Young Broadway actresses too cool for stage door?

orangeskittles
Broadway Legend
joined:1/8/05
Do you volunteer to work overtime for free EVERY shift? Do you think any casting agents ask actors if they stage door? It doesn't come into play when getting a job. If you are going to chose performers based on whether or not they stage door, why bother going to see the show...just become a stagedoor johnny.

Casting directors don't ask if they stage door, but the effect can trickle down. There are definitely actors who lose out on lead roles because they don't have a bankable name. If audiences don't want to pay money to see them in a show, they won't be cast. When the actor isn't Ricky Martin or Daniel Radcliffe, they have to work for that kind of recognition.

How do you think up and coming actors build up a fanbase? By sneaking out of a side door to rush back to Brooklyn every night, or taking a few minutes to acknowledge the people who are coming out to support their show? The actors may not owe fans an autograph, but fans don't owe the actors a purchase of a concert ticket or those crappy solo music CDs actors insist on putting out either.

I can't even think of the last time I stagedoored to see someone who wasn't an acquaintance and I couldn't care less about getting autographs, so this isn't a personal defense. I agree with Jane, I don't care what other fans choose to do and it has no impact on my life if they choose to spend hours waiting for an illegible Sharpie scribble. But to suggest there's no correlation between engaging with fans and becoming a successful performer (per dramamama's 2 goals) is not true.
Like a firework unexploded
Wanting life but never knowing how
Updated On: 7/25/12 at 07:28 PM
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
When I said the the word 'heroic' was part of the problem -- I didn't mean you personally -- but generically and they way Americans view and value things.

Soldiers, police officers, fire fighters, the men that shielded others from being shot in CO are heroes. Actors (on a whole) are not.

And as I said, I admire and am in awe of creativity that far surpasses my own. I am often inspired by others work and allow it to influence my own.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
ghostlight2
Broadway Legend
joined:12/5/04
"But to suggest there's no correlation between engaging with fans and becoming a successful performer (per dramamama's 2 goals) is not true."

I could not possibly disagree with this statement more. There are many, many successful performers who seldom if ever really interact with fans.
Phillytheatreguy10
Leading Actor
joined:7/22/12
I never equated fame to Broadway, stop reading into things! In defense of the young actors and actresses, I will say the entire young company of actors in the revival of Follies came out and were all very nice. I just don't understand the intentional dodge at the door, ie. texting while another enesemble member signs and you just wait and don't recognize the people who paid to see you, and that is rude, it's called common courtesy, don't be a snob! When you see a large gathering, actually see them, like connect eye to eye and then dash it doesn't go unnoticed. That is they type of behavior I think people are commenting on.
BrookeTansley
Understudy
joined:2/21/10
I don't know if anyone here is interested in one actor's stage door opinions and experiences, but if you are - read on. (Please forgive any grammar/spelling errors - I'm not gonna proofread.)

When I was in Beauty and the Beast, I spent 30-45 minutes (on the low end, 183.5 hours of my life) at the stage door after about 397 of the 407 performances I did, opting not to only when I had to rush to an audition in between shows on Wednesdays. I even worked out an arrangement with my wonderful dresser that she would bring my family and friends to my dressing room, and they would wait there while I did the stage door. I believe that I owed no one this and that this was not part of my job, but I was interested in making people happy/feel special - particularly the children who sometimes thought I really was Belle. I even dyed my hair brown from blonde because when I started my job, some young children were confused and even a little upset. I was in the unique position of being an actor that wasn't very well-known, playing a character who is known and loved throughout the world. People would always want to meet Belle no matter who was playing her.

Here's the deal. 80% of the folks I met were great and struck me as normal, healthy people. An autograph, a minute or two of conversation, and then they went on their way. I very much enjoyed those people. Aside from the children (my favorite people to meet), I particularly enjoyed meeting the German and Japanese Disney fans. They struck me as confident people who had their own, full, happy lives. They needed nothing from me.

But with about 20% of folks, it got pretty dark. Americans, in general, have a very unhealthy relationship to celebrity, and as I've read in several studies of mental well-being in industrialized nations, rank near the bottom of the list, particularly in self-esteem and general satisfaction with life. I'm not gonna try to track down the studies - you can google - but I think one of them was Unicef. Again, to most of the world, I am not a celebrity, but the few people who viewed me that way knew where to physically find me 8 times a week.

