Young Broadway actresses too cool for stage door?

Kelly2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/5/07
What I mean is that it's generally true in life that the person who "loves least" has the power. As the fan, you are the one who idolizes or admires this person, you want them to like you, you want them to think you're awesome or cool or whatever it may be. You're asking for something from them, both the material (photos and autographs) and the immaterial (affection). That immediately puts you in the position of needing/wanting something from someone who does not, generally, need or want anything from you.

ETA: I agree this is a discussion that has remained insanely civil considering it's source. Well done, team.
"Get mad, then get over it." - Colin Powell
Updated On: 7/27/12 at 02:55 PM
mikem
Broadway Legend
joined:8/5/04
I'll jump into the fray and say why I like to go to the stage door. I'll start out by saying I have absolutely no interest in befriending any actor at the stage door. I never ask about anything personal.

This is why I stage door:
- I have no connections to the industry and I often have questions about the production (set design functionality, directorial decisions, "was that supposed to happen?," etc), and people at the stage door have been incredibly gracious about answering them, and I have learned a lot about both the practical aspects of staging a production as well as understanding in general why and how productions are put together the way they are. It has been a wonderful education that has really enhanced my theater-going experience, and I really couldn't have gotten it in any other way.

- If a show makes me feel something -- if it touches something within me -- going to the stage door and talking to the actors makes me feel more connected to a production that has had some emotional resonance for me. I'm not saying that's rational, but I think it's common and understandable. And isn't feeling something part of the reason why we go to the theater? In addition, those conversations often enhance my understanding of the show and make me appreciate it even more.

- If someone has given me joy through their work, why not tell them? It makes them feel good. I especially like to tell the people with smaller but memorable parts, or creative team members, because they often get ignored but are often the key to the whole production. And I've gotten genuine responses of "You've made my day," and "I'm so glad you said that," and I'm happy I was able to give something back to someone who gave me joy.

And when I look at the autographs later, I remember those encounters. It's a souvenir of an experience, just like any souvenir.

That's not so strange, is it?

"What was the name of that cheese that I like?" "you can't run away forever...but there's nothing wrong with getting a good head start" "well I hope and I pray, that maybe someday, you'll walk in the room with my heart"
Kelly2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/5/07
No, mikem, it is not. But I do wish people would read the many clarifications I have made on the specific subset of people I am calling "strange", to use your word.

As far as the casual things you are mentioning, to me for the place I am in my life and my current lifestyle, it is not meaningful or relevant to me to engage in it, but I'm not condemning every person who does to Broadway hell or something!
"Get mad, then get over it." - Colin Powell
luvtheEmcee
Broadway Legend
joined:12/9/03
Well, that's not really what I was saying, or what I was talking about at all for that matter, but it doesn't really matter. I'm sure somebody could do a study if they felt like it.

It seems like, for whatever reason, we're sort of passing each other by on a lot of these subjects. The only reason I said anything about a potential power dynamic was because you brought it up initially. I do think it's different in different settings, but again, there's not as much a black and white distinction as I felt like you were positing. How someone addresses others is a matter of disposition. But it's like I was getting at in my other post: if it's your party and I'm just telling you I like your work and having an innocuous chat, I don't want to hog up all your time; you've got more important things to do and people to talk to than hang out with me. That's all I meant in terms of what you're reading as feeling like an actor is above you.

I think that even though we aren't really seeing eye-to-eye on some things, you and I have probably actually had some similar experiences; I know exactly what you mean about a change in the way you're treated. I remember having a discussion with someone on here once where I was being pummeled for things I had said at like 16 or 17, and in response I was like, you know what, you have to realize that teenagers grow up, and fans become artists and theatre professionals. I remember so clearly the moment at which an actor whose work I've long loved and now count as a friend began treating me as more than an adoring fan. But that wasn't about the actor, it was about me: I had to grow up a lot, I had to start responding to him like he was a normal human being before any of that could happen. And it's something that's grown for years. It's just like anything else, or dealing with any other person; it's about gaining somebody's trust. I disagree that that switch is entirely about self-interest, because my experiences have actually been the opposite, and experiences of nothing but kindness and generosity, but again, so many variables.
A work of art is an invitation to love.
beltingbaritone
Broadway Star
joined:10/30/08
Audra McDonald talks a little bit about stagedooring in her "Show People" interview on Broadway.com. She recounts how a woman offered to hold her daughter while she singed an autograph. 0.o
Men don't even belt.
Kelly2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/5/07
Totally get what you're saying about your experience. I've had one standout experience with someone I met at "stagedoor" who is now one of my closest friends, but that person has patience that I couldn't imagine having and is not an actor so that, I'm sure, contributed. It was a series of very unusual circumstances anyway. And I have definitely had the experience of being a working professional in my twenties and having some people still try to pin me down based on things I said 6-7 years ago. They are discordant ideas but part of me knows that the way I was treated and held accountable for my behavior (much of which was encouraged or provoked by bored or sociopathic actors) wasn't entirely my fault. But, now, I realize how important being scolded and having both positive and negative consequences helped me to realize I was engaging in something that was not productive for my life and to remove myself from it.

