What I love about theater is that it is a collaborative art form and career. Actors are just a small piece of the puzzle when it comes to putting on a ‘commercial,’ or money-making show. As an actor, you get to work and create side by side people with all different skill sets and interests. There are many departments, people, and jobs behind the scenes that contribute to putting on a live performance. Even beyond creative careers, there are many positions associated with a theatrical production that are integral to getting a show up and running. For example, on our Sound of Music national tour, we have 32 actors in the show, but travel with 25 additional people who work on the production in other various aspects! These positions encompass every skill set and specialty I can think of. They include our music director/ conductor, 3 musicians (2 keyboard and 1 violinist), 3 stage managers, 2 company managers, 2 heads of wardrobe, 1 head of hair and wigs, 1 head carpenter, 2 sound technicians, 3 fly rail technicians, 1 automation carpenter, 2 electricians, 1 spot light operator, 1 head of props, 1 child wrangler, 1 school teacher. These are the people that keep our show running each night, load it in and set it up at each new venue, and work tirelessly to maintain it and it's quality between show times.
Other than the people who travel with the show, there are even more that work on the show every day from afar. These include, but aren’t limited to, a lead producer and production company that work on financial, administrative, and organizational aspects of our show from afar, a press company that advertises our show, local presenters in each city we visit that work for the theater/ venue, local crew, dressers, hair dressers, and musicians hired in each city, a casting team in New York City that is constantly auditioning for replacements, a creative team of director, choreographer, music supervisor, and assistant director and choreographer that come out to check on us and rehearse replacements to the cast.
As you can see, our show, like most other tours and commercial shows employs people with varied professions and strengths. In fact, it is a full ‘Limited Liability Company (LLC)’ of it’s own, just as if it were a company that operated out of an office building that you’d work at 9 to 5.
Maybe you love theater, but are unsure if performing is the way you want to participate in it. As you can see, there are a plethora of skill sets needed that extend beyond art when it comes to putting on a show. There are many ways to contribute to, and be a involved in a production.
For more info, I’ve included links to some of the companies and unions that work on our show below. Maybe this will inspire you to find out where your skills fit best!
Musicians (New York):