"The show must go on!" the director shouts. Stage managers are the people
who make sure it does. They aren't involved in making creative decisions.
But they basically run the show, making sure the play is organized, rehearsed
and ready for the stage on opening night.
Stage managers organize auditions, call all rehearsals and maintain a prompt
book. They prompt all actors (that is, locate and direct them when it's their
cue to step on stage) during rehearsals and performances.
"A stage manager facilitates a smooth-running production and is the sole
person who maintains the artistic integrity of the production," says Omar
Kamal. He is a stage manager in Kentucky.
Stage managers keep records to inform the producer about an actor's attendance,
hours, welfare benefits or whether overtime pay may be needed. Stage managers
also deal with discipline problems. They make sure that the props are available
and are brought in on cue. They may help with blocking.
In short, stage managers do whatever is necessary to make the rehearsals
and the entire run of a play go smoothly. This may mean anything from getting
a director a cup of coffee to administering first aid to an actor.
Stage managers work in theaters of all sizes. Some may work part time or
on contract at a local community theater. Others may work at a prestigious
Broadway theater in New York.
Most work in the performing arts requires work during the evenings and
holidays. It is no different for stage managers. They have to be available
during rehearsals and at all of the performances. Hours can be long.
"We often work late nights or long hours," says Carissa Dollar. She is
a stage manager in Indiana. "Because what we do in the arts is what everyone
else does for enjoyment, we work nearly every weekend and many holidays."
Stage management isn't a tough physical job. But it does require agility.
You need to be able to move quickly and quietly around backstage and run errands.
You should have some first aid and CPR training.