Musical theatre workshops and productions

Stage Etiquette

Life in the theatre is built on traditions and superstitions…and a lot of hard work.  I remember the very first musical that I was in: GUYS and DOLLS.  There were so many “newbies” that one of our supervisors backstage wrote a big sign with the “Commandments of the Stage,” to teach us what to do and what not to do.  I was reminded of this from a post I saw at onstageblog.com .   For those of you not in the theatre, I thought you might find these interesting:

  • Director = GOD. For many theatre people, this is easy.  We understand that the director is the captain of the ship….but along with this comes – Stage Manager = GOD’S ASSISTANT.  I learned early to make sure I did everything the stage manager said and to get on their good side.  Stage managers have a lot of power and influence.  More than once have I been in a casting discussion and the stage manager said “No, do not use this actor, they are trouble.”  And, of course, we did not use the actor.
  • On time is late! If your call to the theatre is 30 minutes before curtain (This is standard in professional theatres, community theatres and non-professional theatres may call the actors/technicians earlier), you must be PREPARED at 30 minutes before.  There may be some notes to go over, or the stage manager might have some announcements.  30 minutes is NOT enough time before a show to warm-up (vocally and physically) and get in makeup and costume and digest any new developments that might come your way.
  • Don’t be a backseat director. Actors receive notes from the director, choreographer and sometimes the stage manager but NEVER from another actor.   Young actors have a very difficult time with this.  I remember working on a production of professional production of GODSPELL where one of the actors was new to professional theatre (although he was NOT young).  And this guy could not stop giving actors notes throughout the rehearsal period, and even during the run of the show.  He was warned multiple times. Then he was fined!!!!

Of course, there are some more stage etiquette rules…..oh!  That sounds like another blog!

Larry Little

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