Department of Theatre and Film
Department News 2006
A day in the life of: A stage manager
By: Chelsea Howard
Issue date: 3/3/06 Section: Pulse
If the famous passage from Shakespeare's play, "As You Like It" were to be transposed, it would handsomely sum up the life of Tony Wagener. The stage is his world.
Wagener is a student stage manager for the theater department and is currently stage managing the upcoming musical, "How To Succeed in Show Without Really Trying," which opens March 31.
"How to Succeed" is Wagener's 17th stage managing effort since seventh grade and even though one would think that he would be sitting back and reveling about his prior successes, Wagener barely has time to breathe.
So many different variables can combine to make a long list of possible problems, but it's Wagener's job as a stage manager to make sure those all get ironed out.
"I usually try to sit down once a day in person with the director and go over last night's rehearsal," Wagener said about his duties. "At the end of the day, between 85 and 100 people will be involved in some way with the show, and it's my job to make sure every little thing gets done."
The biggest misconception about the duties of a stage manager, according to Wagener, is the idea that all of his responsibilities only occur during the rehearsals of the play, but as he explained, the rehearsal only lasts about three to four hours a day.
"It's not just rehearsal," Wagener said. "On a given day, I could meet with cast members, choreographers, designers and costume staff."
Wagener said rehearsals begin around 6 p.m. and afterward, more meetings occur. Wagener said he is looking forward to seeing his hard work come to fruition when "How To Succeed in Show Business Without Really Trying" opens on March 31 at 8 p.m. at the Eva Marie Saint Theater.
"I am looking forward to seeing it all put together; it's a big show technically," Wagener said. "It's the biggest show since I've been in BGSU."
And the best part of the job, according to Wagener, is entertaining an audience by putting on a flawless show.
"A stage manager knows that they've done a good job when a show goes off with no problems and no one knows you're there," he said. "When I see a curtain call and everything went perfectly and people were standing and applauding for my cast, that's a very good moment for me. I don't need a curtain call myself. As my high school director said, 'The cast is my curtain call.'"