Stage managers are essential to a successful production. Good stage managers are an absolute god send and should be cherished as the Holy Grail. While the Stage Manager duties vary from production to production, they are responsible for running rehearsals and the show. Here are some of the duties listed by Actors' Equity Association:
- Shall be responsible for the calling of all rehearsals, whether before or after opening.
- Shall assemble and maintain the Prompt Book which is defined as the accurate playing text and stage business, together with such cue sheets, plots, daily records, etc., as are necessary for the actual technical and artistic operation of the production.
- Shall work with the Director and the heads of all other departments, during rehearsal and after opening, schedule rehearsal and outside calls in accordance with Equity regulations.
- Assume active responsibility for the form and discipline of rehearsal and performance, and be the executive instrument on the technical running of each performance.
- Maintain the artistic intentions of the Director and the Producer after opening, including calling correctional rehearsals of the company when necessary and preparation of the Understudies.
The sheer amount of work they must accomplish on top of the number of personalities they have to negotiate is quite simply extraordinary.
Now, as with my previous series on Playwrights, Directors, Artistic Directors, Dramaturgs, and Theatre Critics, it is my hope that these interviews will serve others who are making their way as stage managers in the Nation's Capital, and beyond. And as all of you artistic directors plan your season, please consider reaching out one of these wonderful, talented, and hardworking women stage managers.
Jenn Carlson is a graduate of Norwich University: the Military College of Vermont. She has stage managed for many different companies in the DC area including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Folger Theatre, Forum Theatre, the Hub Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, WSC Avant Bard, Theater Alliance, Theater J, Longacre Lea, Open Circle, Catalyst Theater Company, MetroStage, the Capital Fringe Festival, and the DC Queer Festival. Since arriving in DC in 2001 she has worked on over 75 professional theatrical productions in a plethora of roles. At her day job, Jenn is the IT Project Manager for the Institute of International Finance where she has also worked in Emerging Market Economics. In 2007 she coordinated the IIF/ASEAN Finance Minister’s Forum in Singapore which brought together nine of the ten ASEAN Finance Ministers in a high level series of presentations and discussions attended by a broad spectrum of the global financial community. Jenn now devotes her time to her burgeoning business, Prodigious Birth Services, as well as to her two incredible daughters, Moira and Ari.
Karen Currie is a D.C. based Stage Manager. She has worked on several productions including After the Revolution, The Hampton Years, Woody Sez, Body Awareness, The Whipping Man, The Religion Thing, Imaging Madoff, The Moscows of Nantucket, The Odd Couple, The Four of Us, Lost in Yonkers, The Rise and Fall of Annie Hall, Honey Brown Eyes, 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother, Speed the Plow, and Either Or, as well as numerous readings at Theater J. In addition, Karen has worked locally on One Arm and the Tennessee Williams Centennial Festival, Georgetown University; Cymbeline, Shakespeare Theatre; Saturday Night, Sycamore Trees, Les Miserables, & The Happy Time, Signature Theatre; Seascape, Thicker Than Water, The Eccentricities of a Nightingale, Drama Under the Influence & The Autumn Garden, The American Century Theater; The Royal Hunt of the Sun, The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, & Titus Andronicus, Washington Shakespeare Company. Other productions include Twelfth Night, The Last Session, and Hear My Song. Karen holds an M.A. in Arts Management from American University. Upcoming: the return of Woody Sez at Theater J and Orphie and the Book of Heroes at the Kennedy Center.
Kerry Epstein is in her eighth season as Production Stage Manager at Signature Theatre. Selected credits include Miss Saigon, Company, Shakespeare's R&J, Dreamgirls, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Brother Russia, Hairspray, The Hollow, Side By Side By Sondheim, Sunset Boulevard, Chess, First You Dream: The Music of Kander and Ebb, Les Misérables, The Visit, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Studio, The Witches of Eastwick, Into the Woods, Assassins, Nevermore. She also serves as the stage management mentor for Signature in the Schools. DC area credits: The Kennedy Center, Arena Stage/Georgetown University. Regional credits: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. Ms. Epstein received a Bachelor of Arts in both Dramatic Arts and History from Dickinson College.
