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Does Your Community Theatre Produce Musicals?










If your answer was 'yes', approximately how often do you produce musicals (ie: every few years, once a season, several slots a season, 'when we can afford it', etc)?

  • One or two each year

  • Two or three each season

  • Once a season

  • When we can afford it and can cast it

  • 5 to 6 times per year

  • Two kids' musicals, one main stage full musical

  • one or two per season

  • 4-8 musicals per season

  • 2 per year

  • 4-5 times per year

  • Four of five shows a year are musicals at FRT

  • Once a season. Two in 2018.

Do your musicals have live music, or have they in the past?

Where do you find musicians?

  • Local. I have a band manager who handles this chore.

  • Local talent

  • locally

  • Local contacts

  • local community orchestra

  • Local talent pool

  • Local talent

  • locally

"We go to the local college, university, symphony, music stores, tap rooms, theatres, and talk to a LOT of people. It is a struggle to find good musicians for a pit band."

  • Our MD's usually find them

Are your musicians paid (stipend or otherwise)?

How do you find musical directors?

  • It's me.

  • We have several in our area

  • Locally

  • Previous use & contacts

 "From the local Chorus group"

  • Current musical director has been with us for several years.

  • Local talent

  • Local Schools, educators

  • With great difficulty. There are very few qualified musical directors who are available to work for the stipend I am able to offer them.

  • I have two I usually work with, both recommended by Directors we have worked with.


Are your musicians paid (stipend or otherwise)?


How do you feel your audience is impacted by live music vs. recorded music?

  • They love it

  • We use mosly pre-recorded & i hear very few comments. We invest in quality tracks & therefore enjoy a full orchestra sound that would never fit on our stage. But when you do use live musicians we also get a lot of positive comments.

  • I think the recorded tracks, which sound like a full orchestra, work within a budget and in our small space.

  • Little difference

  • We use recorded music that is supplied for "junior" shows like Shrek Jr from MTI. The recorded music is high quality and is a good match for young teen / pre teen actors. It is well received by audiemces. However fabulous live music is something we are known for.

  • I believe our audiences prefer live music

  • The live music is a big part of the entertainment value

"Audiences say they like live music, and the notice our bands. That said, I think the decision is largely driven by my belief that live theatre should be just that. I know that the recordings have gotten very sophisticated. But there is nothing like a good group of musicians to "play" with when you are performing for a live audience!"


  • Live music is a much better experience. Canned music is not something we use.

Any other comments regarding live music for musicals in community theatre?

  • A requirement, as far as we're concerned. A solo piano is better than recorded orchestra.

  • Live music is an integral part of the performing arts experience

  • We wish we had a pit and the money to provide live music. We are fortunate to afford custom recorded live music and a nice system to present it. But we believe live is the way to go. Our Christmas show had all live music onstage last year

  • We have live concerts at least once a month, touring artists. I produce them

  • Recorded tracks cost about 40% of what I would have to pay for live musicians.

  • We meant to use live musicians for our current show but did not factor in enough rehearsal time. I think if not using professionals, you would have to start way in advance.

  • We just don't have the space for live.

"We have had audience members stay in the theatre after the actors have left the stage to hear the end of the Playoff music!"

  • We use a mix of pre-recorded tracks and live music during the season, depending on the show and the Director

  • I sometimes struggle with the fact that we pay instrumentalists more than we pay actors. It is just a fact that I can not get the players I need without doing that. It seems to indicate that I value the time and effort of an instrumentalist more than I do others, which is not true. I value the time an talents of all the artists we work with, each of whom must prepare and become expert in their own way. It is a conundrum.

  • We are a small venue with a small budget, but we prefer paying for musicians. We have a cabaret style theater and it makes a world of difference.

California Community Theatres: Live Music 

 Survey results are from Summer 2017.


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