Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog

The Sound Behind Daddy Long Legs
February 15, 2012, 4:15 pm
Filed under: Daddy Long Legs, Merrimack Repertory Theatre


What sort of work has gone into the sound and music of Daddy Long Legs?

The music is performed and mixed live by a team of esteemed musicians! Meet the six musicians, musical director, and audio engineer who work together to bring you the incredible sound behind Daddy Long Legs:

The musicians back stage

Laura Bergquist – Musical Director/Keyboardist

Laura Bergquist has been a part of the Daddy Long Legs production since its first workshop at Rubicon. She has a wide variety of experience as a conductor, musical director, performer, composer, and arranger. Laura has conducted National and International Tours of The King and I, Titanic, and Miss Saigon. As an ASCAP Awards recipient for composition, her personal catalogue includes more than sixty works in print and several recordings. Laura was the original Musical Director for Jane Eyre (the first John Caird and Paul Gordon collaboration). Her recent projects include Emma by Paul Gordon, and Children of Eden by John Caird and Stephen Schwartz.

Curt Shumate – Guitar

Curt Shumate is an Associate Professor in the Guitar Department at Berklee College of Music. Curt joined the faculty in 1984 shortly after earning his undergraduate degree there as a Performance major. Curt is a New Jersey native who also lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has performed countless jazz and blues gigs in the Boston area over the past 30 years. In addition he has performed on the stages at Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods and Mechanics Hall in Worcester. His theater credits include performances at Boston’s Colonial Theater, North Shore Music Theater and the Palace Theater in Manchester NH. He has also performed as a freelancer with the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Curt and his wife Gail have a 24-year-old son Adam, himself a jazz pianist currently employed by the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. 

The practice space for the musicians

Jeff Prescott – Percussion

Jeff Prescott is not only a talented percussionist, but he has also worked as a Development Associate with Merrimack Repertory Theatre for over six years! Jeff started playing drums about twenty-five years ago and studied music at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He has done work directing as well as performing in various musicals and stage productions. Aside from working at MRT and as a performing musician, he also gives private vocal and percussion lessons.

Justin McLean – Bass

Justin McLean is an established performing musician as well as a high school English teacher on the North Shore. Justin is a Massachusetts native who grew up in Andover, MA, and currently lives in Arlington. Having performed in dozens of musicals from Evita to Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Justin is well versed in the ways of musical theatre. Along with his experience in musical theatre, he is also involved in several bands including a Texas swing band and a bluegrass band outfit.

Shay Rudolph – Cello

Shay Rudolph has been playing music since she was eight years old. She began playing mostly chamber music with her parents and went on to study music at Boston University. She is currently involved in a wide range of musical endeavors serving as the Assistant Principal Cellist with the New Bedford Symphony and as a contracted member of the Orchestra of Indian Hill. Shay also teaches music as a member of the cello faculty at Clark University and the chamber music faculty of the Boston Youth Symphony. She also offers private cello lessons from her home. Other past musical achievements include playing backup instrumentals for hip-hop artist Kanye West and American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken.

Amy Ripka – Violin

Amy Ripka has a unique background in music and chemistry. She started playing violin at age 6 in a bluegrass band with her parents, playing with such banjo greats as Ben Eldridge from Seldom Scene. Later she went on to study violin performance at Northwestern University. After some time, her interest in chemistry led her to pursue and receive a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Although she has this Ph.D. she is still an actively performing musician and has performed with many groups in the Massachusetts/New Hampshire area. Some of the groups she has performed with include the Nashua Symphony, New Bedford Symphony, North Shore Music Theatre, Granite State Symphony, and North Shore Philharmonic where she is the associate concertmaster.

Josh Staines – Live Audio Engineer

Josh Staines is an esteemed audio engineer with over seven years experience in live sound and audio recording. Specializing in sound for theatre, he has a great deal of experience working in such theatres as North Shore Music Theatre, Cape Playhouse, Huntington Theatre Company, Speakeasy Stage Company, and many others. With a highly developed skill set, Josh helps to create the high quality, balanced audio in the musical Daddy Long Legs.


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