A recent flurry of letters to the editor have been published in The New York Times in response to a piece detailing the increasingly common Broadway practice of having a live orchestra play in a side room, with the music “piped in” to the theater. Naturally, this has led to a lively discussion over at the Save Live Music on Broadway Facebook page. How does “piped in” music compare to seeing and hearing a live orchestra performing in the same auditorium as the cast and audience? Below are a few of the comments we have received so far:
Teri Booth thinks having the musicians in the theater is essential: “Live theatre has an ‘energy’ to it,” she says. “When [musicians] are removed from the actors and the audience, [they] are no longer part of— or contributors to—that experience.”
Facebook fan Liese Kaye M writes that “Yes, it is ideal [for the musicians] to be in the same area as the stage and performers, but if that’s not possible, a LIVE orchestra in another area of the theater is ALWAYS preferable to a recording.”
Ross Kratter writes, “If everything is going through the sound system, why should it matter where in the building it’s coming from if it’s being played live, and thus the musicians are keeping their jobs?”
Commenter Chris Dierl also thinks the amplification is the real issue: “For too long, sound designers have decided that natural sound is bad, because it is beyond their control. This has given us over-produced, radio-mixed orchestras”
We love hearing from informed theatregoers! Your passionate support is why so many theatre fans have signed our petition to keep Broadway live. (By the way, if you haven’t signed it yet, what are you waiting for? The petition is just to the right of this blog, and it only takes a minute to sign!). Your sharing of our posts in the social media universe is how we have built such a large and vibrant Facebook community. What do you think about this debate? Is amplification a problem in modern musicals? In addition to the threat of recordings replacing live music entirely, is piped-in music also an obstacle to your enjoyment of Broadway shows? Let us know!