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Topics - Maribeth

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Self-Promotion / Flowers Stink!
« on: Sep 30, 2015, 09:20 pm »
The outdoor show that I'm working on is a cute TYA musical in DC. It's a collaboration between the Kennedy Center and the U.S. Botanic Garden, performing at the garden. If you're in the area, feel free to drop by- the Gardens are free, the show is free, and it's right on the National Mall. If you haven't visited the gardens before, it's a great place to visit- there are outdoor gardens, and a conservatory full of "themed" rooms like the Tropics, Orchids, and the Desert.

Flowers Stink!
Kennedy Center with U.S. Botanic Garden
Dir. Gregg Henry
Now through October 30th-

Something we haven't talked about in a while- outdoor venues! I just had my first rehearsal onstage (of a musical) in an outdoor venue, and wanted to share my experience and hear about yours.

Things to prep for:
  • What can be left outside/what can't
  • Bug spray and sunscreen!
  • Having water and cups available (and reminding folks to hydrate)
  • Hard playing surface (needing to add insoles to shoes)
  • Weather plan/checking the weather each day
  • Making sure not to damage surroundings! including but not limited to damage to grass/plants, leaving trash outside, making sure cables don't damage surroundings (cable runs instead of tape), etc
  • Needing additional sound support, and lots of ambient noise. Create a "top" level for mics so that the engineer can boost sound if the surroundings are louder
  • Limited power
  • Different lighting at different times of day
  • Dress appropriate! Hat, sunglasses, light layers, good footwear
  • Communication- walkie talkies? How are actors cued? What is the communication with FOH?
  • Plan for longer breaks if water/restrooms are farther away
  • Instruments going out of tune quickly due to temperature/humidity- having extras, or a plan to re-tune

Things I really wish I had done differently after my first day outside:
  • Brought more snacks! And more water, annoying to have to go and refill my water bottle on breaks
  • Brought a 2nd pair of shoes to change into (my favorite trick for long days)
  • Made sure I really took breaks. Totally exhausted by the end of the day.

What's your experience been with outdoor theatre? Any tips and tricks?

I'm going on tour for the first time next year, and I'm generating a list of questions to ask when arriving in a new venue. Tthe important logistics (esp. tech specs) will be determined ahead of time, so the questions I will be asking upon arrival are mostly about where things are/what certain procedures are. Anyone been on tour and have a list like this they'd be willing to share? Or, have any good questions to add to the list? There will be venue crew on each show so I wouldn't need to know all of the nitty-gritty details of the building.

  • Locations of: dressing rooms, green room, water, restrooms, laundry, callboard, valuables lockup, calling station, SM office (if available)
  • Any codes needed for the building (copier, door codes, etc)
  • Wifi info
  • How to communicate with HM (walkies, headset, phone) and  FOH procedures (house open, late seating, etc)
  • How to use backstage comms/PA/god mic/q lights
  • Who to ask if stage temp needs to be adjusted
  • Names of venue crew
  • Comp ticket procedures (this might be determined ahead of time, not sure)
Side note- I'd love to pick someone's brain about their touring experience. If you've done an AEA tour, especially a TYA production, I'd love to talk to you about it. Please PM me. Thanks!

The Green Room / ARTICLE/PHOTOS: The Fourth Wall
« on: Jul 15, 2015, 03:30 pm »
Really more of a photo essay than an article. Famous European theaters photographed from backstage.

Also a similar project photographing opera houses.

Some really gorgeous theatres!

The Green Room / Has anyone else ever noticed....
« on: Jun 08, 2015, 01:00 am »
....that when other stage managers come to see your show, that's the night that something will go wrong?

Great story about "playing it by ear" when the Arden lost power for their recent Gala. I love that the new plan involved moving the concert to the scene shop.

Self-Promotion / Zombie: The American
« on: May 19, 2015, 02:02 am »
About to go into tech for a new play, at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in DC. PWYC performances next Monday and Tuesday if you're in the area and interested. (There are also stampede seats and an under-30 discount.) It's a crazy play with a lot of wacky elements - I think it's going to be fun to run.

MAY 25–JUNE 21, 2015

The year is 2063 and Thom Valentine, the first openly gay President of the United States, faces a host of problems: an imminent civil war, the threat of an African invasion, an adulterous First Gentleman, and zombies in the basement of the White House! With his power, his marriage, and the nation’s well-being at stake, he must decide what he cares most about saving…and at what cost.

From the recesses of Robert O’Hara’s warped imagination comes a classically-inspired sci-fi thriller about a young Commander-in-Chief searching for the strength to hold our union together.

The Green Room / Dance documentaries on PBS
« on: May 09, 2015, 05:25 am »
Looks like there are some dance documentaries on PBS this week. Not directly stage management related but they look really interesting, especially the first one!

Born to Fly; Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity is the story of the groundbreaking choreographer sometimes called “the Evel Knievel of dance.” In over 30 years of practice, she has pioneered a movement form called “POPACTION,” which is couched in the exploration of human potential – both physical and emotional.

As seen in the film, Streb’s dancers become part acrobat, part gymnast, and part extreme thrill seeker as they walk on walls, dive through glass, and move so fast they seem to disappear and fly. Born to Fly culminates with Streb and her dancers preparing and presenting gravity-defying performances in London’s Cultural Olympiad leading up to the 2012 Olympics.

Also, American Ballet Theatre: A History- in honor of the company's 75th anniversary.

Tools of the Trade / A very silly ToTT
« on: Apr 29, 2015, 11:12 pm »
Okay, mostly for a joke I bought one of these. It's a tiny desktop vacuum (shaped like a mushroom) that runs off of AA batteries. I'm in rehearsals for a new play right now and there is LOTS of erasing and rewriting as things change, and I can't stand the constant layer of eraser bits that covers my book and desk. This thing actually works! Totally silly but I'm loving it.

Job Postings / SM needed for ArtStream (DC area)
« on: Mar 27, 2015, 12:53 pm »
ArtStream, a company that creates original theater productions with people with disabilities, is seeking a last-minute replacement SM.

Looking for someone to begin ASAP on Tuesday nights. The rehearsals are from 7-9 at Round house Education Center in Silver Spring. (metro accessible)
925 Wayne Ave
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Rehearsals Every Tuesday night except April 7.

Tech and performances at Silver Spring Black Box Theater (also metro accessible)
8641 Colesville Road
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Load in June 15th (during the day)

Tech rehearsals June 15 - 18 ~5-10pm

Performances June 19 (7:30pm), June 20 & 21 (2:30pm), June 26 (7:30pm), June 27 & 28 (2:30pm). STRIKE immediately following the final performance. This is a paid position. If interested, please contact Patti Woolsey at

Curiosity question. When do you start getting involved with creating/adjusting the rehearsal schedule for a show? Prep week? Earlier?

Don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour this Sunday, March 8th (and remind your cast as well!) Nothing worse than someone running an hour behind.....

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