Author Topic: ASM work in Chicago  (Read 3069 times)

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ASM work in Chicago
« on: Oct 05, 2006, 10:32 am »
I know Chicago is a big town and it may be tough to get ASM work here, but I'm new to the city and really want to get the rest of my EMC points (or at least a paying job).  Does anyone have any pointers on finding a gig in Chicago (I already went out and got a copy of PerformInk)?  Anyone need an ASM :)?
"One cannot truly become an artist unless he has questioned his own sanity and lived in a haunted house." -Jasmine Rivera


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7 years worth of pointers on the Chicago scene
« Reply #1 on: Oct 06, 2006, 08:44 am »
Word. Of. Mouth.  You will live and die on your connections out here.  Certainly watch Performink and also watch the Reader, there are some things mentioned there.  Your best in will be as run crew or board op for any number of the smaller storefront theatres -- there's a billion of them and they are always shortstaffed.  Of course, the pay is slim to none.  Be particularly on the lookout for smaller companies that are putting on musicals.

The community of tech leads out here is small and intensely close-knit.  You see the same names over and over again.  A designer with any skill can be working four or five shows at once.  Folks working as Electricians and Carpenters for the larger houses will often do double duty as designers for the smaller ones.  For designers the Chicago turf extends up into Milwaukee and south into Indiana, but with very little play to the southern part of Illinois.

One group you may want to look into joining is The Saints, a volunteer group that provides ushering services and other such things to over 50 companies in the city and suburbs.  There are yearly dues, but it is a great way to get familiar with the major players and you get to see tons of shows for free.  Find more about them at

Other things you may want to learn early on are the locations of the major prop and costume houses, the layout of the El and the basics of the CAT contract.  There's a few big name theatres that use more robust contracts than the CAT Tiers, but for the most part if you're working for an Equity house out here you're gonna be on the CAT, where points are pretty hard to come by. Learn which companies are AEA and which aren't.  IA houses are mostly all contained in the loop.  AGMA is pretty much only at the Opera house.  SSDC is starting to get more representation, they've had a real push in Chicago lately.  USA is everywhere.  Get versatile in what you can SM -- a lot of Chicago stuff is improv or sketch and takes a stage manager who can run with little to no script at all.

Also, consider heading to that AEA shindig that I posted about in Get Togethers.  I won't be attending myself as I'm no longer active in the area as a stage manager, but it sounds like it might have some potential.  Joel Reamer's contact info is in that post -- he's a great contact to have around here as he sends out the AEA job postings bulletin for stage managers.  All of my job postings here on SMNetwork are merely reiterations of what I get from Joel.  Get on that mailing list!

Look around at the artsier colleges as well.  Most of their shows are staffed by students, but many of the faculty are also directors in the city.  Depaul, Columbia and Loyola all frequently loan students and faculty to the city's theatres.

Get portable.  Most companies out here, even the Equity ones, have no home base, they just bounce from theatre to theatre.  Be able to move your rehearsals from one hall to the next to a backyard to a garage from day to day, expect to attend production meetings in someone's kitchen.  Learn who the owners and production managers of the various buildings are, and get really friendly with them -- it will make your job so much easier to have them on your side.

Good luck!


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Re: ASM work in Chicago
« Reply #2 on: Nov 07, 2006, 12:09 am » has a section that just lists chicago area jobs.

also the league of chicago theatres has their own job listing site

its the two places I constantly look through. Depending how much money you need to get by you can also try getting EMC points through stage management internships at the larger theatres.


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