I simply don't want other people to make the mistake of assuming their experiences are genuine, real, and special when the people they're talking to are professional actors and it is their job to be smiling and make you like them. It doesn't mean they like you back.
"Get mad, then get over it." - Colin Powell
luvtheEmcee
Broadway Legend
joined:12/9/03
Well, no, it's a give and take on both the positive and negative sides. There have certainly been situations where things go sour and get out of hand where the actor is to blame just as much as the fans. I think it can be a big challenge for actors to know what to encourage and what not to. It's a learning curve for everybody.

And I understand the precautionary words, but on the flip side, it's one thing to caution; it's another to say it can't ever be genuine or real, especially when you run into things that are above and beyond what's obligatory. You have to have a degree of self-awareness about it is all.
A work of art is an invitation to love.
theaterisdead
Swing
joined:7/26/12
I find this whole discussion EXTREMELY fascinating. Like others are saying, there's not "box" for fans. I've worn many hats as a performer and a fan. I've stagedoored plenty. Not as often as I did as a teen, but I definitely gawked at Audra McDonald when I saw 'Porgy and Bess' the other day. I've also made (few, I'll admit, I can count the number on my hand) friends from actors I actually MET at the stagedoor. Years later, we still visit one another and keep in touch. Some have left the business. "Stagedoor friendships" if you want to call them that, may be rare, but it happens. Who can know the reasons why? I know a married couple that MET at the stagedoor (an actor and a fan).

Kelly2, just out curiosity, when was it that you supposedly "woke up"? Did you just wake up with 'maturity' as you call it one day, or did you have some sort of horrific experience? I'm not being facetious. I'm truly intrigued, since you said it used to be a large part of your life, and now it's not.

Not gonna bother to proofread this, sorry guys.
The slotted spoon still catches the potato.
mikem
Broadway Legend
joined:8/5/04
kelly2, I wrote my message about why I stage door partially in response to newintown's seeming insistence that there is no legitimate reason to stagedoor, ever, but also in response to your questioning Vellenkamp as to why he was excited to have met Mackenzie Crook. I'm guessing his reasons would be similar to my own -- he likes his work, Crook's made him laugh on The Office, and it's exciting to meet someone you feel is talented or has some admirable quality and who has affected you in some fashion, which is going to be a different person for different people. I wouldn't think it was weird if a friend called me who was excited because he had just spoken to The President of the United States or Muhammad Ali or the Director of the National Institutes of Health or the captain who landed the plane on the Hudson or whoever the person is for him. It doesn't mean that it was a life-changing event or that it's supposed to have some resonance for Crook. It's a casual encounter that you remember casually. When you're six, you're excited because you met Mickey Mouse at Disneyland. It doesn't mean you become a Mickey Mouse stalker.

The crazy fans of course are a different story.

I have also noticed the stage door "persona" that most actors have. It's supposed to be casual and real, but it's a public face and it's not real at all. I find it pretty rare for an actor at the stage door not to have on their public face. But I agree that many fans don't seem to be able to tell that. If a fifteen-year-old fan would take a step back, they might wonder whether a 35-year-old actress really has anything in common with them and whether they are actually friends, but I'm not sure that insight is that common.

You obviously can decline to answer this, but can I ask you the general outline of what you're referring to in terms of sociopathic actors leading you down a certain path? I'm just curious.
"What was the name of that cheese that I like?" "you can't run away forever...but there's nothing wrong with getting a good head start" "well I hope and I pray, that maybe someday, you'll walk in the room with my heart"
Kelly2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/5/07
"Kelly2, just out curiosity, when was it that you supposedly "woke up"? Did you just wake up with 'maturity' as you call it one day, or did you have some sort of horrific experience? I'm not being facetious. I'm truly intrigued, since you said it used to be a large part of your life, and now it's not."

