The musical supervisor role sort of grew in the 1980s really with the sort of mega-musicals which we' ve started to export to Broadway and vice-versa, where the musical teams just became so huge. You' d have a children' s MD, an orchestrator and a keyboard programmer and a plethora of people in the team and it became necessary to have somebody who was overlooking the whole thing. So that' s the musical supervisor' s role, to co-ordinate and oversee and look after every aspect of the production. Then once you' re in a preview period, the supervisor can be out in the house with the sound designer perhaps, actually listening to the sound, talking about orchestration, whereas the MD is in the pit usually conducting. So it' s good to have another set of ears in the house. And then a supervisor, once a production - if it' s lucky enough to go abroad and have other productions - they' ll then do the same for those productions there, also keeping an eye on the original production and working with the MD to keep the quality going there. The composer, it is really on an individual basis how involved they get with the music; some are very happy to hand it over and let your team get on with it; some like to be involved in the orchestration; others are far more interested in the actual singing side of things and not necessarily the orchestration side, so that really is on a person to person basis. And the other people you might find in a team would be a dance arranger, which you often get. A choreographer will have their own person they have who helps routine their dances and comes up with riffs based on the material. And then an orchestrator whose job it is to augment the music for a larger number of musicians.
We have an orchestral fixer for a show and it' s their job to oversee the booking of the band in the first place, the orchestral members, and then to relay all the information to them about rehearsal times and what to wear and all those things and also they' ll make sure the musicians are paid the right amount at the end of every week. In addition to that, I think I mentioned we have these deputy musicians, so a fixer will just keep an eye that we have a dep book. And a fixer will keep an eye on who' s off at any one time and make sure we don' t have the wrong combination of people off. You don' t want to have your drums, guitar and bass player off all on the same show. So you' ll try and mix and match between the departments. And also there' s a cut-off limit to how many deputy players you can have at any one time so you can maintain the quality that you need.
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