Onstage Orchestra Longs for Glory Days of Being in a Hole
by Rebecca Slaman. @rebeccaslaman.
NEW YORK, NY — Jonathan Bront, conductor of the onstage orchestra of Broadway’s Oklahoma!, expressed his nostalgia this week for the “glory days” of when orchestra’s would just sit in an underground hole without being seen or acknowledged for an entire show, sources have confirmed.
“We used to be kings,” noted Bront as he dressed to conduct while being seen by hundreds of people. “People used to just see the back of my head sticking out of the hole, like a meerkat. I could just peek up, and return to the safety of my holemates until the next cue. We could do whatever down there,” he said, not elaborating on what “whatever” meant.
Floutist Sam Hawke, Bront’s former hole-mate, commiserated the absence of the orchestra’s special space.
“Oh, how I miss the pure decadence that was the hole,” he noted. “In the hole, I could laugh when an actor messed up. I could eat tacos - the fancy kind from the bodega. I could cry as my life crumbled in the days after my wife left. As long as I hit all the notes, life was golden. I guess that type of exquisite, gross luxury couldn’t sustain forever,” he added before walking on stage to a rapturous applause.
The more seasoned orchestra members regret that new musicians may never know about the dark, damp place where musicians used to reign.
“Veterans are always talking about the hole” commented young percussionist Danielle Crutt. “It sounds incredible, but it was a different time. Still, you don’t get that sense of that wild hole community anymore. Now we have to interact with adoring audience members, which sucks, and last week I even signed a Playbill, which was humiliating,” she added.
In addition to band members no longer being subterranean, some have been given extra responsibilities, such as a single line or prop-holding, often to acclaim from the audience.
At press time, many members were on their way to a support group for musicians who miss the hole, which takes place in a cramped, cold basement with the only light coming from those little lamps that clip onto music stands.