• Drum Set and Percussion Setups from Musical Theatre and More

Jon Berger - Pulse

Jon’s setup for the World Premier of Noah Racey’s Pulse at the Asolo Repertory Theater in Sarasota, Florida.

“Renowned Broadway dance veteran Noah Racey both wrote and stars in Pulse. The show celebrates American song and dance traditions from 1930's Jazz era Broadway through to contemporary Pop including Hall and Oats, Regina Spector and Stevie Wonder. Stylistically, the show touches on light Jazz, Rock and Hip Hop with a lot of soft shoe and Vaudeville schtick.

I was brought in at the beginning and given a lot of creative license to write both the drum and percussion books. I collaborated with the orchestrator, Steve Orich, who also did the orchestrations for Jersey Boys. Since most of the rhythms typically covered by a traditional drummer and percussionist are created by Noah's world class dance company with their feet, restraint has been the key for me. I looked to my hero, Steve Gadd, as my role model for such accompaniment.

I augmented my 5 piece DW drum kit with a DW Double BD Pedal and DW Soprano Snare. For color and stage cues I use a caxixi, tambourine, cow bells, LP Jam Blocks, Mark Tree, Miller Machines for both triangle and finger cymbal, ratchet, siren and slide whistle. I clipped pod shakers onto the left foot cow bell for some percussive back beat for one number. I also play brushes on a pandeiro for a number onstage.

I join the company onstage for one feature number doing Funk tap dancing and body percussion. Playing drums standing up and not moving like Frankenstein has been a fun challenge for me.

There is an additional percussionist who is also a dancer and singer in the show. As he plays by ear and not from a written percussion part, he mainly covers grooves on cajon, congas, bongos and shakers.”

Jon endorses DW Drums, Pedals and Hardware, Paiste Cymbals, Remo Heads, Vater Sticks and Etymotic hf5 High-Fidelity Earphones.