One fan would ride a bus from Pennsylvania for four hours just to stand at the stage door - not to see the show - because she said seeing me made her feel better. She would rattle through her very personal woes and I would wish her well. She then made the mistake of thinking that we had a friendship, forgetting the fact that I shared nothing personal with her. Imagine my horrible guilty feelings when, on the day 2 busloads of folks from my hometown in CT came to the show, I see her at the stage door, knowing that it costs her 8 hours of bus travel to come stand at the stage door and see me. As guilty as I felt, I only said hello to her, because it was more important to me to share the achievement of a lifelong dream with my family and friends. I have a life, and am a person with hopes, dreams, and desires, too. Well, she was hurt and angry.

This dynamic happened with many people. That story was just the most extreme example. Unhealthy people who needed from me - a stranger.

Another fan was a man with two teenaged daughters. When he and his daughters showed up at the show on my birthday with a birthday cake for me, I thanked them sincerely, but I knew there would be trouble, and there was. My family had come into town to spend my birthday with me. After the show, I thanked this man and his daughters again, and left with my family. Well, I got a 13 page angry letter from him, telling me that I had some nerve spending my birthday with my family, and that he considers himself a Christian man but when someone hurts his family, who knows what he'll do. The beat cop advised that I tell him, in front of the cop, to cease all contact with me and never come to the stage door again. I did so and also apologized to the daughters for having to do such a thing.

Again, this is the most extreme example of a very common behavior.

Another time, while I was in Hairspray, a girl told her best friend that I was rude to her at the stage door. (I don't believe her for one minute - I make a point of being friendly to everyone at the stage door because that's the person I choose to be.) This girl, out of a need to avenge her best friend, proceeded to trash my performance as Penny several times a day on BWW. She even threatened to trip me as I walked down the aisle for the finale. She said exactly what seat she was going to be sitting in. Well, my mother read that and called me in tears. I was actually a little scared. We had no way of knowing at the time that it was just a teenage girl venting. I mouthed to the girl that I knew who she was, during a particularly frenzied part of the song. She met me at the stage door hyperventilating and in tears, and explained why she did what she did and apologized. I learned that you can't listen to anyone's opinion on a message board. It's anonymous and you never know a poster's motives, or who has an axe to grind over what they feel is a stage door snubbing.

Again, one example of many.

The fella who played the Beast has two kids and never did the stage door. More time with his family is more important, and only a nutjob would think otherwise.

Gradually, I became more guarded, which made me sad because I enjoy being an open book. I still haven't managed to find a way to be friendly yet communicate inaccessibility.

Hopefully, ya'll can see the issue from our point of view. It can get crazy, and sometime dangerous.

A lot of Broadway folks feel safer not doing the stage door at all, and not engaging with the fans. That's their right. Although most of you are healthy, normal folks who need nothing from us, the unhealthy, needy ones make stage dooring not worth it for many of us.
brooketansley.net thespaceprogram.org thelittleorchardhouse.com
luvtheEmcee
Broadway Legend
joined:12/9/03
First, what a weird-ass broad generalization.

Second, I am hardly saying this is in all cases, but I don't think you can argue that there is NEVER a correlation between being friendly to fans and gaining fans. There are always going to be the fans who choose whose careers they are going to support (perhaps not consciously) based on who is nicest to them at the stage door and who gave them the experience(s) that made them feel special. You remember those moments, especially when you are young. It impacts how much you care.

As for the value of autographs, I think it is unfair to deride them as meaningless - it's a matter of personal preference. When I was younger and waited at stage doors often, I was very, very shy. "Would you sign my Playbill?" was a way to engage with someone who I might have been very nervous to talk to. It's a good way to open up and break the ice. And when you're dealing with an art form that is completely ephemeral, it can be nice to have a tangible thing. Maybe that's not your thing, but that doesn't mean there are not good reasons for it.
A work of art is an invitation to love.
Wynbish
Broadway Legend
joined:4/27/12
Thanks, Brooke
BrookeTansley
Understudy
joined:2/21/10
You're welcome :)
brooketansley.net thespaceprogram.org thelittleorchardhouse.com
Kelly2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/5/07
Without fans, actors would NOT be jobless. The arrogance to assume that your
$26.50 or even $126.50 is the reason any of these people are employed is selfish and sociopathic.

Without PRODUCERS actors would be jobless.

And Brooke, thank you for sharing those experiences. Scary stuff, I feel bad for that man's young daughters, they could use a better role model.

"Get mad, then get over it." - Colin Powell
Updated On: 7/24/12 at 08:59 PM
luvtheEmcee
Broadway Legend
joined:12/9/03
Ah, didn't see Brooke's post sneak in there before mine. Cheers to you for stepping up to share your stories, though.

