What I Love About Opening Night

Jennifer Butler

OnStage Massachusetts Columnist

Picture this: You’re sitting in the green room with a little more than an hour before the curtain is to go up. The green room is bustling with noise. In one corner you can hear the iron sizzling as costume pieces get ironed. The clickity clack of character shoes can be heard as the actors move about getting the final pieces of everything ready to go. There is even that subtle hint of the smell of hairspray in the corner where the hair and make-up prep area is. You hear the running of the lines with the sounds of joy and nervousness with people realizing that its opening night and the nervousness of realizing that there are actually people in the audience, some of them we know and some we don’t.

Then there is the tech side. The stage manager and the run crew are triple checking that everything is in its place. The costumer making sure that the all the costumes are on the right racks and the props person making sure that there is a place for everything and that everything is in its place. The actors double check everything so they too know everything is good to go. There are some vocal warm ups and everyone will swiftly disappear back to the green room so that the house can be opened.  Opening Night is finally here!

Opening night is one of those special nights that occurs during the run of a show. It culminates the end of a sometimes long rehearsal process, and crazy tech week, and the start of the run of the show. Opening night for each theater is different and brings up so many of the same feelings. You’re relieved that it is finally here. How you survived tech week you’ll never know. Fearful that a prop is lost or that you will not remember your lines. The joy you feel because you are a part of the production and proud to be a part of telling the story and bringing both the director and the playwright’s vision to life. 

Putting the production together for the audiences is part of the reason why we do what we do.  We love to perform and having an audience helps with that. We put our hearts and souls into the rehearsal process to bring the story from the page to the stage for people to both enjoy and, sometimes, even relate to. But doing what we do, no matter what the length of the rehearsal process is, leads opening night to be both exciting and nerve wracking.

So whether you’re a part of your first production or a seasoned veteran of the stage there is one thinking that we can all agree upon.  That opening night is something special and something that only those involved in theater will get to experience and understand.