Stardate: Light Up The Sky Load Out

Hello Dahlings.   It’s almost time to Light Up The Sky!!

This weekend, our intrepid Wardrobe Supervisor Mallory Frers and her crew, took all the costumes and loaded them into the theater.

This process is not to be taken lightly.  It’s been a while since Emerson Stage shows took place away from the costume shop.  When the shop was on Brimmer street we had to walk costumes across the common.  I once had to carry a cow head and a pith helmet.  So I wore the pith helmet and people thought I was a little odd.  It’s not my fault the cow head had sparkly eyelashes and I was singing

I digress.

1. Take inventory of every single item on the show rack from hats to socks, to cufflinks and hair bows.

2.  Load into the gondola (or road box, it’s not a cool boat)

3. Roll gondola down the street to the Paramount Theater (striped shirts not required)

4. Take costumes out of gondola and put in dressing rooms

5.  Redo inventory and make sure everything didn’t disappear on the trek.

Then the real fun starts. Mallory has been hard at work tracking the changes and assigning crew to assist each actor.  Some changes can have plenty of time, the actor can walk to the dressing room and change his or her costume with minimal help.  Some changes require a crew to wait in a quick change area just off the sides of the stage.  The actor will exit stage and be rushed off to the quick change area where that person will be attacked (in the nicest way possible) by wardrobe crew. Each will be doing something, one may be removing a wig while another takes off shoes, a third will be waiting with the new costume, which has been quickrigged with velcro, snaps or a zipper. (Sometimes a combination of all three.)   Then the new costume, shoes and hair will be put on zipped, clipped and whipped and off the actor will be entering right back for another scene.

A few pics of the process

We got your costumes right heah!

And they made it!!

I’m off to dress rehearsal.   Get your tickets!!!!!!

LIGHT UP THE SKY: Stage Manager’s Tech Blog

By Alexander Brodkin

How does a show come together? When the audience takes their seats this Thursday in the Paramount and the curtain rises they will see countless hours of work by a talented group of students and professionals. Weeks of rehearsal, design meetings, and load-in culminate in a process collectively known as “tech.” Tech is, simply put, the culmination of the work in the rehearsal room being placed on stage within the set, and adding in lighting, sound, costumes and in LIGHT UP THE SKY’s case projections. The process to create a show involves many steps and great patience is required. To tech a show we slowly add in layers and work through the show many times.

LIGHT UP THE SKY is not a very technically heavy show, but it still requires a lot of work. This last Friday we started teching the show without actors. Our lighting designer, sound designer, and projection designer each tried things out to see what would work prior to adding actors on Saturday morning.

One of the most important things we do during tech is make sure all of the elements of the show work together. As the Stage Manager I help that process by helping everyone communicate. On Saturday we went through each scene with the actors on stage. We used the work from Friday to look at different lights, hear different sounds and see different projections to find what worked best for each scene. On Sunday we added costumes. Then on Monday we added hair and makeup. Throughout this process there are many notes and many things to fix.

This slow layering helps make a great show. Before Thursday we will run the show many times and work hard to get it to the product you see when we open.


Alexander Brodkin is a senior BFA Stage/Production Manager at Emerson College and is the Stage Manager for LIGHT UP THE SKY.

LIGHT UP THE SKY opens Thursday, October 21 at 8PM in the Paramount Mainstage.

The Parallel Nightmare

by Gabriel Graetz, dramaturg

Nick Sulfaro, who plays George Spelvin in The Actor’s Nightmare, found this fascinating passage in the autobiographical introduction to Christopher Durang Explains It All For You. It parallels George’s story to an uncanny degree:

“I was taught by nuns until seventh grade, when I switched to an all-boys Catholic prep school taught by very  intelligent and nice Benedictine priests. I briefly attempted to be a juvenile delinquent and smoked Marlboros for about a month but stopped, as I was very short and looked silly.
“The school was on the grounds of a monastery, and my junior and senior years I spent a few weekends joining in the daily routine of the monastery. Prayers, then breakfast, then prayers, then lunch, then prayers, then dinner, then  prayers, then sleep. I found the predictability quite attractive. I was going to join the monastery right after high  school, but they said I should wait. And then I just stopped believing in all those things, and I never did join the  monastery. I became a depressed undergraduate.”

