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BWW Blog: A Love Letter to the Stage Door

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Dear stage door - I will miss you, terribly. I hope you’re only gone temporarily.

BWW Blog: A Love Letter to the Stage Door

In the midst of a global pandemic, nearly every aspect of our lives has changed. From face masks to social distancing to hand sanitizing stations at every corner, life looks very different now than it did in February. For us theatre fans, one of the biggest changes has been the postponement of performances everywhere. Even when Broadway does return, will it look the same? New guidelines from the IATSE say no.

When Broadway eventually reopens (as of right now, the plan is for January 2021), unless the virus is somehow completely gone, it will look incredibly different. First, everyone will be required to wear face masks - including performers whenever they are not onstage. Playbills won't be handed out by ushers but put on a table or rack for audience members to take (get there early if you want one!). And the part that I will mourn most of all - fans can no longer wait at the stage door to meet actors and get autographs.

BWW Blog: A Love Letter to the Stage DoorThis change is obvious and makes complete sense. The stage door is crowded, leads to one-on-one interactions, and involves passing Playbills between actors and fans. Even before Broadway officially shut down at the beginning of the pandemic, actors ceased stage dooring for the sake of their safety. Assuming that there is somehow a vaccine, or the virus is eventually eradicated, I sincerely hope that this change isn't permanent.

There was always something magical to me about the stage door. To me, the opportunity to meet the actors after seeing a show was unlike any other. After spending 2-3 hours watching pure talent onstage, they would just come out after the show and I would find myself face-to-face with them. The experience is unmatched. Depending on the performer, how busy the stage door was, and the degree of fame of the actor in question, I reveled in the opportunity to have a conversation with these people who had made magic real for me. Even the simple opportunity to look an actor in the eye and thank them for the performance they gave. That is part of why theatre captivates me so much - there is nothing like a live show experience and seeing the actors perform right in front of you.

BWW Blog: A Love Letter to the Stage DoorAnother incredible thing about the stage door is how humbling it often is for actors. With the exception of big-time celebrities (personal examples I can think of are Josh Groban and Adam Driver), after spending time talking to fans and signing autographs, the actors just walk away and disappear into the crowd to go home. They go from being celebrities behind the stage door barricades to being another anonymous person lost in the crowd in Manhattan. It always amazed me, how small and niche the Broadway community seems when something like that happens. And absolutely nothing made me happier than looking at my Playbill on the late-night train ride home, seeing it riddled with signatures and knowing it was something I could keep forever. Today, when I think about my stage door experiences, I only feel positivity and warmth. It was such a special experience and something I will never forget.BWW Blog: A Love Letter to the Stage Door

So, dear stage door - I will miss you, terribly. I hope you're only gone temporarily. I don't know for sure when Broadway will come back, what it will look like, or what state the world will be in. But I know I will be first in line when it's safe to do so. When it is safe to live normally again, I can't wait to visit you again.

BWW Blog: A Love Letter to the Stage Door

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From This Author Student Blogger: Katy Dara