The Sunday Giveaway: A Free Pass to the Broadway Stage Management Symposium worth $355!

I was going to be a Stage Manager, ya know.

Sure, sure . . . see my first job was as a Production Assistant on a Broadway show, and that’s the first step in a headset-wearin’, cue-callin’ career as a Stage Manager.

I did it for awhile (and I have some great memories of running the deck for the Broadway company of Grease with Rosie O’Donnell, Megan Mullally and just about every other sort-of-star that walked the planet).

But I switched over to Company Manager shortly thereafter . . . because Stage Managing was just too dang hard!

If only I had a Stage Management Symposium to attend back then!

Well, I didn’t, but you do . . .

And this week we’re giving away a free pass to the upcoming Broadway Stage Management Symposium on May 30th and 31st here in New York City!  The organizers have two full days of speakers planned, including Stage Management superpowers like Peter Lawrence, Arturo Porazzi, Lisa Dawn Cave and more.  And like all conferences, there are a ton of networking opportunities. Even if you’re not a Stage Manager, this is going to be a place to be (and remember – a lot of Directors started as Stage Managers, including Mr. Hal Prince, so check it out).

A pass to the symposium costs $355, but for one lucky winner it’s freeeeeeeeee.

How do you win?

Stage Managers are often unsung heros.  I’m still waiting for a Tony Award for Best Stage Manager (I think I’ll be waiting for a long time).  Since these folks don’t get the shout-outs they deserve, write a comment below about your favorite Stage Manager.  Go ahead, show them some love . . . and one of you will win the ticket.

I’ll start.

My favorite SM is Craig Jacobs.  He gave me my start on My Fair Lady so many years ago, and taught me what it takes to work in this biz.  Without him, I’d probably be in law school right now.  Yep, that’s right, I’d still be in law school, because I would never want to finish my reading.  🙂

Who’s your favorite Stage Manager and why . . . comment your answer and you could win!  Good luck!


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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  • Molly Shea says:

    My favorite stage manager is technically still an amateur, but not for long. Caroline Brown is the most passionate and organized individual I have ever met. She cares so deeply for the shows she works on that the people who work with her want to be better, for her. She pulled me into the crazy world of stage managing, and she is who I aspire to be every time I take blocking notes or call a show.

  • Veronica Nijensohn says:

    I don’t know many american stage managers because I’m from Argentina but I’d really like to go!!

  • I have 2 that are tied for favorites, Marc Carmen and Eriz Harazi. Both have shown me it is possible to transition from performer to production. They are always quick with a word of support or encouragement, but aren’t afraid to tell it like it is. I wanna be like them when I grow up.

  • Tori Sheehan says:

    Diane Healy is not only a wonderful stage manager, but she is also one of the most loyal to the people who work with her, taking us under her wing to flourish. She helped me get my card, and also stood proudly in my corner every step of the way. I am proud to call her a mentor.

  • Lisa B says:

    Frank Marino – what a passionate, kind, patient man – very willing to mentor young people.

  • Ashlyn S says:

    Kelly Schmidli, now based around the Kansas City area. She helped reintroduce me to backstage life after a long hiatus, and I haven’t left since.

  • Maria Spjoetvoll says:

    Unfortunately I don’t know a lot of professional stage managers, but one of my best friends is currently studying to be one, and I would love to win this for her.

  • Chris Luner says:

    Arturo Porazzi is my favorite stage manager not only because he is one of the most hard working, dedicated professionals I’ve ever met, but he has also serves as an incredible mentor to anyone interested in working not only in stage management but the theatre world as well. Not only did I take a stage management class from him in college, he is also the person responsible for getting me my first Broadway show. He is an incredible mentor who has worked in the business for decades and dedicates time to help the next generation of theatre workers grow and learn alongside someone who is willing to listen and offer advice whenever needed.

  • Tiffany says:

    my favorite stages manager is a close call. So many incredible people. But I’d have to pick Jessie Jardon. I’m sure she’s equity by now. We worked together at the white plains performing arts center a year ago. The perfect blend of humility and sweetness so the cast falls in love.. While still maintaining a strong bite to snap all back into call time, officiate breaks.. And remind our director that we cannot keep adding new artistic views because tech is sunday.

  • Rachel says:

    I have two favorite stage managers, one is the head of the stage management department at Point Park University Kim Martin. In the short time that I have known Kim I have come to learn that she is passionate about her job and her students. She works hard to make us the best stage managers out there. The second stage manager is my current stage manager Madison, she has worked hard to teach me about what it takes to be a stage manager. She allowed me to be active during our rehearsals and to fill out reports just so I can get practice. She has taken me under wing and for that I am so grateful.

    That is why these two are my favorite stage managers, they just care so much for the people they are working with, that it makes me want to do this even more.

  • Roger Gindi says:

    Peter Lawrence because he has the coolest head in the business. Keeps calm while everyone else is panicking.

  • Brian says:

    This is not an easy question but I really want to win. I would have to say one of my favorites is buzz Cohen. A legend and the only Obie award winning sm there is.