It's a really tricky (and fascinating) relationship for sure.
A work of art is an invitation to love.
jv92
Broadway Legend
joined:11/4/05
Re: Brooke's experience with the cake/angry letter man--

Why do they ALWAYS have to bring their Christianity into EVERYTHING?

Thanks for sharing, though. Sounds rather frightening.
orangeskittles
Broadway Legend
joined:1/8/05
"Without fans, actors would NOT be jobless. The arrogance to assume that your $26.50 or even $126.50 is the reason any of these people are employed is selfish and sociopathic.

Without PRODUCERS actors would be jobless."

Producers cast actors who can sell tickets. Not just my ticket. A thousand people a night's tickets. Most producers could care less about talent. It's commercial theatre. Recent successes have made it patently clear that shows don't have to have good actors to make money. They don't even have to have good shows. The culture is changing. Singing pretty is not enough to sustain a theatre career anymore and it will only get worse as the audiences continue to respond to it.

Look at Stephanie Block, who originally lost out on Elphaba because the producers didn't think an unknown actress could open a new musical.

Look at Michael Cerveris, who admitted he started taking TV and movie roles to be able to maintain his position as a Broadway lead. Not for the money, but for the marquee value that a Tony and successful stage career don't give him.

Look at Ricky Martin and Daniel Radcliffe, who were cast despite there being hundreds of better actors for the roles, solely because they can sell 1000 seats, 8 times a week for a year- crappy reviews, Tony snubs and all.

Like I said, I don't care if actors sign or not. But if they aspire to anything more on Broadway than the ensemble, or the understudy who will never go on because producers would rather cancel the show than refund all the tickets when an above-the-title movie star is out, or a cog in a long running show, they're going to need to make the effort to be more than a just good performer onstage. That's not enough anymore.
Like a firework unexploded
Wanting life but never knowing how
Kelly2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/5/07
Orangeskittles, I never made a value judgment on what types of actors get cast or why. I was stating the simple fact that shows can survive without stagedoor stalkers but cannot survive without funding.
"Get mad, then get over it." - Colin Powell
orangeskittles
Broadway Legend
joined:1/8/05
If you equate all fans as one in the same with "stagedoor stalkers", that's a reflection on you.
Like a firework unexploded
Wanting life but never knowing how
thetinymagic2
Broadway Legend
joined:8/12/07
Great post, Brooke.
FYI - Below ground, in the basement of a certain Bway Theatre lies the Operations Ctr. for Shubert security. On one wall are NYPD mug shots/reports of all suspicious characters known and suspected who hang around, harass, etc. anyone working at a theatre. Know that you're being watched when you stagedoor. They take any potential threats extremely seriously. The NYPD/Bway Theatre Security know all usual suspects in the Times Sq. area.

BTW, Acting is a JOB.
Being an Accountant is a job.
Being an MD is a JOB.
How would like being hounded as you left WORK every day of your life??
Sas cuyvers
Swing
joined:5/16/12
Well, it's nice to hear stories from the other side of the stagedoor fences. I do like to stagedoor, and I consider my signed playbills and/or windowcards a lovely souvenir from my NY trips.
Glad to hear Brooke say that the other 80% are perfectly normal and mostly well behaved people. Should the majority then quit stagedooring because of the nutty, disturbed 20% ?
I don't think of it as a prerogative to have my playbill signed, but it's nice when they do sign. I have experienced that some actors do like some feedback from the people who just saw their performance, and some of them, like Jim Stanek, Bill Irwin, Judith Light, John Glover, James Earl Jones, who never signs, but stays to chat and shake hands with everyone, Mark Rylance, Brian J. smith, to name a few, will even engage you in a conversation that lasts longer than 10 seconds. I have had very nice chats with all of the above, and many more.
It's just a matter of being calm, polite, and respectfull, and then stagedooring, for me, can be an added happy theater memory I take home with me.
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
hmm...the cast of Book of Mormon certainly didn't get cast because of their fan base. And from what I can see, neither did the replacements. I'd say the same for the casts of ONCE and Newsies.

Yes, REVIVALS often rely on 'names' for the leading roles, but you can't say that for all shows, or all roles.


