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New York Spectacular at Radio City - Joshua Mark Samuels

Joshua Mark Samuels' setup for the New York Spectacular at Radio City.

Joshua Mark Samuels' setup for the New York Spectacular at Radio City.Joshua Mark Samuels' setup for the New York Spectacular at Radio City.Joshua Mark Samuels' setup for the New York Spectacular at Radio City.Joshua Mark Samuels' setup for the New York Spectacular at Radio City.Joshua Mark Samuels' setup for the New York Spectacular at Radio City.Joshua Mark Samuels' setup for the New York Spectacular at Radio City.Joshua Mark Samuels' setup for the New York Spectacular at Radio City.

"Because there were some tracks used in the show the writers wanted to have a very 'live' orchestra sound. Everything I am playing is acoustic (no electronics). For the drums I used a Yamaha Stage Custom Birch Kit. I like birch for pit playing as the wood is a bit softer and makes the attack a little less punchy. The cymbals are all Sabian (I am a proud endorser). I use mostly the Artisan Series with an HHX Stage Ride and a Paragon Splash. I also have a 17" Holy China.

There were a lot of other percussion instruments - both me and the percussionist had concert bass drums, as well as bongos and a bucket 'drum'. I also used some LP Jam Blocks, cowbells, temple blocks, wind chimes, shakers, concert tambourine, and a siren whistle for some sound effects. Also, if you notice money on the ground in some shots, those bills are not tips, rather they are from a song 'Money' where fake money is blown all over the stage, inevitably landing all over us musicians.

This show was incredible not just because the orchestra and music was fantastic, but also because during one number in the middle of the show, the percussionist and I got off the band car, changed into costumes and headed up to the stage where we ran down the aisle and performed bucket solos. We also danced in the audience and on the stairs of the stage as the cast sang a version of 'Empire State of Mind'. It was so exciting to actually be a part of the show.

All together it was an incredibly rewarding experience. Not just because I was playing in one of the biggest music halls in the world, and not just because I was featured onstage, but because this was the first production at Radio City where I held the drum chair. In past shows (Christmas and Heart and Lights at Radio City) I have had the percussion chair, not the drum chair. I often subbed for the drum chair in past productions but this was the first time I was able to make the show my own. It was wonderful working with David Holcenberg (Musical Director), Mia Michaels (Director), Billy Stein and AnnMarie Milazzo (Music Writers/Producers/Arrangers) in creating a drum part that added so much to the production. I hope to get to work with these incredibly talented people again soon!

Thanks to Mike Jenkins (Sound department) for the photos."

New York Spectacular at Radio City - Joshua Mark Samuels
August 2016

Joshua Mark Samuels' setup for the New York Spectacular at Radio City.

Sal Mazzotta's setup for The Tattooed Lady at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Brian Kilgore's percussion setup for the International Tour of Pippin at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, California.
Ethan Deppe’s setup for The Little Mermaid at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.
"After a week or two of rehearsals there is usually a performance or two of the show for an invited audience. Sometimes these performances can be intense if there are important people in the room, or if certain sections of the show feel under prepared. This is why it’s so important to know the score and script very well."
  • 6 min read
"The unique part of Groundhog Day was that the drummer had to play on stage, in a groundhog costume, wearing a giant groundhog head. Since I could barely see out of the head, it was impossible to read a chart (and there wasn’t a music stand), so it had to be memorized."
  • 4 min read
"If you are passionate, driven, feel you have a calling, a burning desire to play, practice, perform, and record music that you can share with the world, then choosing to be a professional musician here will make you a fulfilled and happy person. You’ll meet the most amazing people on stage, in the rehearsal room and in the audience."
  • 6 min read
Steve Gadd's drum solo from the track "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours". From the album Live Stuff (out of print) from the legendary 1970's New York based band Stuff.
Robbie Ameen's drum solo from the track "Spring Fling".

Gene Krupa's drum solo from "Gene's Blues" from the album Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich released November 1955.

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