The traveling show season has begun and most of the new productions have premiered or are about to start their season. I visited Les Misérables in Hartford last month as it began a new tour. There are numerous seasoned road musicians in the orchestra, as well as musicians new to touring. This show has an orchestration for 15 touring musicians, nearly all of them on orchestral instruments. The conductor, Brian Eads of Local 257 (Nashville, TN), has done an amazing job of having everyone play at the highest ensemble level possible. The production quality was first-rate.The show’s stellar cast was accompanied flawlessly by the orchestra, creating a magical performance. The fortunate audiences have certainly received a production worthy of the Broadway experience.
This season there are many shows that have sizable touring complements, as well as large local musician employment. The new Disney blockbuster for the road this year is Aladdin, which has an orchestration of 16, with a minimum local hiring of eight musicians in every city it visits. The King and I continues this season with 13 local musicians hired in all cities.
Another new production with a large musician complement is Love Never Dies, the sequel to Phantom of the Opera. This show travels 15 musicians, with local hiring in select venues.
There are a variety of unusual productions that are not traditional in orchestration or content that will be travelling under our agreements.
As the new director of the AFM Touring/Theatre/Booking Division, I look forward to overseeing a large and varied season of traveling musicals that is sure to provide a genuine Broadway experience to audiences across the US and Canada.