July 28, 2008

Tips for a successful stage door experience

Watching a Broadway musical is probably one of the most thrilling experiences for someone who's a big fan of a certain performer or a particular show. Remember the first time you sat in a theater to watch that show you've been wanting to see for the longest time? Yeah, you might think it's enough that you got to see your favorite stars (even when you're way up in the nosebleeder seats) and that you got to sing along to maybe all the show's songs. But one of the best parts come after the show, when you can get a chance to meet and greet the evening's performers, also known as stage dooring.

Stage dooring involves a bit of careful planning and strategizing so you can ensure that the experience will be truly memorable and worthwhile. Here are some tips that can make stage dooring easier for you.

1. First of all, you have to make sure that you have the right tools in hand, such as:
  • A camera
  • A Sharpie
  • The Playbill
  • A Ziploc to protect what will be your signed Playbill, especially when it's raining
  • A wingman, so one can have the Playbill signed while the other takes the photographs
2. Prior to entering the theater, look around the building to see where the stage door is so you know right away where you should head after the show.

3. After the show, head to the stage door. You'll see a barrier as well as a properly dressed man or woman standing sentry by the door. They're what we like to think of as the bouncers, and while they're usually nice and will pass on any gifts or message from you to your favorite performer, they are not to be trifled with; respect them, step back when they ask you to, and again, do not get sassy with them.

4. Have your Playbill ready. You can ask the performers to sign on the cover or on the page where their pictures are. Don't forget to hang on to your Sharpie as well. Some performers already have their own Sharpies, but others don't, and--you never know--one of them might ask to borrow yours for a while!

5. Stay in your spot. It's not likely that a scuffle will break out if you maneuver yourself in a location that a performer will most likely first head towards, but you don't want to actually elbow people out of the way.

6. Be patient. Don't start up a chant in order to get the performers to come out. Usually, the crew and the orchestra come out of the stage door first. Remember that just because they're not the stars of the show doesn't mean that you should give them your most disappointed look. At least smile at them.

7. When the performers finally come out of the stage door, wait for them to reach you and don't step in front of other people to get to them first. Once they're in front of you, You can also engage them in some conversation. Nothing heavy, however; it's enough for you to let them know that you loved the show and that you thought they were great. You can also let them know that you admired them in their roles in other productions as well. Don't monopolize their time and attention, however; there's still a whole slew of other fans waiting for their chance to speak with the performers.

8. Don't take photographs without permission. While the performers are signing your Playbill, ask them if you can take their photos or if you can have your photo taken with them. They'll usually oblige with a smile, but remember to keep the photos to a maximum of five shots. Any more and the performers won't have time for the other fans in line.

9. If a performer comes out of the stage door and doesn't stop to say hi, don't hold it against them. Many of them are understandably exhausted, surprisingly, a great number of them are actually pretty shy and private people.

10. By now, you're probably basking in the attention that was briefly showered upon you by the performers. Don't go seeking more of that attention by following the performers after they've left. The stage door guardians may sometimes leave their post to ask fans to leave the performers alone.

Got any more tips for people who are stage dooring for the first time? Leave your ideas in the comments section!


Carol said...

Not only good advice for a musical, but any kind of live show!

T Patrick said...

good advice for all. One additional thing If you know in advance you will be seeing the show get a photo of your favorite actor. You can get on line at several sites or in NYC at Jerry Ohlingers or Movie Star News. Put a post it with your name written on it on top the pic. Most actors will then personalize the photo to you and they also know you aren't collecting photos to sell on EBay

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