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Stage Manager Career Spotlight: BEETLEJUICE's Matt DiCarlo Is Our Guide To Stage Managing on Broadway
We're spotlighting different off-stage careers on Broadway to answer some common questions people might have about perusing a career off the stage!
This week we're spotlighting Beetlejuice on Broadway's Production Stage Manager Matt DiCarlo! On Broadway everything... EVERYTHING happens for a reason, and it usually starts with a stage manager calling "Go!"
On Broadway Matt has worked on The Play That Goes Wrong (as well as directed the National Tour and off-Broadway companies), The Color Purple, Honeymoon in Vegas, and Rock of Ages!
What does a typical day look like for a stage manager?
Before I arrive at the theatre, a portion of my day is spent handling emails and phone calls about that evening's performance, future scheduling and planning, or anything else that anyone might need. Upon arrival at the theatre 90 minutes before curtain, I work with my team to put together the "in/out" for the day, which details any understudies performing, notes or changes, other important facts for the day.
That one-sheet gets distributed to all of the departments (many also received a text from me earlier in the day!). Then our team of four divides and conquers - while the preset is getting checked on deck, information is getting distributed to departments, and day-to-day business is happening, I often get some some work done on the computer and then check in with the company (I visit every room a few times a week!). We have been running for 7 months, so I have learned what everyone's preshow routine is and when the best time to talk to them is!
At show time, I am either calling the show (cueing lights, scenic automation, etc), sitting in the theatre noting the show, or in the office (which is one level up from the stage) and also doing a few cues on the deck! Post-show, we draft a performance report that details all of the goings on at the theatre during that particularly show and email it out to a large distribution list! One or two afternoons a week, we rehearse understudies, and sometimes we have press & marketing events. No day is ever the same as the day before. I love that.
How many stage managers work on Beetlejuice in addition to the PSM and what are their respective duties?
There are four full-time stage managers on Beetlejuice. Rachel Bauder, David Sugarman & Emily Hayes round out the team, and also have several wonderful substitute stage managers. Rachel, David, and I all call the show, so we each call several performances a week. David, Rachel and Emily rotate around on deck.
In addition to the stage manager calling the show, we have a stage manager stage left, another stage manager stage right, and a 'floating' stage manager that can spend some of the show getting work done in the office and also does several cues throughout the performance.
Outside of the running of the actual show, there are SO many things that our team and office are responsible for to keep the show running smooth and efficiently, and to make sure everyone is having a pleasant time at work! We divide up all of those responsibilities and keep the communication flowing in a major way. Beetlejuice has SO many moving parts, so we always try to be a few steps ahead of everything. The "Beetlejuice SMs" group text is my favorite group text.
What type of postsecondary education did you pursue?
I got my my BFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Go Scarlet Knights!
How important was your education toward your Broadway career?
I learned a lot during my time in Rutgers, and also quickly learned that I needed to create my own opportunities. The proximity to NYC was ultimately the reason I chose to go to school there.
I came into the city often to meet stage managers and other theatre professionals, and I started to network early. Stage Management is so hard to learn sitting in the classroom, and I was very interested in getting as much experience as possible outside of school. Something that has been SO useful is a real understanding of so many different aspects of the art form.
During college, I took classes in lighting design, scenic design, acting, producing and marketing, costume construction, etc. As a theatrical collaborator, it is so important to have an understanding of what everyone does.
How did you book your first professional job? Your first Broadway job?
My first Broadway job was as the Assistant Stage Manager for Rock of Ages. I was the Production Assistant for the show's brief off-Broadway run at New World Stages in 2008 and landed a full time job on the show when it transferred to Broadway in 2009! Flash forward to 2011 and I became the Production Stage Manager!
What do you look for in prospective hires?
I think it is really important for a team to be well-rounded. I always try to surround myself with people who are like-minded, but also bring some skills and experience to the table in areas that I feel like will support and elevate the rest of the team (myself included!).
We all spend so much time together that it is equally important to me that I can celebrate with, eat meals with, share with, confide in, and laugh with my team. The way that stage managers communicates is so vital to me - I like the team to be full of kind, diplomatic, easy-going but focused, strong, and skilled people.
If someone wants to reach out to a Broadway stage manager about internships or mentorship opportunities, what would you recommend?
Drop your resume off at the stage door with a brief cover letter (...and make sure you proofread!).
What's the best part of being a Broadway stage manager?
Oh, its so rewarding. There are so many "best" things. When the house lights dim and the show starts, you know that you play a huge part in making that experience happen for the audience.
When the audience applauds for the curtain call at the end of the show, you know that you helped the company tell that story..and its not always easy! Calling the show during the first preview. Celebrating on opening night with the company after months (and sometimes years!) of work.
Experiencing the thrill of live theatre eight times a week. Feeling pride for understudies when they go onstage for the first time. The Tony Awards. I never take for granted that I get to walk through a Broadway Stage Door to go to work. I'm really grateful. It's so awesome.
What is the hardest part of being a Broadway stage manager?
The hours are long and sometimes the job can come with a lot of pressure. I take it all in stride, count my blessings, check things off my to-do list one thing at a time, smile, and find a lot of "me" time whenever I can (and sometimes that's at really weird hours of the day!).
What one bit of advice do you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?
Trust the journey!
Photo of Matt DiCarlo: Courtesy of Davy Mack