Compare this to George’s monologue (p. 21):

“Line. Nunnery. As a child, I was taught by nuns, and then in high school I was taught by Benedictine priests. I really rather liked the nuns, they were sort of warm, though they were fairly crazy too.”


“I liked the priests also. The school was on the grounds of the monastery, and my junior and senior years I spent a  few weekends joining in the daily routine of the monastery- prayers,then breakfast, then prayers, then lunch, then  prayers, then dinner, then prayers, then sleep. I found the predictability quite attractive. And the food was good.  And if there is a God, and an afterlife, and an inner life of the soul, then the monastery had everything in the proper order. And if there isn’t all those things, it’s still a very restful way to live.”

“I was going to join the monastery after high school, but they said I was too young and should wait. And then I just stopped believing in all those things, so I never did join the monastery.”


The Actor’s Nightmare will be performed in the Greene Theater from November 4-7

Art is Thriving in Mass.

By Tyler York

Emerson was recently visited by Rocco Landesman, the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Rocco is on a nationwide tour for an NEA initiative called Art Works. The tour is designed to highlight the great work taking place in the arts all around the country. I have no doubt that Rocco was impressed with what he heard and saw while in Massachusetts because the arts are thriving here!

During his visit to Emerson, he received a tour of our fantastic theatre venues and met with artistic directors from around the state. Emerson students, staff, and faculty were invited to observe the meeting and had the opportunity to ask questions of these great artistic minds. I’ll share my thoughts on the meeting later… for now, read what Rocco had to say of his visit on the Art Works blog.


Tyler York is the Assistant to the General Manager of Emerson Stage and an alum of Emerson’s BFA Stage/Production Management program.

The Student’s POV: Alexandra Hsie

by Alexandra Hsie

Alexandra Hsie

Bud, Not Buddy is flowing smoothly and we’re working hard through the play. We have a real live jazz band and one of the actors learned the harmonica specifically for this play – I love listening to the harmonica and the live music during this show.

In other news, I’m producing a BA Film titled “Unacceptable” and I’ve learned that my skills as a Stage Manager transfer really well over to Producer. All in all, staying busy!

Alexandra Hsie is a senior BFA Stage/Production Management major and is the Assistant Stage Manager on BUD, NOT BUDDY.

State of the Season – Oct 15

By Tyler York

LIGHT UP THE SKY opens in less than a week! Can you believe it? The Paramount is clearly one very busy place during this final push to opening night. This past weekend was spent by the production team loading in the scenic, lighting, sound, and projection elements. Work continues and will continue until it becomes the show the audience (you!) will see starting next Thursday. From all accounts that reach my ears, all is going well with the production and those involved are feeling good about the progress being made.

Tomorrow and Sunday is Tech, two l-o-o-o-o-n-g days during which much is accomplished – lighting cues are built and tested, scenery gets its first real test as performers and crew become acquainted with what is suddenly on stage, and sound and projections are tested and adjusted. It will be a magical experience. Exhausting. But magical.

We were treated to design presentations during the NINE production meeting today. Hooray! I was awed by the cohesive vision that director Bill Fennelly and the remarkably talented student designers have created for the look and feel of the show. It is an impressive design that seeks to represent the character Guido’s struggle to break through his past and come up with a new story to tell through film. I cannot wait to see what this show will become by the end of the process. And the first rehearsal is this Monday! I have so long to wait, until December, yet the time will fly by before you know it.


Tyler York is the Assistant to the General Manager of Emerson Stage and an alum of Emerson’s BFA Stage/Production Management program.