Crew: The Unsung Heros of Theatre

I believe every actor should do some form of crewing at least once in their career. No one realizes just how hard and important of a job it is until they’ve done it themselves. I myself am currently crewing a show right now, though this is not my first time taking on a show from the wings.

I walked into this one thinking it’d be the easiest crew experience I’d ever had… If you’ve ever worked backstage before, you probably laughed at that last sentence (and rightly so). I joined the production about two weeks out from opening night, I was supposed to help a friend with a quick change and that was really it. The first rehearsal I walked into, I was asked to costume the show as the previous costumer had fell through. So now I’m doing the quick change I initially came to do and costuming the show in two weeks… no biggie, I can handle this.

Then we start talking about makeup and I get myself into doing that too. So now on show nights, I do some age makeup before the show, I handle the quick change between the scenes in act one, I do a lot more aging during intermission, and I do some SUPER fast aging between the scenes in act two (for clarity’s sake, each scene jumps a decade, so all of the actors age ten years between each scene). I also usher when we have no ushers signed up for the night.

And before I go any further, I should note that I’m not looking for any kind of praise for taking on all these tasks. This is not a paid position, it was all 100% choice and I could have said no, but I chose not to because I thrive on the chaos that is live theatre. I merely wanted to paint for you a picture of a standard night in crewing.

The point of this story is– crew people are jacks-of-all-trades. Because they have to be. Crew are the unsung heros of the world of theatre and it’s time we as actors start regularly singing their praise. If you don’t think crew are some of the most important people in a production, try a run without them; I guarantee you won’t make it out of the first act alive.

So next time a crew member isn’t there to hand you your prop, a set piece is missing, your mic cuts out, or you don’t even know what’s going on with the lighting, try not to get mad and berate the crew, because chances are that what happened was way less significant than what would have happened without them. Crew make countless split second decisions each night to keep the show moving without a hitch and sometimes those decisions come down to what is going to cause the least issues, because a flawless choice doesn’t exist.

Bottom line: Respect your crew. Appreciate your crew. Love your crew.

blog sign off
Break a leg,
-Brandi
find me on social media,
twitter: @bwaybrandi
Instagram: @sugarbutterbrandi
snapchat: broadwaybrandi
email: brandinyc525600@gmail.com

Now What?

You’ve just closed a show. You’re sad, you’re tired, and you’re bored out of your mind. You’ve gone from practically living in the theater to an abundance of free time. So how do you fill it?

Well, if you know what your next show is, start researching it and planning your audition material! Start making a decision on your top choice roles, find a song and/or a monologue or two to audition with, and think about characterization decisions you’ll make if you’re asked to read for a specific role.

See shows!! Support other community/school theatres.  Return the favor to all the friends that came to support you. You spent your time bringing joy, laugher, and tears to the eyes of your audience, so settle in and enjoy someone else doing all the work while you relax and take in a show.

Get ahead on projects for school or work that will get pushed right back onto the backburner as soon as you start your next show. Right that big paper, get that stack of paperwork off your desk, or just get more organized.

Hang out with your friends! Chances are they’ve heard the phrase, “I can’t, I have rehearsal,” more times than either of you can count; so take advantage of the extra time while you still have it.

Read. If you have a TBR pile like mine, you probably have books falling off your shelves… maybe you can knock a few off before your next show.

Take some time to relax. Shows are taxing physically and mentally, some take a heavier toll than others. It’s important to give yourself at least a couple days to decompress before you throw yourself into the next project. Take a bath, light your favorite candle, snuggle your pet, do whatever makes your heart feel cozy.

What is your favorite way to combat the post-show blues?

Until next time,

Break a leg,
-Brandi
find me on social media,
twitter: @bwaybrandi
Instagram: @sugarbutterbrandi
snapchat: broadwaybrandi
email: brandinyc525600@gmail.com

 

Having to Drop Out of a Show

Recently, I dealt with something I never considered having to deal with… I had to withdraw from a show. I never thought I’d be in a place where I’d be offered two great roles during essentially the same production time frame. I live in a small town, and when I was younger we were lucky to have the one, low budget children’s theatre that you had to pay to be a part of. I was involved with that group from the age of 5 or 6 until about 5th grade. Those were the only shows available to me until high school, where I performed in one musical each spring. Again, I had just one show a year to look forward to.

The summer after I graduated I was lucky enough to find a community theatre group with a summer teen show about 20 minutes from my hometown. I performed with them again this summer as well. My first year of college offered me two shows, one in the fall and one in the spring, both of which I had an absolute blast in. I also managed to student direct my first show during the time in between those two. Needless to say, I quickly went from one show a year to maybe a week or two between shows… sometimes less. It was quite an adjustment, but totally worth it! Looking back to a couple years ago, it’s crazy to me that I used to wait a whole year between shows, I much prefer a packed schedule that allows me to perform so much more.

Currently, I am in Clue as Mrs. Peacock. We were cast just under a month ago and as I write this, rehearsals start tomorrow! I was also recently offered a role in a dinner theatre show called Funeral for a Gangster with a theatre company that is starting up in my hometown. I’m so excited by the thought of finally having a community theatre up and running in my hometown again. I’ve wanted this for years and I love that so many people will now have a chance to experience live theatre again. Unfortunately, the dinner theatre runs during the rehearsal process for Clue, and since they are both such short projects, there was just no way for me to swing both.

Thankfully, Funeral for a Gangster, while with my hometown’s theatre company, is not actually taking place in my hometown. I am hoping that, once they get the theater opened back up, I will be able to perform in the first event to take place in our reopened theater.

I am so grateful to be in a place in my life where being offered a role can be a problem. Performing is the thing I love most so it is a comfort to know, that there is no shortage of shows I can be a part of. The only hard part is having to make decisions between shows.

I am extremely excited for Clue, and while I can’t be a part of Funeral for a Gangster, I’m so excited that it is bringing us one step closer to bringing my hometown theater back to life. I wish the absolute best for the cast of that production and I’m hopeful about working with them more in the future!

Break a leg,
-Brandi
find me on social media,
twitter: @bwaybrandi
Instagram: @sugarbutterbrandi
snapchat: broadwaybrandi
email: brandinyc525600@gmail.com