Shoreline Musical Theater 2018-2019

Looking for musical theater right here in Shoreline? Look no further, here is a combined schedule from several Shoreline venues. This list includes community theater, high school drama departments, and more.

November 30-December 9, Shoreline Community CollegePeter and starcatcher tile

March 2019:


Spring 2019: Shorewood High School Spring Musical (unannounced)

Spring 2019: Shorecrest High School Spring Musical (unnannounced)

May 10-May 19, Shoreline Community Collegedrowsy

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See me with Mr. & Mrs. Muffins tonight



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Buying a recorder

If you’re thinking about buying your own recorder, here’s some recommendations.

Your first recorder: Yamaha 302 Soprano Recorder (click link for Amazon)

If you’re starting out, this is your best bet. At under $20, it is affordable for nearly everyone and still is a high quality instrument. Use this to learn your fingerings, learn to control your air, and the fundamentals of articulation.

More options:

Yamaha YRA-302B Alto Recorder

Yamaha YRT-304B Tenor Recorder

Yamaha YRB-302B Bass Recorder

Alto, tenor, and bass recorders each come with their own challenges. Alto has different fingerings than the soprano, but has a much more pleasing sound. Tenors have the same fingerings as sopranos, but the cost more and take some finesse with your air to get a nice sound. Bass recorders have the challenges of altos and tenors combined, with the extra stumbling block that they are seriously expensive. Committed, advanced users only!

I like the Yamaha 300 line because they have a nice quality level throughout the family of instruments, but they aren’t so expensive as other intermediate instruments. They all use the standard ‘baroque’ fingering, have adjustable tuning joints, and are built to last.

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Next to Normal pit percussion setup

Next to Normal pit percussion setup

Here’s my setup for the drum book for Next to Normal, a musical I’ve been working on with Twelfth Night Productions down in West Seattle. It’s pretty much built around a five piece drum set, since the rhythm section is very prominent in this show. There’s also a lot of rhythmically challenging mallet parts, so I have the bells and “vibraphone” keyboard nestled as close to my music and line-of-sight with the MD as possible. Everything else, i.e. tambourine, shaker, bongos, triangle, wood block, finger cymbals, and djembe, are just wedged in wherever i could fit them.

I tried to get away with as few pairs of sticks & mallets as possible here, so the whole show is played with just the basics: some jazz drum sticks, brushes, and blasticks, rubber Bob Becker 30’s and aluminum bell mallets, and some cord mallets for cymbal rolls. I got a lot of mileage out of my Mike Balter 9AR aluminum bell mallets, on the glock of course but also as a triangle beater. I was surprised how easy it is to get a consistent, controlled sound out of an Alan Abel triangle with one of these.

This is the first show I’ve used a MIDI keyboard to play a percussion part, in this case vibraphone. I feel a little like I’ve joined the dark side but it’s surprisingly handy and better than just putting all of the vibes parts on bells or cymbals. My only complaint is that there is no monitor near me, so I can’t really hear myself play. Overall it has been a positive foray into electronics.

Everyone I know seems to have a personal connection to mental illness and trauma, and this musical deals with those themes in a way that’s a little harrowing at times. The thing that I notice, however, is how insightful the author, Brian Yorkey, seems to be when it comes to the inner workings of families faced mental illness and trauma. As I got to know the show and the characters better, I started finding insight into my own life in a way that doesn’t always happen with musical theater, and for that the painful themes are worth the emotional cost.

Next to Normal has become one of my favorite drum books to play. There’s a lot of up-tempo rock and punk rock, interesting mallet parts, and most importantly a fantastic story with depth and heart.


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Mary Poppins pit percussion setup

The interesting thing about the percussion books for MTI’s Mary Poppins production is that book 1 is almost exclusively pitched percussion. Most of the auxiliary percussion is in book 2 with the drum set. So, while there are fewer instruments in this setup, it’s still about the same size since all the large instruments are here. The part even calls for marimba, although there isn’t one in my setup.
80% of the time I’m playing xylophone, bells, or vibes so I crammed those three as close together as possible to maximize line-of-sight with the bars, the music, and the director. I bought two new pieces of equipment for this rig, the washboard and the bass drum piatti mount. The mount came in handy since there are a few combined BD/cymbal moments for Mr. Banks.