Taryn Friend is a D.C. based Stage Manager. She has worked on several productions including
Ford’s Theatre: A Christmas Carol and Hello, Dolly! (Signature Theatre co-production), 1776, Liberty Smith, Little Shop of Horrors, One Destiny, A Christmas Carol (2005–08, 13-14), Meet John Doe, State of the Union, Shenandoah, Leading Ladies; Signature Theatre: Miss Saigon, Hairspray, The Visit, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Merrily We Roll Along, The Witches of Eastwick. Arena Stage: Oklahoma!; The Kennedy Center: Snow White, Rose Red (and Fred!), Barrio Grrrl!, Unleashed!; Woolly Mammoth Theatre: The Vibrator Play, or in the next room. EDUCATION: University of Mary Washington. UPCOMING: Ford’s Theatre: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Marley is a DC area native who is currently the resident stage manager for Synetic Theater. Prior to returning to DC Marley stage managed Yellow Fever: the internment, and Global Sexxxism: unwrapped with The Conciliation Project in Richmond, VA, a social justice theatre company whose mission is to promote, through active and challenging dramatic work, open and honest dialogue about racism in America in order to repair its damaging legacy. Regionally she has worked at The New Harmony Theatre and The Heritage Theatre Festival where she stage managed several shows including Barefoot in the Park, Moonlight and Magnolias, My Fair Lady, and She Loves Me. Locally Marley has stage managed at Studio Theatre 2nd Stage (Mojo, Astro Boy and the God of Comics), First Stage (Fuddy Meers), and has worked as a production assistant at Signature Theatre (Xanadu, Dying City, Company). With Synetic Theater she has stage managed A Trip to the Moon, The Tempest, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the upcoming Twelfth Night. She received her training at Virginia Commonwealth University where she earned a BFA in Stage Management.
Cary Gillett has stage managed more than 40 productions in the D.C. area, including work at the Round House Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Olney Theatre Center. She is currently the production manager for the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland, where she teaches stage management. She has also served for the past five years as the production manager for the Helen Hayes Awards, which celebrates excellence in Washington, D.C. professional theater.
Lesley Irminger received a B.A in Theater University of Tennessee, Knoxville; M.A.in Arts Management George Mason University. She currently serves as the Scheduling and Events Coordinator for the Center for the Arts and College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason where she manages all of the outside and university rentals for the college and serves as the primary scheduler for over 100 spaces. She is also a freelance stage manager in the Metropolitan DC area. Former credits include: Clarence Brown Theatre (Assassins, A Christmas Carol, Major Barbara, Intimate Apparel, As You Like It, Anna Karenina, Closer, A Lie in the Mind, Glass Menagerie, and All the Way Home), Heritage Repertory Theater (Enchanted April, My Way!, Rounding Third), Pellissippi State (The Kentucky Cycle Pt. 1, Widdershins), Auburn University (Anything Goes). Lesley was nominated twice for the Kennedy Center Theater Festival stage management fellowship for her work on shows at PSTCC. She has worked with directors from all over the United States including: Jed Diamond, Charles Miller, Paul Barnes, Joseph Haj, Steven Levine, Robert Chapel, Joseph Walsh, John Aler, and Katie Flye. Lesley currently serves as the Opera Department Production Stage Manager at Mason.She also worked with Theater of the First Amendment for three summers and served as the Marketing Director for The American Century Theater for two years.
Kate Kilbane has been a member of Actors’ Equity since 2004, and has worked steadily as a stage manager and an assistant stage manager at both large and small theatres in town, including Ford’s Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Theater J, SCENA Theatre, MetroStage, Open Circle Theatre and African Continuum Theatre Company. She developed management skills at her college radio station that have transferred to her current career, serving as the station’s general manager her senior year. She began her journey toward a professional theater career in Washington D.C., first working as a sound board operator. She quickly moved into stage management roles, learning on the job while working at a non-profit in the solid waste management field. Kate became a production assistant at The Shakespeare Theatre Company, where for two seasons she continued to develop necessary skills with the help of her mentors, Brandon Prendergast and Shari Silberglitt (Moxley). Some of her most memorable productions include: The Oedipus Plays, Follies, Ragtime, Arias with a Twist, Antony & Cleopatra, Evita, and The Screwtape Letters.
