• Drum Set and Percussion Setups from Musical Theatre and More

Andrew Pongracz - Sweeney Todd

Andrew’s set-up for Sweeney Todd at Great Lakes Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio. This was for the Fall 2013 repertory.

“The arrangements for the show were done by Matthew Webb, Great Lakes’ MD, for use in Cleveland and with their sister company the Idaho Shakespeare Festival in Boise, Idaho. Great Lakes is primarily a classical company that renovated the Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square in Cleveland for their own use. As such, there isn’t a very big pit and there is never room for a big orchestra. We were in the trap under the stage for this performance which gave us more room than had we been anywhere else in the house.

Here’s a list of the Instruments I used:
26” and 29” Yamaha 6200 timpani
24” wind gong
Grover single-row tambourine mounted
17” K Zildjian dark crash
Grover 9” super overtone triangle
Leedy/Fall Creek glockenspiel
Musser One-Nighter vibraphone
Kori pit xylophone
2-octave midi keyboard running Mainstage for chimes, crotales, harp and celesta
Bell tree
Abel triangle on Miller Machine
16” A Zildjian (1950s era)
5” Clevelander snare drum
Gretsch Catalina bass drum and three toms
LP Jam Block
Rogers concert bass drum

I didn’t have to do any of the sound effects that percussionists typically perform in this show (razor strop, machinery) as they were in the MD’s keyboard. Matt did a good job of arranging this so I could cover just about everything. There were just a few transitions that didn’t work but we were able to make substitutions. I got lots of use out of my Travis Barker combo sticks and Mike Balter xylophone mallets with felt glued to one side.

These are my Mike Balter 11R’s (unwound) with craft felt on one side for quick changes between timpani and xylophone. My Kori pit xylophone didn't respond well to heavier mallets but these sounded really good. I got the idea from my friend and colleague Mell Csicsila.”

Andrew Pongracz is the timpanist with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra and principal percussionist with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony. He can be heard on the 2007 Grammy-winning recording of Olivier Messiaen’s “Oiseaux Exotiques” with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony. He has performed at the Odenwald Festspiele in Germany, the Cayman Arts Festival in the Cayman Islands and at the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival in Incline Village, NV.

In addition to orchestral work Andrew plays regularly for Great Lakes Theatre at Playhouse Square and has played with Aretha Franklin, Charo, Frankie Valli, Yes, and Kansas. Andrew has a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Hiram College and completed the Master of Music degree at Cleveland State University where he studied with Cleveland Orchestra percussionist Don Miller and legendary drum set artist Bob McKee. He has also studied with Cleveland Orchestra principal timpanist Paul Yancich, Tom Fries and George Kiteley. Andrew lives in Lakewood with his wife Brenda and their two sons Alexander and Christopher.