Why is LCTC using a computer for the music in the musicals rather than a live band?
That is an excellent question. For four shows (South Pacific, The Producers, Oklahoma, and now, Chicago), LCTC has been using a computer to generate the orchestral music for their musicals. There are three major reasons (and some minor reasons) why we are doing this.
First, in a small community like Lake County, the available of musicians to fill all of the parts required by these major musicals is very limited. In fact, the program we use is geared for Community Theater Companies who are in exactly this position.
Second, the cost of hiring musicians is far more than the cost of the computer program and the Music Director to operate it. Our shows cost approximately $20,000 to put on. Using live musicians would add $10,000 to $15,000 to the cost of the show as they are paid for rehearsals and each performance. The computer keeps the tickets at a reasonable price for our patrons.
Third, using the computer reduces the amount of time for rehearsal for the show. Using live musicians means that not only does the cast have to rehearse, but the musicians must also rehearse. The music for these shows is very complex which would require extensive rehearsal on the part of the musicians. Having the computer allows us to not only reduce the rehearsal time, but also to provide our cast with the exact music that they will be using for the show during their rehearsals. This builds confidence and a much more polished performance.
The computer is not the same as using a Karaoke track. The difference is that with Karaoke the singer has to be able to time their performance to the speed of the track. The computer is flexible. The Music Director operating the program is actually following the performance on stage and timing it to the actors. This makes for a seamless performance and a lot of flexibility on stage.
We hope that when you come and see our shows that you will be very impressed with the quality of the music and the performance as a whole. If you want to see more about what the computer is about, visit the “Orchestra Pit” at the foot of the stage during intermission or after the show. We’ll be happy to show it to you!