Whether it’s casually wanting to get your playbill signed after a show or wanting to meet the actor of your dreams, we have all stage doored at one point or another. Some stage door more than others, and depending on the show, you never quite know what to expect. There may be just a few people calmly waiting in line with you or hundreds of people pushing through to get to the barricade.
Here are a few helpful tips on how to pass the time and be a good stage door neighbor:
I once waited at a stage door for three hours and not a single actor came out. The people standing on the line with you are your friends. You are in it together for the long haul. Be friendly. Start a conversation. Some people are from out of town and have never been to the big apple before. This may also mean they have never stage doored before and might be a little nervous. Others may have the same taste in shows as you and can tell you if that new experimental show in Midtown is worth seeing. You won’t know unless you talk to them. And hey, we’re all there for the same reason, right? We love theatre.
Make Friends with Security
If you think standing at the stage door is stressful, think about security that stands there every night. There are some crazy fans out there. Think of all the tweens that have waited outside Finding Neverland. And you never know if you will get the nice security guard who jokes about dead people outside Les Mis, or the one who has seen you a few too many times outside the Richard Rogers. Just smile and act casual.
On multiple occasions, I have made it to the end of the show with my phone at fifteen percent battery. Of course this would not be enough to last if I wanted a picture with the lead guy when he finally leaves the theater in forty-five minutes. Share a portable charger if you have it. People have been nice enough to me, and I have lent mine out, as well. Again, some people have traveled across the country to see a show, or a little kid might be meeting their icon for the first time. A phone battery should never be the cause of broken dreams.
Furthermore, if you see someone who did not have the privilege to see the show (because tickets may have been too expensive, or it’s a limited engagement, etc), remember they do not have a playbill. If you have a notebook in your bag, offer them a piece of paper. You will probably make their night. This way, the actors have something to sign and that person has something to take home. All about working together.
Do Not Push
If you have ever stood at a crowded stage door, you know how this goes. As soon as that door opens, everyone and their mother behind you immediately moves forward. If you are not standing at the barricade, it’s ok. You will probably still get your stuff signed and get a picture. You know what is not ok? Shoving a bunch of people out of your way to get to the barricade because you were in the back. Also, kids stage door, too. Never a need to push people. If you’re nice to the people around you, chances are they will be nice to you, too. The same philosophy can go for pushing people.
Pass It On
If you are near the front of the crowd, you know what happens when an actor comes out. Everyone puts their playbill out in hopes of it getting signed. The people who are a few rows behind you, eagerly holding up their playbill, do them a favor: pass it forward. In fact, grab a few if you can. Wouldn’t you want someone to do the same?
You Get What You Get
Keep in mind, going out the stage door is not in any of the performer’s contracts. They just finished putting their all into a two or three hour performance, or two performances if it’s a matinee day. They are exhausted and probably just want to go home and sleep until tomorrow when they need to do it all again. If they come out to sign a bunch of playbills, then you’re lucky. If not, it does not make them a bad person. Be happy with any picture or signature you get because just remember, they are still people. Say thank you and a few nice words about their performance. Also, if you meet the actor of your dreams, just remember to breath.