You can have a smooth Angels day and that's great, but it's only when something goes wrong that people really show what they're made of; go behind the scenes on a two-play day of Angels in America and see what it takes to bring to life over seven hours of theatre. It is a thrilling experience to set up a huge show like Angles; working as a stage hand can be so inspiring ...
Playbill takes a tour of the wardrobe department of Disney's "Mary Poppins", which operates on eight floors of Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre. Here, you'll find over a dozen stitchers, costumers, wardrobe supervisors, day workers and dressers tending to the hundreds of costumes in the big-cast musical. The science of keeping a company dressed in pristine condition throughout a run is a daunting task! Doing 12 loads of laundry a day — which includes sorting hundreds of garments, from socks to caps — while juggling last-minute repairs, cast changes and wardrobe malfunctions keep this costume shop busy.
Okay, so I know every Costumer has their own good and bad stories about Child Wranglers, but I thought we should hear Felicia Velasco, the guardian for a show's young cast members talk about her work while they're at the theatre for performances and rehearsals. As a combined authority figure and assistant, she ensures the child actors are prepared, are kept safe, and helps to manage their downtime. Seen here working with the girls at The People in the Picture, she compares it to previous wrangling assignments, and finds the upsides to a career as a child wrangler.
Felicia sounds like she's on top of her game alright; she always knows where the children are when not on stage, and this is very important. The entire backstage area is very dark and often the stagehands are moving show props, costumes or scenery around between the cues and acts, so wranglers are usually advised to keep the children away from backstage until their cue to go on. Always remember, as Costumers, we are not necessarily responsible for the child performers; every gig is so different. But, if you ever think a child's safety or well-being is in question, take your concerns to your supervisor.
Production Manager Ruth Sternberg is the primary facilitator in executing a stage production within its given financial parameters. The Production Manager discusses with the director and designers what they want to achieve and provides staffing and resources for each play. After 10 years at Trinity Rep with Oskar Eustis, they both moved to the Public Theater where they work on 6 stages; Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater, and off-site productions such as 'Passing Strange", "Hair", "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson", and "The Merchant of Venice on Broadway". Sternberg loves that her job always brings a new challenge, such as the one seen here for Kicking a Dead Horse.
Ruth's job is very interesting; and I could tell how much she enjoys it. I adore working with people like her; that positive attitude means everythng sometimes.
What's it like to work on a stage crew behind the scenes, during a show?
The book The Costumer's Notebook is a 295 page comprehensive handbook for Costumers for stage and film including a full Glossary of stage and film industry terms. Sections include methods and tricks for laundry, dyeing, breakdown, Dresser guidelines and protocols for Stage or Film and various size charts for men and women from shoes to gloves. Other Sections include diagrams showing How to Iron A Shirt, How to Tie a Tie and How to Tie a Bow Tie. Costume fittings, costume lay out and costume storage are also discussed.