Friday, November 16, 2007

An Appreciation

“Swingtime Canteen” opens at Hanover Tavern, “Plaid Tidings” is in previews down at the Mill, and “Cats” is even in town – things are really picking up now! Is anyone going to “Cats”? And if so, why? If you saw SPARC’s production of “Cats” a couple of summers ago, do you really need to see it ever again?

Speaking of that production (smooth segue), one of the actresses in the SPARC show was Ali Thibodeau who is the big sister of Michael who is in the upcoming “A Christmas Story” at Theatre IV. Though I have admired her performances from afar in the past, it was my pleasure to meet her the other day and to find out some exciting news: she’s in the running for the national tour of “Spring Awakening.” She’s already been through 4 auditions and so is one of the final contenders. I’d love to write an inspiring “local girl makes it big” story (it is all about me, after all) so I’m rooting for Ali and I hope all of you out in the blogosphere will be as well.

So here’s one of my insights from my renewed “insider” perspective on the local theater scene – but I’m afraid it falls under the “annoying love fest” category. When I go to a show, I seldom really read the program cover to cover, skimming through many of the bios and mostly overlooking the names other than the lead actors and principle techies. What I have forgotten is how vital and generally awesome all the people behind all those often-overlooked other names are. This won’t be any big revelation to you folks in the biz already but it’s something I think us regular folks forget. After my son got cast in “A Christmas Story,” the main contact we’ve had is with folks like production manager Ginnie Willard and stage manager Ariel Osborne. And while the director may be the guy behind the steering wheel, it’s people like Ginnie and Ariel who keep the production purring along without crashing into a tree. Or who help out parents who are trying to juggle 47 things in addition to getting their child to rehearsal on time.

So my respect goes out to you behind the scenes folks – the prop runners (that was my job!), the lighting board operators, the house managers, the assistant costumers, etc. etc. It is unlikely that I’ll ever have the space or the occasion to recognize an outstanding effort by a stage manager in a published review. But let me say here that I have been reminded over the past couple of weeks how important you all are to a successful production and, while you might not see it in print, I hope you know you are appreciated.

1 comment:

Andrew Hamm said...

Amen! Mad props to Heather Johnson, the stage manager for Richard II, who wrangled, wangled, put up with nonsense, mothered us all, organized a chair-carrying party, and always kept us pointed in (generally) the right direction. And to the idiots who've agreed to stage manage or run tech for me in the past such as Ginger Vanhoozer (The Blizzard of '93), Jo Bachman, Tim Crews, and Andy Waters (Joe Jackson's Night and Day), Tony Lombard (Doctor Faustus), and whatever poor sap ends up stage managing the sure-to-be-bedlam I anticipate with As You Like It.