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Messages - RuthNY

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It really depends on the show. If it's a new script, do it single sided, as rewrites will be much harder to insert if it's double sided. I'm not sure there is one single "standard," otherwise.

How about for staged readings? Is there a standard for that?

Tools of the Trade / Re: Dressing Room Mirror Lights
« on: Nov 30, 2018, 08:34 am »
Equity is now using this as the basis for required mirror light in dressing rooms. It's the new standard!

Thanks for breaking down the information for all of us, KMC!


The specification that Ruth provided is quite helpful.  Reading through this briefly your key points are 1) a color temperature in the 2700-3500K range  (2700 is warmer and will be what most people associate as a "normal" color and 2) CRI rating of 85 or higher.  You can easily find relatively-inexpensive LED lamps that meet both of these criteria.   

I wouldn't go and change every makeup station immediately, but your heat-sensitive performer may be a good test case in considering swapping out all of your makeup lighting for LED.  If you make the switch it will save your facility a considerable amount of energy cost: each lamp will save you roughly 5x its cost in energy over its life, and this doesn't include indirect savings from reduced cooling costs.

In any case (LED or otherwise), keep the specification document handy as it will be a good data point for you to use in the inevitable case that someone deems the quality of your selected lamp unacceptable.

Tools of the Trade / Re: Dressing Room Mirror Lights
« on: Nov 29, 2018, 11:00 am »

So having an actor that overheats and sweats easily has caused us to reopen a conversation about converting dressing room mirror incandescent lights to something else that would show off less heat and still keep color proper for makeup purposes.  Has anyone come up with or seen a viable alternative to regular incandescent lightbulbs? 


Wow. I sure hope the SM team gets to complete a survey on the cast, crew, and designers for the same reason.

Hello All,

I am trying to make an anonymous survey that the cast, crew, and design team completes regarding the Stage Management Team and if they have any criticisms or ways to improve. Does anyone have any suggestions for what I should be asking?

Thanks in advance for your support!

Funny! I also can't help keeping track of how many times in one show I say "Go" on or just after the scripted word "go."  In my current show it's twice.

(I always enjoy when my cue times w the word "go in the script..." tho it always takes a moment for board ops to hear me as opposed to the actor)

In LORT, Production Meetings ARE counted in the SMs total hours, EXCEPT in Tech week.

I seem to recall that production meetings are time not counted in the SMs total hours. So this is actually an interesting conundrum. (Am I misremembering this contract? I remember having this specific discussion more than once....).

As far as I know, this was not addressed in the recent negotiations. But the rule quoted earlier should cover a situation where the SM is required to attend a meeting over a meal break. A smart producer/AD/manager will ask the SM department to stagger meals breaks so that eveyone is covered and no gets overtime. 

However, there's a catch in the LORT book that seems to be in our favor. It's this rule:
(H)Working Conditions for Stage Managers and Assistant Stage Managers.
(1) The Stage Manager or Assistant Stage Manager must be present at all rehearsals and performances. The Theatre shall not require members of the Equity Stage Managerial staff to absent themselves from rehearsals or performances.

What this says to me, is that only the SM can make the decision on staggered meal breaks, depending on what is happening in rehearsal and what personnel is necessary to run said call. But I've never tested this out in real time with a producer and a business rep's interpretation.

Thanks for these helpful responses. As a follow-up I'd like to know whether the recent LORT contract specifically addresses the situation when the stage managers miss their meal break in order to attend production meeting? Thanks again for your support and advice.

LORT actually has a rule about that, Fred.  "If the Theatre requires the Stage Manager or Assistant Stage Manager to work during the meal break, including, but not limited to, work which is necessary in order to enable a rehearsal to resume properly and appropriately on time, the Theatre shall provide the Stage Manager or Assistant Stage Manager with a meal and pay no less than one hour of overtime." (64-I-3-b)

So, your trepidation about presetting over break is correct.  You and your AEA assistants are not to do so, unless the person who approves overtime at the institution give their consent.

Pat and Vernon have already given great advice.  Staggering breaks is a great solution. However, as you suggest, letting the director in on the rule, and telling them that your department will begin preset as soon as the break is over, is also a choice. Depending on your relationship with them, of course. They can do scene work, or notes, or music until you are ready. There's ALWAYS something small that needs work.

But, you are backed up on this one, by a very specific written rule.

Need your advice:  I am PSM at a LORT C theater and am in rehearsal for  HELLO DOLLY. Just before the Company went on its scheduled one hour lunch break the director  announced he wanted to have a stumble-through of the entire show after lunch ( A major schedule change!!). I have two ASMs and one production assistant. My question is whether to: Take our required one hour meal break and return in a hour to preset for the stumble-through  thereby delaying the start of stumble-though; OR do the preset over the lunch break and eat in whatever remaining time is left before afternoon rehearsal begins; OR advise the Producer stage management will be putting in for penalty meal time if they have work through the meal break; OR stagger  individual breaks of stage management so each has a full hour to eat as well as preset for the stumble through;OR immediately point out to the director some of the consequences his decision to change the schedule have made for stage management. I am assuming that all members of the stage management here will support the final decision. I know there are other solutions and I  welcome your alternative suggestions. Thanks!

The Hardline / Re: AEA ELECTIONS VOTE!!!!
« on: Apr 29, 2018, 10:31 am »
Thank you, Pat! Your support is much appreciated!

