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Nice Work If You Can Get It - Eric Poland

Eric Poland's drum set setup for the Broadway revival of Nice Work If You Can Get It at the Imperial Theatre.

Eric's write-up below photos.

Eric Poland's drum set setup for the Broadway revival of Nice Work If You Can Get It at the Imperial Theatre.Eric Poland's drum set setup for the Broadway revival of Nice Work If You Can Get It at the Imperial Theatre.

Nice Work If You Can Get It is a new musical set it the late 1920's featuring the music of George Gershwin. Along with many of his famous songs the show also includes quotes from much of his orchestral music. The creative musical team involved with the show wanted the music to sound of the era. As a result my setup had to reflect this.

Along with the standard toys of the 1920's (woodblock, cowbell, temple blocks, triangle), I am also using a Cymbal Guy attached to a remote hi hat pedal. There is a quote from the opening of Gershwin's ‘Concerto in F’ that normally requires three percussionists plus a timpanist. The Cymbal Guy allows this passage to be executed with two players. The bongos are used during a quote of Gershwin’s ‘Cuban Overture’ and the three crotale notes are used in the song 'Delishious' to accentuate what is happening on stage. To the left of my set up is a Ludwig field drum.

A typical drum set from the late 1920's consisted of a 28" single tension bass drum, a snare drum, and usually one or more Chinese Tom Toms with tacked on heads. Usual toys included woodblocks, cowbells, temple blocks, etc. Cymbals included small Turkish cymbals as well as the Chinese style.

I decided the Slingerland Radio Kings were an appropriate choice for the show because of the wear and tear involved with playing eight shows a week and the desire to have tunable toms. I'm able to achieve the period sound of the 1920's and also take advantage of the technological advancements that were around slightly later when these drums were built. The hardware is all modern and much more practical and durable than vintage hardware. My drumhead selection includes Remo Emperor Suede Heads with Moongel muffling. My goal was to get a sound closest to calf without having to deal with the upkeep and inconsistencies of natural heads.”

Drums: Slingerland 1940's Radio King

  • Bass Drum 26"x14"
  • Rack Tom 13"x9"
  • Floor Tom 16"x16"

Snare Drum:

  • 1920's 5"x14" Ludwig Six Lug with Brass Shell


  • Zildjian 13" Lite Hi-Hats
  • Two 8" Splashes 
  • Zildjian 11" Vintage A Splash (originally a hi hat)
  • Wuhan 16" China
  • Zildjian 17" A Custom (used as a suspended cymbal)

"The lack of a ride cymbal was indicative of this time period"

Nice Work If You Can Get It - Broadway - Eric Poland
April 2012 thru June 2013

Eric Poland's drum set setup for the Broadway revival of Nice Work If You Can Get It at the Imperial Theatre.

"Conducting a National Tour is incredibly challenging, but so rewarding. Stepping on to the podium with a new orchestra every few weeks really keeps you on your toes. Every player responds differently so you are constantly adjusting to get the desired result. I would compare it to playing a multi-percussion piece where the instruments are constantly moving."
"After a grueling four years at SUNY I still had one theory class left to finish. I was really depressed. A classmate of mine recommended me for a tour of a Broadway show. This completely changed the course of my life."
"When I first got the call to start working on Ain’t Too Proud - The Life And Times Of The Temptations, I was curious about which era the show was going to focus on. Their career began in the early 1960’s and they’re still releasing albums today."
"The timpani tunings are the real challenge of The Little Mermaid. Changing pitches must be done by feel, that was my biggest challenge. Memorizing the mallet parts was also very necessary."
"As you can see in the pictures, I prefer to have as much 'stuff' right in front of me, as close as possible. Because there are so many instruments close in, I have mounted a music stand off of the tom mount.
"Different from the tour, the original Broadway production had acoustic drums, an acoustic set of timbales, and an acoustic tambourine - the tambourine is now programmed in the SPD-SX."
  • 2 min read

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