My Relationship with Props

My Relationship with Props

Props to any show are as vital as the scenery, lighting, sound, and costumes. A prop to a show can be such an important aspect of the plot. In some cases, the storyline may even be about a prop. I’ve been a Props Master for a few shows and let me tell you, it’s not as easy as some may think. It’s definitely not just going out and buying a bunch of props on the list. It’s about finding and creating objects that are time appropriate and physically appealing to the eye and finding the best and most authentic props while staying within a budget. It should be treated like building the scenery for a show or designing costumes. It’s all about creation. Here are some tips of my own, taken from personal experience.

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Working in Community and Professional Theatre: The Differences and Similarities

Working in Community and Professional Theatre: The Differences and Similarities

In the artistic/creative industry, theatre is theatre in my opinion, but what many people fail to realize is that there are different levels/kinds of theatre in terms of community and professional companies. On a deeper level, there is absolutely no difference in the art itself. I think acting and even directing is the same on all levels of theatre and the methods of acting or the way directors direct are generally the same or are based on their own ways of doing things. It’s a personal choice of how you portray a character or the methods you take to get there, but in a technical sense, the process can differ depending on the company.

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Stage Manager 101: Calling Cues

Stage Manager 101: Calling Cues

What does it actually mean to “call a show?” To me, it’s an art or at least I treat it like one. It’s actually not the easiest thing to explain because of the many different elements that come into play, however, once you get the hang of it, it becomes a rhythm…..that is in most cases. In a nutshell, this is where the stage manager calls the lighting, sound and scene change cues (or whatever else) for a show. The cues control everything you see happening in a technical sense on stage. 

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The Great (Scenic) Work Begins with Reinvention for “Angels In America’s” Edward Pierce

The Great (Scenic) Work Begins with Reinvention for “Angels In America’s” Edward Pierce

For scenic designer Edward Pierce, the biggest challenge of bringing the much-lauded London production of Tony Kushner’s “Angels In America” to Broadway was the sheer scale of the show. The two-part, eight-hour show has over 70 locations from the realistic (an apartment, a synagogue, a doctor’s office) to the fantastical (a hallucinogenic version of Antarctica and a version of the afterlife). The London production, helmed by Marianne Elliott and designed by Ian MacNeil, was housed in a cavernous theater with plenty of wing space, a luxury not afforded in New York’s Neil Simon Theatre. Luckily, this is just the kind of challenge Pierce specializes in.

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Stage Manager 101: Who We Are & Why We're Important

Stage Manager 101: Who We Are & Why We're Important

What does a Stage Manager do? It’s the hardest question I’m asked and one that people ask me almost every time I tell a person that I stage manage productions. I always struggle with where to start because there is literally so many aspects of the job. It is such a complex department of the theatre world and there is no single answer to the question. This is my approach and hopefully, I can offer some useful tips to all of you stage managers out there.

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An Exclusive Chat with Clifford Schwartz, Production Supervisor of "Frozen"

An Exclusive Chat with Clifford Schwartz, Production Supervisor of "Frozen"

When the average person thinks of a career within Broadway, they are most likely thinking about the actors and on-stage performers. The reality is that takes a team to build a hit Broadway show, and a lot of the needed creativity comes from the crew overseeing a show’s production. In the case of Clifford Schwartz, a veteran Production Supervisor and Stage Manager for a multitude of hit Broadway shows, he often spends years preparing for a show’s launch, long before an opening date has even been decided.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Schwartz about his past, present and future behind-the-scenes on Broadway. Schwartz’s current work schedule ought to simultaneously intrigue and puzzle the majority of Onstage Blog readers, as it not only shows how busy Disney keeps him, but also how much planning goes into what he does. Since our Q&A, Frozen has opened in New York, immediately reaching Top 10 Broadway sales status.

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"Can We Tech This?" : Tips for Small Theatre Companies

"Can We Tech This?" : Tips for Small Theatre Companies

Congratulations on selecting your shows! I know you considered the larger tech elements while in the selection process, but now that you've got your shows picked, it’s time to start looking at specifics. I have seen many cases where theatre companies didn't take into account everything they would need going into a production, and this inevitably leads to hair-tearing-out levels of stress for producers, directors, designers, stage managers, and potentially anyone else involved in the production.

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"Opening Doors" with Cruise Ship Floor Technician Dana Umble

"Opening Doors" with Cruise Ship Floor Technician Dana Umble

In my first Opening Doors column with Broadway producer Greg Nobile, he said something that really stuck with me: “The great news about being in theater is there's no formula for how you get there.” In this month’s edition, you’ll meet 24-year-old Dana Umble, whose unique path to working in stage management currently has her sailing all over the Caribbean. She is an entertainment floor technician for Carnival Cruise lines, a job which she’s had since graduating college at Quinnipiac University.

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Putting The World’s Most Beautiful Theatres and Auditoriums in the Limelight

Putting The World’s Most Beautiful Theatres and Auditoriums in the Limelight

The majority of theatres across the world are stunning spaces. No matter what their size, the way they are constructed and designed make them appeal to the masses – it’s part of what makes going to the theatre such a wonderful experience. Yes, seeing a great performance will be enjoyable no matter where you are or what your surroundings, but if you can see it in a gorgeous place with magnificent surroundings then it will be even further enhanced. The theatre isn’t just about the show, after all – it’s the entire experience combined from getting dressed up to go out to the theatre itself.

The following theatres are some of the most iconic and beautiful in the world. How many have you visited? How many are on your wish life? We love them all!

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Maybe We Should Start Paying Attention To The Ones Behind The Curtains

Maybe We Should Start Paying Attention To The Ones Behind The Curtains

It’s a line that a lot of us will at least vaguely recognize from The Wizard of Oz, and also one that can be quite apt to apply to those who work backstage on shows. Indeed, it can be said to be true that the less we see of them from the audience, the better they’re doing their job. And while this is certainly true in the setting of show night in the middle of a scene, maybe it’s time we started paying just a bit more attention to the people who help make sure that the show goes up every night.

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Tech Crews Dedicate Themselves to Making Performers Stars

Tech Crews Dedicate Themselves to Making Performers Stars

They never get to take a bow and be adored by the audience for all their hard work. They have a combination of saintly patience dispersed with the ability to complete 20-second interludes of chaotic frenzy doing very important things that are crucial to the success of a show. They spend hours on costumes, set design, building, painting, sound and lighting plots, changing lights, microphone batteries, standing in the dark and the list goes on…...and on.

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Local Theatre Costumers are Criminally Underappreciated

Local Theatre Costumers are Criminally Underappreciated

We all know the most central creative roles in any theatrical production. There is the playwright, who is the prime artist responsible for creating a show to produce. There is the director, who – after reading the script and interpreting it – creates his or her own unique vision for the show, and then is responsible for executing it. Finally, there are the actors, who bring the show to life through the characters – some of which may be vastly different from their real-life personas – that they each portray during the performance.

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