• Drum Set and Percussion Setups from Musical Theatre and More

Paul Hansen - Hairspray

Paul Hansen’s setup for the 2013 10th Anniversary concert revival of Hairspray.

“My Hairspray setup hasn't changed from when I first played the show. The only thing different is that I added a Miller Machine.

When putting together the original production of Hairspray in 2001, composer Marc Shaiman and orchestrator Harold Wheeler were drawing a direct line from 60’s girl-group pop to early Soul/R&B. The percussion score came loaded with Phil Spector-ish timpani, Motown tambourine & latin percussion, and 60’s TV Spectacular flourishes. I was able to build on their original part with my own contributions drawing from the great 60’s recordings – I’m especially a fan of Rock ‘n’ Roll sleigh bells – and Marc would frequently poke his head over the rail with ‘Hey, do you have a free hand in bar 27?’ (the answer was frequently, ‘No, what do you need?’)

For shows like Hairspray where multiple ideas are occurring simultaneously, instrument selection and positioning is of course all important. I’m frequently asked about the number I Can Hear The Bells, with its rapid changes from glockenspiel to timpani (with copious pitch changes) and tambourine and chimes mixed in. I positioned the bells between the two high timpani with the chimes adjacent – a mounted tambourine was attached to the chimes. The final ingredient to facilitate the rapid change from glock to timp are double faced mallets, with one face of hard plastic, the opposite is thick moleskin.

Here, with kind permission of The 5th Avenue Theater, is I Can Hear The Bells from our recent 10th Anniversary concert revival. No, the smack of a missed chime note does not count as a double here.”