed to keep water with me at a show, I load up at the water fountain before the show, at intermission, and after the show. Not id

  • FROZEN to Officially Hit Broadway  May 28 2016, 11:12:41 AM

    It's cute for a theme park show, for sure. The Let It Go staging works for that space. The Olaf puppet is adorable. 

    The Broadway version is obviously going to aim for something bigger. It also, at most, needs to run two times in one day, rather than a theme park show that runs a whole lot more than that. I could see them going in that direction for Let It Go, but Elsa's choreography will have more actual set pieces pop up from the stage and fly in.