To track or not to track? That is the question!
As we all know, the orchestra is a huge part of any musical — in fact, you can’t do a musical without one! At SCT, we are very fortunate to be blessed with many fine musicians in the Stockton area who are willing to work for what we can pay them.
In the past couple of Seasons, we have produced three musicals that have been “tracked”. Those were The Producers, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Oklahoma! A tracked musical is one in which the full original Broadway orchestration has been recorded in a theatre or recording studio, and is made available for local productions across the country. In our area, Sierra Repertory Theatre and Fallon House have used the tracking system for years.
You may ask, why has SCT started doing this?
The explanation is grounded purely in economic considerations. I am a musician myself, and I love live music, but today we face a harsh economic climate, where we must watch what we spend without diminishing the quality of the productions we bring to our loyal patrons. The music for a show is a major budgetary item. The cost of providing a live orchestra for a single production comes to around $8,000.00, while the cost of providing a tracked orchestration is about $2,500.00. That is a huge savings for us, and thankfully our musicians have been very understanding about the situation. Not all shows are available in a tracked form, however, and for those, we still use a live orchestra.
Live music is not dead at SCT, and it will never be, but for some shows tracked music is an excellent choice. In our effort to produce great shows, while upholding quality and controlling costs, we are paying close attention to everything we spend.
By addressing this issue, I hope I have provided knowledge that will help our audiences understand some of the difficult decisions we are making in regard to expenses. The true bottom line? We are here to give you the very best value for your entertainment dollar, and your continued support means everything to us. - Submitted by Artistic Director Jim Coleman