Into the Woods – Synth beware

I mentioned in a previous post how it felt that the PC Score and Synth books had significantly been altered from the earliest versions.

A little background. I played one of the first West Coast productions of the show when it first became available . It feels like a couple of decades. Anyway, over the years I’ve Md’d and played this score.

Honestly, the gripe back then was that the synth played all things added orchestration and every single effect in the show. Birds, Stomping, Giant Falling etc..There was need for heavy programming and a lot of patch changes.

It did beef up the strings, reeds and horns but also stepped on some of the orchestra too.

Note to self: If your synth player is playing something that is action oriented. Birds are pecking out eyes or attacking, have your musician watch the scene. Anecdotally, I was playing that patch when I was in a pit on one of those first versions.. I had that patch on my keyboards. The music director starts flailing away the baton, I suppose was the motion of the bird or birds that were attacking. At that point, synth parts were a little vague. My Patch cue just said Birds. There was a qtr. note and a pitch on the page. I think you get where the miscue might occur. Due to lack of visibility in the pit, and the synth never rehearsed with the cast while staging… I didn’t know what was happening until I saw the show weeks later. All of a sudden, I totally realized why the MD was flailing and probably a little dissatisfied with the level of bird attack from the keyboards.

As fun as that moment is now, the stark reality is that all of this has been excised from the synth book. I’m not clear as to why. The whole orchestration has been watered down and the synth part was heavily diminished.. Usually when this is done the synth part is beefed up, adding padding under the strings, horns, and reeds. Much of that has been stripped away, including the fx.

What’s left of the new synth book. Mostly harp and some duplication of the piano book. MTI – please look at this.

The piano book is also watered down. I felt that it might be an anomaly in the prior production, NOPE…. this is the material that they’re sending now.

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