Yes, all, please vote!

And, if you'd like advice on who to vote for, I'm sure many of us here would be willing to offer assistance.



It's that time again our own amazing Ruth E Kramer is running, along with some other folks. Please feel free to ask any of us our thoughts on the candidates running (ideally over PM), but no matter what, please VOTE. This is a really important election (I know, I know, aren't they all)


Calling button bumps is something you practice the very first and second days of rehearsal when the cast is learning music.  That's the SMs opportunity to learn the music too, and count/memorize the final notes of any song.  Learn the button bumps just as you learn where the music changes are in dance numbers, because yes, there will be a light change there, too.

Now although some of this is about preparation, it's MUCH, MUCH more difficult without a conductor cam.  Without a cam, the singers and conductor must do the same thing at every performance if they want that kind of cue at the end of the number to be both correct and effective.  If the singer is given latitude to cut off whenever they want to, that can be a huge issue.

Talk to your conductor, and ask them to count the end of each number for you,  That way it's much easier to find the "GO" even without a cam.

1-2-3-4-5-6-sev-go-eight, will give you the correct bump on eight every time, and you adjust for other time signatures.

Best of luck,

I simply use "Nothing to report," in each section where there is nothing to report.

To me, I think the difference comes down to how it meshes with your demeanour generally - I'm a warm person, but low key and I tend to err on the side of seriousness, and so "No notes, Thank you!" or such would come off as insincere from me, whereas it would sound entirely sincere and friendly from someone whose normal demeanour was similarly bubbly.

Personally, I like to keep things simple. The point of "no notes" is to affirm that I haven't just forgotten to include their notes, they can be positively sure there's nothing to worry about, so in the body of the email I say:

"Hi all,

Notes today are for Wardrobe, Props, Paint, and Projections.

NO notes for Sets, LX, or Audio.


...and then in the report itself I will have boxes titled "Sets" "LX" &c., with nothing further in them.

Introductions / Re: Greeting from on the road
« on: Feb 03, 2018, 09:05 am »
I think what this means is that the Barter Theatre is putting out the tour, and has hired TWUSA to do the booking of the tour. TWUSA has a department that books other artists into venues.

Hey Erin-

Barter Theatre is actually paired with Theatre Works USA for this tour. Here's a link to Theatre Works USA, Clementine.

We are primarily East Coast, New England area, but do travel in as far as Ames, Iowa.


Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Saving Prompt Books
« on: Jan 15, 2018, 08:29 am »
The prompt book actually belongs to the producing organization, and should be left with them  If you purchased the binder and the tabs with your personal money, put the book's contents in a large envelope, inquire where or with whom you should leave it, and walk away.

Now that being said, there is no reason you can't photocopy or scan your work prior to turning in the book, and keep a copy. I like to scan my calling script and keep the virtual version with all the virtual paperwork in a computer file. I keep no blocking records whatsoever. Sure, if I KNOW a show is going to be remounted or tour and that I am going to be involved, yes I would keep the blocking as well. But not otherwise.

Your mileage may vary, but I see no reason to keep old scripts.  Except maybe one to show in interviews, if anyone ever asks for that anymore.  But, once i'm done with a show, it's time to move on.

I've been a stage manager for a little bit now and I've collected quite a collection of prompt books. I've always been taught to save them, but I never knew why. I understand that if we ever work the show again, it might be helpful, but when I've worked on a show again, I usually just use all my digital files, and thats it. (I would also love to re-use some of these binders/tabs that are collecting dust in my closet to save some money)

I guess my question is what does everyone do with their old prompt books? Do you save everything? Do you just save the script? And if you do save them, what is the reason?

The Green Room / Re: Remembering Nick Tochelli
« on: Oct 06, 2017, 08:40 am »
To his wife Anna, and his family. I am so sorry for your loss.

To us here at SMNetwork, remember our colleague, Nick. Search his posts and look at them. Remember and use anything he suggested that might make sense to you. It's one small way to make sure his life mattered.

The Green Room / Re: Directors Giving Notes after Opening
« on: Mar 21, 2017, 10:16 am »
It's a community theatre and they each have their own culture and rules. Others have already posted about what would be Equity rules, practices and etiquette. I would just like to offer that if the Board really has this house rule for their shows, you choices are:

1. Meet with the Board and convince them they are wrong. Maybe you can get them to change their policy.
2. Give your notes to the SM. Let them communicate all notes to the cast and report back to you.
3. Continue to do what you are doing, knowing that it will cause bad feelings with the Board, and make your peace with the fact that they may not ask you to direct there again.

Those are your three choices as I see them.  No union rules cover this theatre and the Board is free to run things as they see fit.

I am directing a show in Camden, NJ that is community theatre, even though they bill themselves as professional.  It is non Equity and basically community theatre actors.

We opened 2 weeks ago and attended the show this past Friday.  One of the actors has altered her costume and I contacted the stage manager to let her know to tell the actor it needs to be readded.

A Board rep informed me that I am not allowed to give notes or talk to the cast after we opened.

This was not agreed on and not in contract with the company.

I have been looking on line to see if there are any rules pertaining to this - even in actors Equity.  Am I correct that as the shows director that when there are issues such as this, that there are no rules about this.


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