While it has, admittedly been a :::cough::: few years since I was involved in a musical theater (theatre?) production, I have been in my share of them. And, let me tell you, backstage is both as exciting as as boring as you’d expect it to be.
Exciting: Quick Changes
I recall a particular production of The Sounds of Music that I was in. The Von Trapps (I played Marta, the second-to-youngest daughter in the brood) had to do a quick change. We had, literally, about 20 seconds to change costumes. I recall a whole crew of stage hands waiting with our costumes in hand to help us make the change. If you recall the Von Trapps have 7 kids – that was a lot of people to get changed). Most nights went off without a hitch. Except for that show where my left shoe was nowhere to be found. But, as you’ve heard, the show does go on, shoe or no shoe. So I Edelweiss’ed that night sans the left shoe.
Boring: Down Time
Unless you have the good fortune (or nepotism…pardon my still-too-real indignation) to be cast as a lead in a production, the odds are that you have a fair amount of down time backstage during a two-hour production. There are a number of ways to pass the time. While playing Pepper in [probably my favorite production I was ever in] Annie Warbucks (yes, Annie has a sequel, and it’s awesome), the orphans had a long stretch of downtime backstage.
So, we did what any self-respecting orphans would do, we played Scum (the card game). But we forgot to put someone in charge of watching the stage monitor. And we missed our cue. Yes, imagine the curtain opens on an empty orphanage. Not one orphan. Annie has come to us for advice…but we are nowhere to be found.
So we hear Annie on stage calling us by name. “Molly, are you playing hide and seek again?” and “Pepper, where are you?” Cue 10 orphans running as fast as we can from the green room to the stage and trying not to laugh as we all stare at each other trying to figure out which scene this even is.
Bacon: If April shows bring May flowers, what to May flowers bring?