David Hicks
David Hicks

David Hicks: Enlightened Spaces

Ross Jackson

David S. Robinson Hicks is a Stage Manager, Actor, and Writer based in Los Angeles. David's connection to the arts was fostered by his family, who operated a network of non-profit efforts to deliver enrichment to underserved youth. David had the honor of assisting in the expansion of these efforts, which provided scholarships and vocational training for rising artists and at-risk youth in Greater LA and New York City. After re-discovering his love for technical theater in high school, David set about working with stage management teams at theaters such as The Pasadena Playhouse, Geffen Playhouse, and Theatricum Botanicum.

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Reading From a Manuscript Before him, He Continuously Whispers the Lines.  James O. Spearing. “The Prompter’s Art Lost to America.” New York Times, June 19, 1927. ProQuest Historical Newspapers
Reading From a Manuscript Before him, He Continuously Whispers the Lines. James O. Spearing. “The Prompter’s Art Lost to America.” New York Times, June 19, 1927. ProQuest Historical Newspapers

Historical Calling Technology: Bells, Whistles, Flags, and Call Boys

Jennifer Leigh Sears Scheier

Tracking technological developments over time might be my favorite subtopic within the scope of stage management history. Calling technology predictably changed over time, however, it also affected how audiences related to backstage life. Before Clear-Coms and lightweight headsets, there were telephone switchboards and before that, there were cue lights. But let me tell you a little secret: before electricity, calling the show had an aural impact on the performance.

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Dahlia Al-Habieli
Dahlia Al-Habieli

Dahlia Al-Habieli: Undercover Advocate

Porsche McGovern

I met Dahlia Al-Habieli when we were both on a panel about gender equity in theatrical design at Wake Forest University, organized by Jyles Rodgers ’19. Dahlia Al-Habieli is an award-winning designer, visual artist, and educator currently teaching at Wake Forest University's Department of Theatre and Dance in Winston-Salem, NC. Upcoming projects include Native Gardens at Trinity Rep, and installation design for Consenses at MASS MOCA.

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The February 18, 1942 cover letter from Actors Equity regarding the "Committee to Consider Stage Managers’ Memo to Council"
The February 18, 1942 cover letter from Actors Equity regarding the "Committee to Consider Stage Managers’ Memo to Council"

Stage Management Grievances in 1942

Jennifer Leigh Sears Scheier

Stage Managers Ban Together to Fight for AEA Stage Management Contract

On December 18th, 1941 and January 15th, 1942, a delegation of stage managers met with the “Committee to Consider Stage Managers’ Memo to Council” (yes, this was the committee’s official name), which was a special Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) committee specifically formed to consider their requests.

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2017 SM Survey Results!

David J. McGraw

The 2017 Stage Manager Survey Report is now available. My assistant and I tried to let the data speak for itself, noting only the trends and potential contributing factors. But we know that, by distilling the data into a report, we also prioritized some of the information and de-emphasized or omitted other information.

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Julia Morrison in street clothes. “Tragedy: Closed with a Speech by the Actress” Cincinnati Enquirer, January 11, 1900
Julia Morrison in street clothes. “Tragedy: Closed with a Speech by the Actress” Cincinnati Enquirer, January 11, 1900

Murder Onstage: An Early 20th Century Actress Kills Her Stage Manager Before an Audience

Jennifer Leigh Sears Scheier

During a performance at the Chattanooga Opera House on Friday, September 22nd, 1899, Julia Morrison, the leading actress of the traveling show, Mr. Plaster of Paris, exited the stage in the middle of her Act II scene with Frank Leiden, leading man and stage manager.[1]  She seized the loaded revolver she kept between her breasts, reentered the scene, and shot Leiden three times, killing him. Fifteen hundred audience members looked on in shock until a call for a surgeon roused them. Morrison was immediately taken under custody by the local police and sent to the nearby jail to await the outcome of the coroner’s inquest. A few weeks later, the grand jury indicted her, and her trial was set for January 1900. By the beginning of her trial, Julia Morrison had become a household name and the event was covered across the nation, making headlines.

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Sherrice Mojgani and Jonah keeping up to date on new technology. Photo Credit: Amanda Zieve.
Sherrice Mojgani and Jonah keeping up to date on new technology. Photo Credit: Amanda Zieve.

Sherrice Mojgani: Design & Community

Porsche McGovern

Sherrice Mojgani is an assistant professor in the School of Theatre at George Mason University. Before coming to GMU, Mrs. Mojgani was based in San Diego, CA. Sherrice and I have become friends through being two of the original four administrators for the Design and Production Diversity Working Group on Facebook for the last two years.

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Hustle and Grow

Ross Jackson

An Interview with Eb Madry, Lighting Designer

Ebony (Eb) Madry identifies as a black, queer female. She loves to create and support a space with lighting. She started to fall in love with lighting at 16 years old. And since that time, she has earned her MFA in Lighting from UC Irvine. She considers herself blessed to work with notable artists including Christian Vincent, Leslie Ishii, Paul Barnes, Michael Franti, Brandi Carlisle, and Melissa Etheridge. Eb’s designs are bold and actively strive to evoke strong emotion whenever possible, but what separates her from other lighting designers is her ability to stay calm during the sometimes stormy period of tech while continuing to explore ideas and enhance the show. Eb could sit at the tech table all day and night. 

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Prompt Corner. Photo Courtesy of Archives.org THE THEATRE AT WORK A Glimpse Behind the Scenes by James Cleaver
Prompt Corner. Photo Courtesy of Archives.org THE THEATRE AT WORK A Glimpse Behind the Scenes by James Cleaver

Women in Stage Management: Revolutionizing History with Inclusion

Jennifer Leigh Sears Scheier

Since I started compiling research on the history of the stage manager, I have run into at least 10 different claims for the “First Female Stage Manager.” In a 1987 obituary, the Los Angeles Times credited Phyllis Seaton as being “Broadway’s 1st Women Stage Manager” (around 1940’s), The Washington Post interviewed Maude T. Howell about her role as an American stage manager in 1928, and Maud Gill wrote her See the Players autobiography which includes a chapter about her experiences as Stage Manager in 1920’s London. Even before this, in the 1860’s we have Laura Keene stage managing her own theatre, Charlotte Cushman stage managing at the Walnut Street Theatre in 1842-1844, and Charlotte Charke takes up the prompting mantle in England in 1754.

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Part II A Crash Course in American Stage Management History

Jennifer Leigh Sears Scheier

The term “Director” was introduced in the late 1800’s, although scholars continue to debate who was the ‘first’ American modern director, I attribute it to Augustus Daly. Augustus Daly (among others), changed the production process in theater. Daly expected more out of his actors, requiring attendance at all rehearsals, beginning the rehearsal process several weeks or months in advance and for several hours at a time. Prior to this, rehearsals for specific productions were sporadic, and totaled a few hours spanning over several weeks. He fined actors for lateness, absenteeism, and forgotten lines or blocking. Overall, he regimented the rehearsal process.

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