• Drum Set and Percussion Setups from Musical Theatre and More

Evita - International - Craig Given

Craig Given’s percussion setup for Showbiz Christchurch’s production of Evita at the Isaac Theatre Royal in Christchurch, New Zealand.

“I enjoyed being able to mix guaguanco and samba influenced conga rhythms in this tune, along with some nice opportunities for timbale fills and cascara patterns.”


“While this isn't a technically difficult show - it is a fairly busy show and requires a fair degree of concentration in order to keep pace with the often changing tempos and time-signatures. There is plenty of scope for the percussionist and drummer to think carefully and work collaboratively on the South American inspired themes throughout the music. This revival version of Evita has had a fair amount of revision from the original arrangements - which were of a rock-opera (1970s) style. The new orchestration, with a couple of new charts, appears to take a lot of it's inspiration from the 1996 film version starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas (an excellent Che in my opinion!) in the lead roles. I've also played the original orchestration, so it was really nice to be able to play this version and experience the improvements in the score.

A few notes about the percussion book:

Lots of tasty concert bass drum! It would have been really nice to have a big concert bass drum - but due to availability, I had a use a medium sized (vintage) rope-tuned drum. I took the opportunity to look at suspending the bass drum using an aluminum scaffold frame and several different length bungee (elastic/shock) cords. The resulting tone and resonance was outstanding - as the whole drum could resonate freely with minimal dampening. I received many comments from the cast about the bass drum sound and how surprised they were when they saw the actual size of it. The bass drum sound / tone is especially important in ‘Requiem’, but also needs a good sound engineer to assist with miking and mix to ensure that it is given the context it deserves in the front of house.

As mentioned previously the new version of the show has a lot more South American influences in the music. This extends nicely into the percussion and drum parts, where there are some really good opportunities for the drummer and percussionist to work closely together to develop rhythms that stylistically work well together. Buenos Aires is one such chart, and allows the percussionist and drummer to trade fills throughout. I enjoyed being able to mix guaguanco and samba influenced conga rhythms in this tune, along with some nice opportunities for timbale fills and cascara patterns. Much of the approach I used for ‘Buenos Aires’ was from Dave Roth's Broadway Video - so thanks for that Dave!

There are some really tasty marimba parts in the score as well. There are some nice marimba and guitar lead melodies (‘Another Suitcase’), odd time signature arpeggio work (‘Money Kept Rolling") through to some interesting mechanical incidental music and 3 mallet parts.

I'd do this show again without hesitation. Great fun, some good challenges and plenty of scope to develop percussive soundscapes to support the themes and story on stage!”

Percussion Instruments:
  • Premier Timpani (28" and 25")
  • Concorde 4 & 2/3 Octave Marimba
  • Glockenspiel (home-made)
  • Deagan 834 Super Lite-Wate Xylophone
  • Ufip Tam-Tam
  • Bass Drum/Gran Cassa (old brass-band drum), with DIY suspension mount
  • 14" Gretsch Snare Drum
  • LP Patato Valdes Congas
  • Meinl Professional Series Bongos
  • LP Stainless Steel Timbales (13" & 14") with LP Blue Jam Block, LP Salsa Timbale Cowbell & Rhythm Tech Cowbell (small)
  • Temple Blocks (2) - Homemade
  • Meinl 20" Byzance Dry Ride Cymbal
  • Zildjian 16" K Custom Dark Crash
  • Ufip 8" Class Series Splash
  • Grover 10” Silver/Bronze Combo Tambourine
  • TreeWorks 6" Triangle mounted on a Miller Machine
  • Meinl Fiberglass Guiro
  • LP Soft Shake

  • Timpani - Vic firth & Grover
  • Marimba - Mike Balter & Steve Weiss
  • Glockenspiel - Mike Balter Brass and Aluminium
  • Xylophone - Grover
  • Bass Drum and Tam-Tam - Innovative CG2S Concert Gong/Bass Drum Mallet & Innovative CB4 Hard Concert Bass Drum Mallet
  • Snare Drum - Vic Firth Buddy Rich & SD1

September 2016