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Yamaha Bring “Horrors” to Broadway

Little Shop of Horrors is enjoying a hot revival at Broadway's Virginia Theatre, more than 20 years after its off-Broadway debut.

Little Shop of Horrors is enjoying a hot revival atBroadway’s Virginia Theatre, more than 20 years after its off-Broadwaydebut. At the request of composer Alan Menken, a Yamaha MPC3 GrandMIDIPiano is anchoring the show’s orchestra. Musical director HenryAronson plays the instrument during performances, both as a piano andas a MIDI controller for many of the other reed, string and electricpiano sounds.

“The issue was really the piano sound, primarily,” Aronson said.”Broadway pits are usually pretty crowded places, and a lot of pitsdon’t use a real piano. But Little Shop is a reallypiano-centered show. The primary concern was getting a really fineinstrument in there, and on top of that, we wanted to have theflexibility to do some MIDI stuff.

“It’s a great feeling for me to have a responsive piano there,”Aronson continued, who uses a Yamaha Clavinova digital piano at homefor composition and practice. “There’s a fair amount of pounding rock’n’ roll stuff, but there are also some ballads in there.This gives me a lot more responsiveness as a player, and I can get moreout of it.”

According to David Obele, the show’s assistant to the musiccontractor, the orchestra pit had already been covered with a stageextension by the time Menken brought in the Yamaha MIDIPiano, andtechnicians actually had to dismantle part of the theater wall to getit in place. “I think this instrument, in particular allows us a lot ofcontrol to create the sound that has become attached to Little Shopof Horrors,” Obele said. “It’s a rock score, it’s not a typicaltheater score. People know what it sounds like through the movie, andnow that we’ve got it live, it allows us to re-create that with minimumheadaches.”

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