  • Jeremy Terry says:

    My favorite Stage Manager is Taryn Verley – although she doesn’t do it often anymore! In the past couple years, Taryn has been pursuing her dream of becoming a director and bringing some of her amazing concepts to life (Including a project that I’m working on!). But while we were in college, Taryn was my SM on a production of Romeo & Juliet. I was the spotlight operator for the show, and after most of my cues got cut, I ended up spending most of my time in the booth where I was able to watch Taryn work first hand. It was absolutely incredible to see her work!

  • My favorite stage manager I’ve worked with so far has been Kaitlyn Ackerman. She is a classmate of mine at NYU but she handles everything that Tisch decides to throw at her while remaining on schedule. She keeps the actor’s best interest in mind always and is approachable and you can trust that if you need something to be done, she will make it happen for you.

  • Courtney DiBello says:

    Karen Quisenberry has my vote for being an outstanding stage manager. Whenever I am uncertain, I just ask myself “WWKD?” What would Karen do? She is a wonderful person and mentor.

  • Heather says:

    My favorite stage manager, though I haven’t worked with her on an actual production, would have to be Lori Zepp. Lori is my Stage Management professor and helps us organize ourselves when working on school production (Marymount Manhattan College). She does a lot of work at Second Stage and Second Stage Uptown. She knows exactly what she’s doing and really keeps everything on track.

  • Hendri says:

    Chie Villanueva is my favorite stage manager. Efficient. Kind. Cool as a cucumber.

  • Andrea Michelle Wilhelm says:

    My first stage manager, Terry D. is my inspiration. She has a great balance of running a children’s musical theater program with a strong demand for their best and a gentle heart, as every stage manager should and has to do.

  • Melissa says:

    Being a professional stage manager myself, I have worked under and with some amazing people, but I’d have to say Tom Kelly. I haven’t had the pleasure of working with him, but I have had many conversations with him and he is a great mentor.

  • David says:

    This one is an easy one for me….and it’s because the answer is my wife. She is a consummate professional (who doesn’t have to be ‘professional’ to be professional) and her priorities, which must constantly shift in order to keep a production on point AND all the individuals happy, are always spot on. She communicates exceedingly well. Oh, and even when she’s not SMing a show, she is an awesome partner when I need someone to run lines at home for my own show. Here’s to her…if only you all could work with her. She’d become YOUR favorite, too.

  • Demi Agapitos says:

    My favorite SM is Gary Adamsen. He’s been working in the business for almost 30 years, has the greatest stories, and now next week he’s getting married on the stage of the Majestic Theater because he’s been doing Phantom since the beginning, first on stage then became the SM all over the world, and this is ALW’s gift to him. He’s the greatest mentor in the whole world and such an inspiration, and has taught me and continues to teach me so much. I just want to be him!!

  • Elaine Smith says:

    Jennifer Tardibuono of New Jersey Repertory Company is the absolute best stage manager I have ever seen. We were so lucky to have her running things during my recent production there. Jennifer handles all the myriad responsibilities of stage management with skill and grace and unfailing good humor. She works tirelessly for the good of the production, keeps the actors safe and supported, is able to give excellent feedback to director and playwright if requested, and makes sure all the drama remains on the stage. If I am lucky enough to win this pass to the Symposium, I will immediately give it to Jenn.

  • Olivia O’Brien is my favorite stage manager in NYC. She did my company a huge favor by stage managing our fringe show when we had no money but lots of ideas. She was supportive, talented, and kept us on track! Whenever I get the chance to pay back the favor and hire her for a well-paying gig I am going to jump on it!

  • Megan Simmons says:

    My favorite stage manager is David Lober. He was the original stage manager for Matilda, which is even more impressive because it was only his second Broadway credit. Being able to control such a massive show like Matilda full of children, elaborate sets, complicated exits and entrances, a large ensemble, and an audience usually full of children is a huge accomplishment, especially for someone who very rarely gets any credit.

  • S. Allison says:

    My favorite stage manager is Martha Donaldson. I was assigned to be her production assistant at New York Stage and Film, when I was a very young college student, and she looked at me on the first day and said “I’ve heard on you. You’re so young, you’re practically a baby. But you better be as good as they say.” From that moment on, I knew I would do whatever it took to make her proud. She has taught me more than anyone else ever has about being a professional stage manager. Most stage managers forget about their college interns, but for three she kept track of me while I got my BFA, and immediately upon me moving to NYC, Martha scooped me up and brought me on to her team. She was instrumental in me deciding when to accept my Equity card, and without her, I know without a doubt, I would not be as prepared to work as a stage manager in this city. Martha is the toughest critic of your work, but a smile and nod from her when you’ve accomplished something great is worth the world.

  • blufugue says:

    My favorite stage manager is my wife. If I win the free pass, I’m going to give it to her and she’s going to be giddy going to the symposium even though by that point she will be eight months pregnant!

  • Matthew Schwartz says:

    My favorite would probably be my mentor, Bill Kingsbury. He consistently takes the time to help me improve on my skills in the industry, and understands that mistakes are teaching opportunities and can be very beneficial to work off of. I’m glad I have the chance to work with him for one more year.