Beth has been with Washington National Opera for 20 years and was the Principal Stage Manager for 15 of those years. She has spent a total of 15 seasons with Wolf Trap Opera Company and 12 seasons with Spoleto Festival USA. Other companies she has worked with include The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Bolshoi Ballet, Seattle Opera, The Dallas Opera, Orlando Opera, Kentucky Opera, National Symphony Orchestra, and Very Special Arts, among others. Beth has enjoyed heading masterclasses with both the University of Maryland and the University of Iowa, and leads resume workshops for anyone who will listen. She speaks five languages, which has been useful in the opera world, and she is an avid traveler. Photo by Karin Cooper.
Lynn is currently in her 14th consecutive season at Washington National Opera at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and this Summer will enjoy her 11th consecutive season as Opera Stage Manager for Bard SummerScape at the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, NY. Locally her opera Stage Managing credits include Der Fliegende Holländer, Siegfried, Elektra, Werther, Anna Bolena, Madama Butterfly, and La forza del destino. Other notable stage management credits include the Latino Inaugural 2013 at the Kennedy Center, the first non-Russian Premier of Taneyev’s Oresteia at Bard SummerScape, North American Premier of The Picture of Dorian Gray at Florentine Opera, Carmen performed in Van Andel Arena for Opera Grand Rapids, and the World Premier of Gabriel’s Daughter at Central City Opera. Among the other companies for which she has worked are Seattle Opera, Central City Opera, Nashville Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Milwaukee Ballet, Chautauqua Opera, Pine Mountain Music Festival, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Madison Opera.
Since 2011, Ouida has worked as the Partnerships and Production Manager at Dance Exchange, where her first major project was to produce Cassie Meador’s 500-mile walk and community engagement tour to a coal mine in West Virginia during How To Lose a Mountain‘s development phase. Passionate about the use of the performing arts for social change, Ouida has performed with a traveling theatre troupe in Zambia, and has worked in conflict transformation and public health in Ghana and in the U.S., activating theatre and creative movement for education and civil society engagement. Ouida is a former member of the acting companies of Mir Productions and of the 13th Street Repertory Theatre in New York, where she also fulfilled company management duties. As a Stage Manager in Residence at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, she led mentorship programs for students enrolled in production practicums. Ouida has performed in, or stage managed a multitude of productions in DC and in New York, she holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, an MA in International Communication and Arts Management from American University, where she was a teaching and research fellow, and she currently serves as a Helen Hayes Award Judge.
Kristy Matero has been a DC based Stage Manager for the last 7 years. Local credits include The Kennedy Center: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Seven Guitars, Jitney; Washington National Opera: Anna Bolena; Signature Theatre: God of Carnage, Sweeney Todd, And The Curtain Rises; Woolly Mammoth Theatre: Appropriate, The Convert, The K of D, Full Circle, Antebellum, Boom, Maria/Stuart, How Theatre Failed America, If You See Something Say Something (with Mike Daisey), Hell Meets Henry Halfway (with Pig Iron Theatre Company), Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind (with The Neofuturists); Scena Theatre: The Importance of Being Earnest; Theatre Alliance: Ambition Facing West. Other companies around the country include The Spoleto Festival USA, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival and Milwaukee Rep.
Keta Newborn is an ambitious, tenderhearted, hard working, determined and compassionate poet, self-publishing author, motivational speaker, freelance stage manager and mother of two teenage girls. As a freelancer, Keta has been involved at many levels within the theatrical world, holding several titles including SM, ASM, Venue Manager, Production Assistant, and Light/Sound Board Operator. Keta has worked for numerous theatres and production companies including: 1st Stage, Studio Theatre, Capital Fringe, Imagination Stage, H Street Playhouse, THEARC, Serenity Players, Restoration Stage, The Soul Factory and Lincoln Theatre to name a few. Keta wishes to thank her Father above for the opportunity to be used as one of His vessels, working to bring His work of art into the hearts of many.