Broadway Stage Management Symposium (BSMS) Announces Panels & Speakers

The fifth annual Broadway Stage Management Symposium (BSMS) will feature over thirty Broadway Stage Managers and Professionals in an incredible array of panels addressing important aspects of the art and craft of stage management. As the leaders of a theatrical company, stage managers are responsible for the mounting, maintenance and running of a show. They deal with a wide variety of issues and need to be well-versed in both production processes and people skills. The BSMS provides a unique forum to engage with top professionals on numerous topics important to stage managers at all levels.

The BSMS has announced the following panel topics and speakers for 2019:

When the Show Must NOT Go On, will address how Broadway's stage managers decide when, why and how to stop a show. Stage Managers are charged with keeping their company safe in rehearsals and performances. We give the "go" to execute cues from flying to opening traps in the floor, blackouts to strobe lights, and moving tons of scenery along the stage or into the air. Therefore, stage managers need to feel comfortable and confident in their ability to stop in potentially dangerous situations. This panel will reveal the techniques and preparations that go into making those crucial decisions and features Bonnie Panson (Anastasia, Bring It On!, Spider-Man), Ira Mont (Jagged Little Pill, Cats, Ghost, The Producers), Diane DiVita (Eclipsed, The Elephant Man, Hamlet, The Coast of Utopia) and Matthew Stern (Finding Neverland, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, The Little Mermaid, Wicked).

In a similar spirit, the panel Fight and Flight features Broadway fight choreographer Rick Sordelet, Aerial Designer Paul Rubin (Wicked, Peter Pan, International productions of The Little Mermaid), and Anna Robb, International producer/manager (Cirque Du Soliel & The House of Dancing Waters, Macau). This session will dive into the specifics stage managers need to know about flying affects and stage combat (hand to hand, swords, guns), to insure proper protocols and procedures are implemented and followed to keep their company safe.

Social media has permeated almost every aspect of our lives. It even helped propel the musical, Be More Chill from obscurity to Broadway. Their stage management team even has their own Instagram account! The Be More Chill stage managers (Amanda Michaels, Michael Rico Cohen & Kaliegh Brunner) lead the panel: Social Media for Stage Managers and discuss how social media has affected the profession of stage management. Topics include: how to manage your own social media in a professional manner, the affect your social feed can affect your job prospects, as well as how to manage the social media use of your company to maintain a safe and productive rehearsal and performance space. Adriana Douzos, Broadway press agent, will join the panel to discuss how actors use of social media has become an important marketing tool. Other stage managers joining the panel include, Cherie B. Tay (Hadestown, Getting' The Band Back Together, Amelie), Matthew Dicarlo (Betteljuice, The Play That Goes Wrong, Rock of Ages), Sarah Harris (Harry Potter, Come From Away, Once On This Island)

Gary Mickelson (Come From Away, Memphis) and Christy Ney (Wicked) will discuss their philosophy and methods for building company morale and creating a comfortable, familial feeling at work. Maintaining Morale is crucial on long and short runs alike. The more supported, trusting and happy the company feels, the better their connection to each other, and in turn, the better the show. In the theatre, we all want to do more than just have "a job", there the skills and techniques to achieve this are imperative.

In Actor's Perspective, Broadway actors share their thoughts on stage management. Tony Award winner Beth Leavel (The Drowsy Chaperone, The Prom, Bandstand), Christina Sajous (SpongeBob SquarePants, Spider-Man, American Idiot) & Kelvin Moon Loh (Bettlejuice, SpongeBob SquarePants, Side Show) will discuss their needs and experiences. Stage managers and Actors have a very special relationship, sharing every moment of rehearsals and performances together, even sharing the same union. Therefore, the insights from these Broadway actors will prove very helpful.

Fiscal Health for Stage Managers focuses on the economics of a sustainable career. There are important tools, techniques and information that can help stage managers, and others in the arts, make the most of their income. Featuring stage manager & fiscal advocate, Melissa Bondar (aka @brokegirlrich), Sandra Karas, Secretary-Treasurer of Actors Equity Association and Director of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, and staff members from the Actors Federal Credit Union, this panel will discuss retirement, managing debt, banking, as well as saving tips, the art of contract negotiation, taxes, loans and more.

Other sessions include:

Show Calling Insights and Demonstrations from The Lion King with three of the stage managers from the Broadway production, Ron Vodicka, Ken McGee & Carmen Abruzado.

Stage Managing for Good: Broadway's Charities is about the special relationship between Broadway Cares, The Actor's Fund & Stage Management, including career opportunities and their invaluable services. Veteran Broadway Stage Managers Sherry Cohen (Network, Mamma Mia, Cats), Peter Wolf (Allegiance, A Christmas Story) join BCEFA producer and former Broadway stage manager, Valerie Lau Kee Lai and Barbara Davis from The Actor's Fund to complete the panel.

A special session with Richard Hester, original Production Stage Manager of The Jersey Boys, focuses on his experience mounting the show in numerous countries & venues around the world, as well as advice and insights learned from his amazing journey.

Tech Talk for Stage Managers is a panel with the creators of software & hardware for stage managers. It features Stage Write, ETC, Cast98, The Empty Space and more, discussing the challenges and solutions new technologies bring to stage managers.

All sessions have Q&A time allotted, and attendees get to mix and mingle with fellow attendees and panelists between sessions and at the popular wrap party. The relationships built at BSMS have helped alumni to build their networks and book jobs.

This educational intensive is open to the public and available via an online webinar as well as in New York City. The webinar allows those who cannot travel to NYC to see the BSMS and to participate via the moderated live chat room. Questions from the chat room are brought to the panelist to answer during sessions. And a full replay is available for four weeks. Therefore, one can review any missed sessions at their leisure. See website for full details and pricing. Contact: for group rates or questions. The 2019 BSMS will be held June 1 - 2, 2019 at the New Victory Theater.

The BSMS brings together the most experienced and highly-regarded Stage Management professionals on Broadway for an immersive two-day program that offers practical insights, instruction and inspiration for anyone interested in stage management. This one-of-a-kind program offers the kind of practical career advice and deep insights, that only come with the benefits of decades on Broadway. BSMS is also a great networking opportunity, helping attendees exponentially increase their professional network and opportunities for employment.

BSMS was founded by seasoned Broadway stage manager and educator, Matthew Stern who has worked on over twenty Broadway productions including Finding Neverland, On The Town, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, The Little Mermaid, Wicked, Death Of A Salesman (with Philip Seymour Hoffman), Fiddler On The Roof (with Alfred Molina and Harvey Fierstein), Enchanted April (with Molly Ringwald and Jayne Atkinson), The Full Monty, and more. Stern is on the faculty of SUNY Purchase and has also taught at UC San Diego. Inspired by his students' enthusiasm to learn what it really takes to manage a Broadway show, he brings together his colleagues and fellow Broadway stage managers for this intensive weekend of panels, seminars and lectures, the Broadway Stage Management Symposium.

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