There were a lot of factors, one of the major factors was the person I met who became my friend who was not an actor asked me why I was wasting my life at the stagedoor. It wasn't because he was judging me, he just didn't understand why I wasn't pursuing the things I had been telling him I wanted to pursue. That was one of the first moments I realized I was wasting a lot of my time and energy on something that was really not that important. I did have one very bad experience with someone who I admired very much. I believed we were friends (we weren't) simply because we spoke on the phone and hung out occasionally. That person did a series of horrible things to me not only personally but professionally just because of an extended argument that was had about the fact that there was some backstabbing going on. I don't want to get into any details on a public board but it was truly bizarre relationship that no one in my friend circle can quite explain the how or the why. That really was for me the last straw. I don't like being lied to, I don't like being strung along, and unless you're onstage, I have no desire to be "acted" at.

I hope you don't take this as my having an axe to grind though. What really drives me to speak about this topic is the amount of people I've seen go down the autograph line, come back inside, and immediately go into a laundry list of all the crazy people who were there, anything that was said, tons of unflattering nicknames regarding those who were there often (many based on negative physical traits like weight and dental hygiene)...it proved to me that my experience was not unique. Some actors feed off attention and will do anything to get it with little regard for what the consequences might be, it is parasitic and inappropriate in a million ways. Fans are guilty of blindly playing into this and not ever stopping to question anything and of course, filling a void in their lives with other peoples' talent and fleeting affection when they could be doing so many more productive things.
"Get mad, then get over it." - Colin Powell
ghostlight2
Broadway Legend
joined:12/5/04
Well, that explains a few things...
Kelly2
Broadway Legend
joined:1/5/07
You know what, I hesitated even posting that because I thought it was too easy to be glib and reductive about what I've been saying. I did not let this one person alter my entire viewpoint, it was EXPERIENCE in life and in this industry that altered it. People would do well to be more cautious with their admiration and affection and spend more time hitting the gym, the books, the museums...anything but wasting years of your life on being the fluffer for someone else's ego.
"Get mad, then get over it." - Colin Powell
Wynbish
Broadway Legend
joined:4/27/12
Like beltingbaritone said, here is Audra addressing what it is like at the stage door.
"I don't remember it being like this..."
JeanGudio
Stand-by
joined:6/9/12
It could be a safety issue, matilda they came out but could not sign.
Bettyboy72
Broadway Legend
joined:3/31/06
I think because actors are all just normal people with the same hang ups as everyone else, it can strike them as odd or overwhelming that people would wait for them. It has nothing to do with the fans, it has to do with them.

I think fans forget that actors are people and the same way that you can go to work and snap at a co-worker, avoid the lunch area, or maybe even be unprofessional with a client. They have bad days too and may avoid fans. I think it is fine to avoid fans or even be brisk and not chat. Im ok with whatever an actor chooses to do.

What I did find odd was when Kathleen Turner essentially told all the people waiting for her that she had no idea why they were there and found it odd that people would waste their time doing this. When someone asked for a photo, she told them politely no and asked "why would you want that-thats a little odd." Her sense of disconnect from fans seemed off.
"The sexual energy between the mother and son really concerns me!"-random woman behind me at Next to Normal "I want to meet him after and bang him!"-random woman who exposed her breasts at Rock of Ages, referring to James Carpinello
yankeefan7
Broadway Legend
joined:4/14/12
Humbugfoto - I took my oldest daughter to see "Next To Normal" several years ago after it was open for a short time. My daughter was attending NYU for a semester and I was visiting her. We loved the show and she wanted to "stagedoor" and get her Playbill signed. The line was not very long and the entire cast came out (small cast) and Alice Ripley was the last one. We were at the end of the line and she signed for my daughter and was nice enough to have picture taken with her. I then told Ms. Ripley that I could not imagine how she could reach the emotional depths of her role night after night. She proceed to talk for several minutes about her role and the show in general. She also noticed my daughters bag which had NYU on it and asked her if she was a student and my daughter told her she was a arts major. I finally apologized for keeping her late and she laughed and said it was no problem and it was her pleasure talking to us. I guess my point is that by going to the "stagedoor", my daughter not only got a additional souvenir (autograph/photo) but also received some insight about being a actress on Broadway.

Updated On: 7/29/12 at 05:24 PM
kurt.perry41
Stand-by
joined:11/20/11
For me as a fan and actor myself, I think that I do it because I want to tell the actor how much their performance means to me as an individual.

I mean I'm horrified sometimes by the behavior at some stsge doors coughH2$cough, and I've been shocked by peoples assumption that they are now "friends" with the actor.

Certainly I always remember that they are doing this as an EXTRA thing and a service to the fans. And also they have lives like everyone else and have things they have to do. I try to ber super genuine and as un-invasive as possible and always ask if something is ok, like taking a picture.

I think it's really important that people remember common courtesy and respect for people's lives and I feel like thats gotten lost in recent years. I know that stage dooring allows me the opportunity to thank the performers for what they do and the experience they have created.

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