Coordinate all technical aspects of a live theatrical production.
What does a Stage Manager do?
Stage managers are responsible for the coordination of a live theatrical production, meaning that they ensure that the theater director’s artistic vision is realized and seamlessly reproduced on-stage.
This makes you the air traffic controller of backstage: “You’re on next, make those swords look shinier, watch out that dresser is going to fall, hey, extras, quiet down…” While this might seem like you’re the one-man band trying to make all the instruments hit perfect notes, sometimes you have help: Depending on the size of the production, you may be the sole stage manager or part of a stage management team that employs a stage manager as well as assistant stage managers.
The specifics of your job change with the production schedule. During rehearsals the stage manager works right alongside the director recording lighting cues, prop handling and entrances of all the players. These are kept in the prompt book, also known as “The Bible,” in which you note everything that is pertinent to the show.
Once the production opens, you call the cues during the performance. The technical crew reports to you and you report to the director—wireless headsets are often used for such communication among members of a theater production.
Being a part of a production in New York City’s theater district on Broadway is the dream of many in theater. However, there are many layers of theater leading up to that, from productions on cruise ships or theme parks to ones in Las Vegas or Branson, Missouri. Many stage managers get their start in community theater.