BWW Blog: Hello from BOOK OF MORMON!
Hello everyone! My name is Perri Sparano and I am a freshman at Marymount Manhattan College. I am getting my BA in Theatre with a concentration in Producing and Management. I am thrilled to be able to give you all a look into what it is like being a stage management student in college!
I have found that one of the best ways to gain insight into the world of a stage manager, is to shadow or meet with those working in the professional world. This week I had the great opportunity to meet with Karen Moore, the stage manager at Book of Mormon. Moore has been stage managing for 35 years and has spent the past 8 with Book of Mormon. She began her professional career assisting Peter Hanson on the original production of Steel Magnolias in 1987. From there she has worked on a variety of productions ranging from Drowsy Chaperone to Elf to her current position at Book of Mormon.
I began by asking about her experience with Book of Mormon. Moore described that when the show first became a big deal, it was almost difficult to conceive the hype surrounding the work that they were doing. She confessed that at times it could be embarrassing telling others where she worked for fear of sounding boastful. Moore divulged that the experience was actually humbling in a way. It wasn't until Hamilton first opened and she saw what it looks like for a show to catch huge momentum, that she was able to fully grasp what Book of Mormon had accomplished.
When I inquired about what she feels has been her impact on the stage management community, her response could be summed up in one word: longevity. The role of a stage manager can be taxing and not many stick with it for as long as she has. When working on a show for so long, one could easily lose interest. Moore expressed thats it's actually quite easy to keep fresh and focused as it is live theatre and no one show ever exactly the same.
I asked Moore what advice she has for aspiring stage managers. She encourages us to say yes to everything. Every small or odd job could open a new world of opportunities. We discussed the stigma around only wanting to work on Broadway right out of college. Moore strongly states, "You are only as good as the total sum of your experiences." She hold the belief that the knowledge you gain from working in regional, off-off Broadway, and off Broadway are what truly prepare you for crazy world of Broadway. This is an interesting perspective as many young people working on breaking into the industry have the mindset that it's Broadway or bust. It is refreshing to be encouraged to explore the world outside of Broadway and use the tools gained as stepping stones to a potentially larger goal.
This meeting was a great look into the world of professional stage management. I feel as though in one short meeting, my knowledge of the craft has expanded and I now have a better understanding of the mindset a stage manager lives in. I hope to continue to grow in this capacity as I look to meet with other stage managers in the future. Break legs xx