It’s that time of year again: the school musical season. And here is a group you need to know about!!! The pit orchestra!! That obscure group of shiny-metal-wood-and-reed-toting people! But be warned, although the pit will be the most magical, supercalifragilistic thing you’ll ever see, it’s also a dangerous place with dangerous people in it. And it smells kinda bad. So tune your instrument and prepare to learn the advantages and disadvantages of being in the pit!
1. You need to practice. A lot.
Most of the time, Ms. Winnie, Mr. Spindler and Mr. Emanuelson will give out the scores to the musicians before rehearsals start. This gives you time to practice your butt off, which you need to do unless you want to fail miserably during your solo and mess up the cast. The truth is that musicals are incredibly difficult for the cast, musicians, and crew. They all rely on each other, so if the pit isn’t up to standard, everyone else will screw up too.
2. Pit members get VIP treatment!
Because the cast relies on the music for cues so much, the pit is important! You get to eat cookies during that 100-measure rest you have in the overture—and no one will yell at you. And, as an added bonus, since you’re not actually part of the cast, you can slip out during intermissions and mingle with the audience.
3. But rehearsals are sometimes held late at night…
…which just makes you and your fellow pit members look like zombies the next day. And when your math teacher asks you why you are so sleepy, mumbling “I was playing the glockenspiel at 10 o’ clock at night” does not make you seem like you have a social life. Only members of the marching band and string orchestra will sympathize.
4. Pit members are strange.
The fact is that, regardless of their age, musicians are weird. When the director asks if they can help throw props from the pit, or put fake fish on fishing poles, they all clamor to be the one standing on their chair. The percussionists always end up in the house with the cast during rehearsals and there is always that one kid that refuses to look at Ms. Winnie while she’s conducting.
Q: How many conductors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: No one knows, no one ever looks at her.
The best thing about being in Pit, is being apart of the whole… well and all the cool parties you get to go to… theatre people are weird, but throw the best costume and cast parties!