I don't like to list credits, but I have done a fair amount of this on a very professional level.
For you to get into it , I would recommend a few things.
Start going to local theatres and shows where people in your town, with local conductors and drummers/percussionists are performing. Introduce yourself and tell them you you'd love to be a part of something, or would be available to sub. Ask to look at the book to see what you'd be getting into. If you are thinking about subbing you should and will need to sit in the pit to WATCH THE CONDUCTOR !!!! Learn what he is doing, how he counts off, how he starts and stops, how he cues. This skill cannot be stressed highly enough, and if you are going to sub it is essential. Part of your deal is to make people comfortable and secure, like you know what you are doing. Ha ha
On a local level you will likely be a multi percussionist, including drum set and mallets and timpani and accessories. Bigger productions have multiple guys.
Do an honest assessment of your level to know what you are capable of. You don't have to nail the sight reading, but if you **** it up more than two or three times people will definitely notice and may not ask you back.
Have good but flexible time. It's not about a "groove", the conductor has actors and singers to deal with and if they are dragging, he needs to speed the song up. don't take it personally, it's not you. Strong but flexible. You need a good knowledge of grooves and be comfortable playing them at the drop of a dime. Motown, two beat, 50's, 12/8, some brushes, basic rock. You absolutely cannot waste time learning and being comfortable with these beats..
You can play along with soundtracks, but without reading the music I don't think that would help. Practice the basics.. touch, time, dynamics, reading. You will need that eventually
If you see the book for a local show and you don't think you can handle it, don't say yes. Just keep practicing, and asking the guys out for lunch to talk. Or have them show you what the are doing. It might take time, but chances are it will pay off.
I think there's another few guys on the forum who do this stuff as well.
Hope this helps
Edited by jaymandude, 15 December 2016 - 12:21 PM.