Chorus girls and boys aren't going to move up in the ranks (so to speak) because of their number of fans. They move up because of talent, experience and luck.


and to Brooke (or any other Bway performers) please remember: MANY of us here get the whole idea behind stagedooring, and respect, and boundaries. (Many of us have been sticking up for you.)
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
I add to the applause for Brooke's post. To those who are afraid to explore the dark side of celebrity-worship, read it and think a bit.
Kelly2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/5/07
Orangeskittles, I'm not sure why that wording tripped you up to miss the point. The types of fans (repeat viewers, autograph hounds) we're discussing are not the reason actors have jobs or the reason why shows succeed or fail. That all comes down to $$$ and one person buying 50 student tickets isn't helping a show. Heck, one person buying 100$ tickets can't save a show. It's a much larger operation than that and the real money that a show NEEDS comes from investors/producers. That's all I was saying. It is arrogant and delusional for fans to think otherwise.
"Get mad, then get over it." - Colin Powell
Patti LuPone FANatic
Broadway Legend
joined:3/4/06
Aplauso, aplauso to Brooke! I've sometimes wondered to what extent Broadway show people looked at this board. You wrote a very descriptive view of stage dooring. It's great to be aware of your personal perspective. I like to stage door at Broadway (and touring) shows. Some have been surprising (ex. After seeing "Chicago" for the first time, I waited outside the Ambassador stage door. It was only me and one younger man. I was struck by that. After the first preview of "Evita", there was already a huge crowd waiting before people left the theatre. I did manage to get a few autographs and loved that the delightful Max von Essen signed things for a lot of people. After I saw "Deuce", Angela Lansbury signed and took pics with fans. She was the height of graciousness. One of my favorite stage door actors is Nick Adams. I've seen him in "A Chorus Line", "La Cage" and "Priscilla". He is ever so nice to his fans and to me. After "Addams Family", I was surprised that Bebe graciously signed things...but didn't pose for pics. I was thrilled that she did the stage door (Nathan Lane...did not..cough, cough). Best of luck to you Brooke....from RC in Austin, Texas
Susan Haskins (Theatre Talk): "I love children. That's why I work with Michael (Riedel)."
yankeefan7
Broadway Legend
joined:4/14/12
SingAlongMovies2 - I think we all know the performer you are talking about and the night I saw Spring Awakening, she did sign for everyone on a very cold night. She did not chat or pose for pictures, just made her way down the line nd signed for everyone. The rest of the cast was more sociable and I have posted in another thread about how great Jonathan Groff was that night to our family.
sowren1020
Stand-by
joined:3/15/10
Brooke, how gracious and generous you are to share your experiences making time to sign programs and spend time with the fans who come to see you. I don't think anyone who waits for a playbill to be signed knows the commitment it takes to do 8 shows a week and to try to stay healthy that entire time while "pressing flesh" after each show. It is a big consideration that while people who are lined up for free for a program or face time, the first obligation is to the producers who hired you. When you are in close quarters to many people, the simplest cold or flu can take you out of your singing job and spread illness to the rest of the cast, which is why a lot of folks don't shake hands or sign with others' pens. The fact that you would be considerate enough to make your appearance similar to your character as not to confuse the younger fans, just goes to show your dedication and willingness to connect. Here's to a great role in a first run production for you, Miss Brooke! You are an asset to any production.
Jane2
Broadway Legend
joined:2/13/04
"Heck, one person buying 100$ tickets can't save a show. It's a much larger operation than that and the real money that a show NEEDS comes from investors/producers. That's all I was saying. It is arrogant and delusional for fans to think otherwise."

Producers raise the money from investors to mount a show. It's ticket sales that either closes it or keeps it running.
<-----craves juicy pizza
Kelly2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/5/07
Jane2, so are you making the argument that the small percentage of crazed fans at stagedoor, most of whom pay rush prices and do not see the show every time they show up, are a significant contributing factor to the run of a show?

I think that's being pretty deceitful about their influence.
"Get mad, then get over it." - Colin Powell
yankeefan7
Broadway Legend
joined:4/14/12
BrookeTansley - thanks for sharing the actors side of this experience. I saw Adam Pascal in concert with my wife and daughters a bunch of years ago and he sang a song that detailed the "creepy" experience of a few people at the stage door. He spoke before doing the song how some of these people actually thought he was the charachter in "Rent" and that they had some type of relationship with him. Anyway, thanks for the time you have given fans after performances.
orangeskittles
Broadway Legend
joined:1/8/05
Not all fans are the teenagers who buy rush tickets 4 times a weekend. People are flying into New York from around the world to see Ricky Martin. Not just a handful of crazy kids and creepers- hundreds of people every night. They're fans too- fans who are setting box office records at the Marquis. And you think they have no bearing on a show's success? Talk about delusional.
Like a firework unexploded
Wanting life but never knowing how

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