Dear Broadway Audiences, You Are Not Owed a Stage Door Appearance
Seldom does a week go by where I don't see message boards light up with rage if a certain performer of a certain show doesn't come out to greet the fans by the stage door, after the show.
While I understand the disappointment they may feel not being able to get an autograph or selfie with their favorite performer, I'll never understand the hateful comments towards those who don't grace the stage door audience with their presence.
Recently one such actor has found himself at the center of some of that hate. Ben Platt, the Tony-winning star of Dear Evan Hansen has made it known that he does not often do the stage door because of the toll the performance takes on him.
However, not everyone seems to be getting that message. For instance, one audience member chose to post the following...
So in response to the repeated outrage, Platt responded on Twitter with the following statement,
"Performing Dear Evan Hansen every night is wonderful but also hugely tough- as much as I would like to be out there every night, very often I cannot come to the stage door after the performance. My priority must always be self-care so I can recreate the same quality show each night. That's my job, and what each and every audience member is paying for and deserves. Before you tweet hateful things about how I don't value our incredible fans when I can't come to the door, please pause to consider that my responsibility to them is first and foremost to give my all each night. I preserve myself because I value each of them deeply."
Having seen the show, I get it. Very rarely have I seen a musical theatre performer go to the places Ben Platt does. And the fact that he does it eight times a week is even more impressive. Given what he leaves on stage, there has to be a complex physical and mental decompression that takes place to be able to do it the same way 24-hours later.
So if Platt can't do a stage door autograph/selfie session after a performance that exhausts him, give the guy some slack. In fact, give all performers some slack.
There is nothing on your ticket that states you are entitled to an autograph/meet & greet after the show. You paid for the performance and the performance is over. Any obligation the cast has to you has ended.
The stage door is not an event. It is you standing by a door hoping to catch the performers as they leave the theatre to go home. If some performers are able to stop for a few signings and photos, gravy. If not, try to understand that they are literally just trying to leave work.
"Stage dooring" is not a right, it's a privilege. While you might not get to see the performers you hoped for, you may have a life-changing interaction with another performer. Which is what happened to me when I saw "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" and was hoping to catch B.D Wong and ended up having a 10-minute conversation with some young woman named Kristin Chenoweth...I wonder whatever happened to her?
So the point is, enjoy the stage door because it exists and embrace those who spend the time to greet you after they just performed. And cut some slack to those who just gave you the best performance they could.