• Drum Set and Percussion Setups from Musical Theatre and More

Bright Star - Tour - Steve Bartosik and Joe Mowatt

Joe Mowatt on Steve Bartosik’s setup for the National Tour of Bright Star.

"The use of a Remo Frame Drum on a towel on top of the floor tom made for a perfect ‘suitcase’ sound when played with Promark Broomsticks."

The show was written by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell and orchestrated by August Eriksmoen.


Write up by Joe Mowatt.

“The original drummer for the show was Steve Bartosik. August Eriksmoen (orchestrator) and Steve worked together to create a drum book that would blend with the traditional bluegrass instruments in the show but would add an additional rhythmic and textural element to the music, all while not disturbing the integrity of the bluegrass sound.

Some interesting things they are using are a Meinl Cajon that can switch the snares on and off so they get that cardboard box sound when needed. The use of a Remo Frame Drum on a towel on top of the floor tom made for a perfect ‘suitcase’ sound when played with Promark Broomsticks. A couple of songs call for a ‘knee slap’ sound so Steve came up with using a vacuum practice pad that has a strip of leather or chamois cloth wrapped around it on the snare drum. This is then played with a pair of Regal Tip Conga Sticks to replicate the knee slap or hambone sound.

The djembe is always covered with a towel and is only used on downbeats for a very low, woofy sound. Drumsticks are never used during the show, only variations on brushes: Promark Broomsticks, Meinl Cajon Brushes, Meinl Plastic Retractable Brushes, Innovative BR-9 Fanned Bundle Sticks and Cat Paws Spoons. Shakers are LP One Shots (two pairs tapped together), LP Soft Shake, and a Toca 6" Aluminum Shaker. Two Miller Machines are used with an Alan Abel 4" Triangle and a Mini Tingsha. A Meinl Mini Cajon (Mini Me as August likes to say) is used at the top of the show.

I started the tour in Los Angeles, and it was determined that I would run the click, so the trigger button and screen are mounted to my left on the Mark Tree Stand.

All of the gear belongs to Steve and he sent the exact kit he used on Broadway.
  • Drummer's World 20" Kick Drum (just the batter side of the nesting kit kick)
  • Slingerland 6.5” x 14" Snare
  • Slingerland 14" x 14" Floor Tom
  • Zildjian 18" Medium Ride
  • Zildjian 17" A Custom Crash
  • Unknown 15" Crash
  • Zildjian 13" New Beat Hi Hats

To help with cajon ass fatigue, Steve took the top off one of his drum thrones and put it on top of the cajon. It added a little height but saves your behind and your back. Since the cajon has a rubber top, the seat doesn't slide at all.

I'll be joining the tour again for dates in Houston, Texas and Worcester, Massachusetts."

Check out the other tour dates at Bright Star.

November 2017