Author Topic: JOB DESCRIPTION: differance between mucial theatre SM and ordinary theatre SM  (Read 6113 times)

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gadget

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Hi this question is for an assignment, i am in my second year of uni and this will be for an oral that I have to present.

The Question: to explain the differnaces and other stage management techniques used in musical theatre that differ for those in ordinary theatre
« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2009, 10:12 pm by PSMKay »

loebtmc

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differance between mucial theatre SM and ordinary theatre SM
« Reply #1 on: Oct 03, 2004, 04:00 pm »
As this is a school assignment, I'd love to hear your thoughts first - brainstorm it - what do you think might be different and/or have to be dealt with differently - think both rehearsal and performance -

Once you have cogitated a bit and there is a sense of you heading in the right direction, I will be happy to weigh in and give you some of my thoughts -

centaura

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different countries, different roles
« Reply #2 on: Oct 04, 2004, 12:01 am »
I would also be interested in seeing you brainstorm, from another perspective.  I'm an american stage manager, who spent a year in London training and working.  And I found the differences in what their stage managers do and what US ones do very interesting.  I see that you hail from 'down under' and I'd be curious to see if you were closer to British standards or US standards.

-Centaura

gadget

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differance between mucial theatre SM and ordinary theatre SM
« Reply #3 on: Oct 04, 2004, 07:43 am »
Well what I have already come up with is:
(m) is musicals (o) is ordinary
REHEARSALS: (m) princpal, chorus, dance and band (orchestra) apart from cast only in (o) and  (m) more rehearsals over a longer time period as well as more tech and dress rehearsals
 (m) larger and more complex sets and electrics which relates to longer production schedules and bump in/ out periods.. allowing for set mechanics, riggging lx and flys, foscusing, ploting etc.

(m) more complicated blocking
(m) more complex q's for calling as well as sound/mic plots
(m) calling show.. . having an ablity to follow the score if the LX designer has assigned q's on certian beats in a bar
(m) as well as more dome (followspot) ques

with (m) you have to be on the ball , you may have more than on person calling the show.. i.e 1 dsm for lx, effects etc and 1 calling dome q's

in general, more people working on the show from mechs to lx team to domes to wardrobe assistants as well as larger cast (chorus)

(m) more on going set, wardrobe maintainance
(m) extra calls during breaks in season or touring to keep everyone in tune
 if touring more equipment..more trucks and paper work
as well as more paper work in general from rehearsal/proformance reports, props lists and running order, character scene breakdowns, issueing of different scores to people. princpal scores chorus scores.. etc

at the mo that's all that I've come up with .. I would also like to if possible hear your own experiances from sming and musical compared with ordinary theatre as well this assignment is also for the development of contacts within the industry.
Thank You
Gadget

loebtmc

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differance between mucial theatre SM and ordinary theatre SM
« Reply #4 on: Oct 04, 2004, 12:24 pm »
Here are some thoughts - albeit a bit scattered -

In a musical, you have music v acting rehearsals, and the chorus v the leads - it is up to the music director to schedule and rehearse the orchestra (or band) in their own time - you actually don't have to deal w that until they move into the theater. But you want to find time for what's called a sitzprobe, which is where the orchestra and singers work in their respective spaces, going number to number, without any other pieces.

You need to factor choreography into the mix, which is a big chunk of your rehearsal time (esp if you are working w nondancers or "moves well" actors)

You can usually schedule concurrent rehearsals in separate spaces early on for chorus and principles because they often aren't on stage at the same time, so the chorus works music or choreography while the director works w the leads, and vice versa. It's best if they can afford a rehearsal accompaniest so you can have music in both rooms. And even if it's a show without a chorus, you will need to add in rehearsals where the performers sit with the musical director and learn the songs.

This is an area where having an assistant is essential - you can each be in a rehearsal room keeping an eye on things.

And for big group scenes, we sometimes split up taking blocking notes as leads v chorus, or SL v SR, depending on the nature of the blocking. Also, some songs are blocked and some are choreographed - so you want a dance captain who tracks all the movements of the chorus (and is responsible for keeping the dances correct and clean) - that takes one thing off your plate (tho you still need to have some sense of where everyone goes and what they do)
 
Unlike legit plays where you can buy a copy easily and simply keep it, you often have to collect the rented scripts and scores at the close of a musical and send them back to the company holding the rights.

You also have to add in piano-tuning time, tho how often will vary depending on how hard the instrument is worked and if you are sitting or touring. The tuner needs a couple of hours of relative quiet and can overlap lighting tech work, but the incessant pitch adjustments can drive folks crazy. And the piano will need to be tuned several times during a run.  

You always need a call at a new theater to re-space and to hear the room, but that isn't different from a straight play.

Yes, there often are more cues. What I love is that you never have time to get bored in a musical - altho I gotta warn you, straight plays can have just as many wild and crazy and complex technical aspects. And you want a whole lotta batteries for the sound packs (tho that is usually the sound person's bailiwick)

There can be more backstage people, or less, again totally show-dependant. My two fastest quickchanges, both requiring dressers, have been with PHANTOM (a musical) and THE REAL THING (a straight play).

There is more but I think I will stop here to collect my thoughts (I just opened a complex and challenging show and my brain needs a rest!)

centaura

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differance between mucial theatre SM and ordinary theatre SM
« Reply #5 on: Oct 04, 2004, 11:14 pm »
Some good thoughts there.  I will throw in a second to the fact that non-musicals can be just as, or more complicated, than a musical.  Depends on the show.  I once did a non-musical version of Jane Eyre in which I had over 300 cues to call.

But, you've got a lot of the basics.  There is more scheduling to do with as you're often able to split things for rehearsal.  And you're more likely to be calling from a score, or have certain sections where you're calling from a score.  I will actually insert pages of the score into my script if I have to call cues with music.

Is your oral focusing on just large-scale productions?  The role of stage manager can expand when you start talking about non-union regional theatres.  With non-musicals, if there are not a lot of cues, the stage manager can sometimes be assigned other roles, like light board operator, as well as calling shows.  That happens a lot on the mainstage of the company I work for.  They have a lighting designer, but he can't run every show.  It saves them money to have the SM call from the light booth and run the board during performances.

-Centaura

gadget

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differance between mucial theatre SM and ordinary theatre SM
« Reply #6 on: Oct 05, 2004, 06:45 am »
I want to say thank you to both of you, its certainly provided some valuable insight.

We are majorly focused on professional shows rather than the amateur side, how in my 12 years of experiance and 40 shows later of working in amatuer theatres, professional gigs, and events and concerts I have picked up a great deal of info which has helped me to go to uni to learn the 'professional' way to do things. With the assignment my fellow class mates have other forms they have to talk about, special events and festivals (yes thre are only three including myself left in the class of second year stage mangement and technical production class). It designed mainly more at the Austrailian theatre industry with a basic coverage of film and TV production.

I certainly am intrested in getting aboard after graduating next year to experiance the differances in styles for the americian, british and german sides of stage mangement.

Thank you once again.

ChaCha

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differance between mucial theatre SM and ordinary theatre SM
« Reply #7 on: Oct 05, 2004, 07:11 am »
There tends to be a lot more emphasis on sound ...all those radio mics....

foldback, etc but unless its a  very small show you will have sound people to worry about it.

The relationship between the director and the choreographer can be very central to the process and hence to your experience...do they get on/talk & communicate/have the same vision or do you have to be an intermediary?

Big commercial musicals can have a lot of understudy calls after the show opens to keep the covers at performance rediness as if the singers have sore throats they cant perform as easily as an actor can. The stage manager may well run these, so lots of hours a week even after opening.
ChaCha

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