Here’s me playing some of my favorite moments from the show:

Here’s my equipment list:
2 timpani (26″ & 29″)
Bass drum/piatti
15″ & 18″ suspended cymbals
Wind chimes
Tambourine (unmounted)
Bird whistle
We only had one bell tree, so Henry got it in the P2 setup.
Pro-mark Haas timpani mallets (general)
Mike Balter blue vibe mallets x3, brass bell mallets, aluminum bell mallets
Malletech BB34, OR42

I love the OR42r’s; they are so versatile. There are many quick switches between xylophone, bells, and crotales, and the old 42s sound great on all 3. I also recommend the aluminum Balters for a nice and light metallic sound on bells, crotales, or even the wind chimes.

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Wizard of Oz, July/August 2016

2016 Wizard of Oz Studio East 22016 Oz Pit

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Recommended sticks & mallets for a beginning percussionist

Whether you’re just starting out in the percussion section or have been ‘back there’ for a few years, you might not have all the sticks & mallets you need to be ready for whatever music your director might throw at you. In first year band you probably will only need the sticks and mallets that came with your practice kit, but soon that won’t be enough. I recommend having a stick bag with a pair each of sticks or mallets for snare drum, xylophone, bells, timpani, suspended cymbal, & triangle.

There are many different makes and models of mallets for each of these instruments, each with a different kind of sound, a different level of quality, and a different price tag. If you’re ready to spend about $200 on getting the right tools of the trade (not bad compared to some other instruments) that will last though middle school, and probably meet most of your needs in high school too, here is your shopping list:

Stick Bag: Innovative Percussion MB1 ($37*)
Snare Drum: Vic Firth SD1 ($7.50)
Xylophone: Malletech BB34 ($32)
Bells: Mike Balter 9r ($25)
Timpani: Vic Firth T1 ($25)
Suspended Cymbal: Mike Balter 23R ($33)
Drum Set: Vic Firth 5A ($7.50)
Triangle: Steve Weiss Basic Set of 4 ($10)

Add in a sharpened pencil, and you’ll have a set of quality mallets without buying anything you don’t need, and without spending too much on top-of-the-line equipment meant for college and professional players. The stick bag is large enough to fit your book and sheet music inside, so everything will travel together nicely and you will no longer get in trouble for forgetting your music! The Balter 23Rs also make a great vibraphone or even marimba mallet, which will be useful later on in their percussion career.

If you still want to get your stick bag filled out, but want to do it on a budget, Steve Weiss has options for that too. Everything (practically) on my list above has a low-cost version made my Liberty I, AKA Steve Weiss, for sale on their web page. They are not quite as nice as what is listed above, and you will probably want or need to replace it after a few years, but all of the options below will still work nicely for elementary or middle school, and for about half the price.

Stick Bag: Liberty I 01S ($17)
Xylophone: Liberty I LXM ($11)
Bells: Liberty I LBB ($11)
Timpani: Liberty I LT2 ($20)
Suspended Cymbals: Liberty I LMM ($15)
Triangle: Weiss Loop End Beater ($1)

You can buy everything on the ‘thrifty’ list for $75 plus shipping, or mix and match to suit your individual needs. I didn’t list an alternative snare drum or drum set stick; the Vic Firth SD1 and 5A drum sticks are the industry standard for general use concert snare drum and drum set, respectively, and their price just can’t be beat by anybody. However, if you’re looking to cut costs you could get away with skipping the 5A; the SD1s can work on drum set too, although they will get worn out quickly by the cymbals.

You could buy the xylophone, timpani, snare drum, and drum set sticks off the top list and the stick bag, bells, suspended cymbal, and triangle gear from the bottom for $115, and I think you’d get the best balance of quality versus price.

*Prices are from July 2016

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