Jason with the company of Thoroughly Modern Millie
Shaftesbury Theatre fly floor
Could you tell us a bit about the challenges presented by those three different shows, and what you’ve enjoyed about all of them?
What a question.
My first job on 125th Street was on the crew, I was fresh out of college. The main challenge for me in that first job was trying not to hold up anyone or anything. I remember being sent to the grid above the stage to move a fly bar on my first day. I had never done it before and all I could think was “come on everyone is waiting for us” (thankfully I had someone with me who had done it before). I spent a lot of time on that show watching what the Stage Management did and how they worked. I took an awful lot away from that production and am very thankful for that job.
My first ever musical as an Assistant Stage Manager was on Thoroughly Modern Millie so that was a different challenge. As part of my role on the show I had to cover Automation and Sound as well as both Assistant Stage Manger roles. The challenge on the show was at any time (and if memory serves me) I would have to jump from one to another or at time combine tracks and roles.
Returning to the Shaftesbury as the Stage Manager after having previously worked on two other shows I knew in my head what some of the challenges might be. One of them – which all three shows had in common – was wing space! It wasn’t only set pieces and large props I needed to think about, it was making sure the wings could accommodate cast members, wigs and costumes for quick changes and traffic with the amount of set we have on & Juliet.
Is there anything that you can tell us about what goes on backstage or in the wings of & Juliet that might surprise the audience?
For anyone that has seen & Juliet they will already know that we pack a lot in to what some people would call a small space. This means having the majority of our set and large props on storage motors in the wings above head height. Set is brought in on the motors during a certain song.
The off stage wing choreography and traffic for everyone that works backstage is very important and keeps us all safe.