  • Yosi Merves says:

    As someone who has been a lifelong Disney on Broadway fan, I would like to nominate Clifford Schwartz as favorite stage manager for all the amazing shows that he has shepherded through Broadway runs over the past 20+ years.

    In terms of stage managers who I have actually worked with, Tracey Fess is my favorite one.

  • Jamie Lunsford says:

    My favourite stage manager would have to be my mentor, Jeff Cochran. I am currently a student at Oklahoma City University, and I must say that I have been struggling the past year with why I was a stage manager. I could not for the life of me find a reason past “I don’t want to be a quitter” as to why I was studying to become an SM. My mentor, Jeff, assigned me as the SM for our production of The Pirates of Penzance, and at the last performance, it all made sense again. This was a huge show for me in that this was the only show I have EVER worked on that I was truly heartbroken to see end. There was never a point during the process where I thought to myself, “is it strike yet?” He helped me figure out the reason as to why I was pushing myself so hard to get a degree based around something I hated: that reason was that I don’t hate it. I love it. I just needed a push to find the right place for me within stage management.

  • Roy says:

    Shanna Allison is a young and upcoming professional who is determined to make it in the world of stage management.

  • Patrick McGregor II says:

    My favorite is Elisabeth Dennis. She stage managed my Master’s Thesis production. She had never stage managed before and was terrified. But she was professional, organized, and kept everyone on task. The show could NEVER have gotten where it needed to be without her!

  • Tom M says:

    Elizabeth Moreau, recently Production Supervisor at Brooklyn Academy of Music; previously with many companies, theatre and dance. Palissimo Inc., Secret City, The Public Theatre, Eugene O’Neil Theatre Center. She is a professional. Knowledge, control, caring, ability to problem solve and work to see an artistic vision happens the way the artist wants but smoothly. Any company in any space is lucky to have her.

  • Alexa Bishop says:

    Ryan Viramontes!!! Best SM with Hairspray at AfterWork Theater Company!

  • Janice Pratt says:

    Emerson graduate, Shanna Allison, is the stage manager to watch for in the future. She has the skill set, the knowledge and the ability to run a room. She is the ultimate professional.

  • Jennifer J says:

    This is a hard choice as I have worked with so many. I’d have to first nominate my fellow classmate John W. Calder III who has had a LONG career touring the world with Broadway tours. Though I’ve not worked under him, I can tell he is well respected by all those who do. I’d also have to mention Gretchen Van Horne as she was the first professional SM I worked under. I learned a lot from her professionalism and work ethic.
    BUT I also have to mention all the student stage managers that we’ve helped discover their path. We have created some strong candidates for life long careers and hopefully you’ll be hearing from them soon! I wish they could all go to this workshop!

  • Sierra says:

    My favorite SM is Michelle “Mimi” Dunn, who for two of my contracts was the Stage Manager for the casts for Disney Cruise Line on two of my ships (the Fantasy and the Dream). Not only was she in charge of calling highly technical and cue-filled shows (and she had to know what to do if anything malfunctioned), but she also had to navigate the world of ship life. Ship life + theater is hard, in that she had to become our confidant and spokesperson regarding Captain’s orders or whenever safety issues affected us. If we had an issue with our cabin, the food in the mess, how we were being treated by crew members or guests, or questions about family sailing, she had to be the starting point. She’s now going to be with the National Tour of “The Phantom of the Opera,” so her ship duties will inform her tour duties a LOT. Yay Mimi!

  • sheryl wiener says:

    Since I am usually the Stage Manager, I have to say that I am my favorite SM. Although, on a few occasions when I have had the privilege to direct and work with an SM, the only one I want is my friend Angela.

  • Samantha Gruskin says:

    My favorite stage manager is Denise Wilcox. We spent a blissful summer working on a fast-paced festival throughout which she bestowed an endless amount of SM wisdom upon me. Learning from her example, I grew more as a stage manager in that one summer than I have in years. Her optimistic attitude showed me that a positive outlook can truly transform a production. As I watched her navigate the rehearsal process, she taught me that if you’re pragmatic enough, anything can be possible regardless of restrictions on time and budget. I have a notebook which is filled with pieces of advice and wise words from Denise that I still consult when faced with a challenge. My time spent with her was nothing short of inspiring, and I will always be grateful that she was my first true mentor in stage management.

  • Jeremy Bennington says:

    Ruth Kramer is the most dedicated passionate SMs I’ve come across. She has spent her career traveling around the country as a jobbing stage manager. She’s done regional theater, summer stock…practically everything. Most importantly, she is also a strong advocate for her union, AEA

  • Imani C. says:

    I haven’t worked with many professional stage managers but of those that I have, my favorite is definitely Jeff Meyers. I was a PA under him on an off-broadway show and although he was working so hard, he was always extremely polite and made the job look easy!

  • Philip V says:

    I would definitely have to say my favorite SM is Patreshettarlini “Miss Pat” Adams from The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia. As her Fellow last year, she taught me so much – not just about the technical and people management points f SMing, but also about compassion, kindness, and how to have fun at work. She is a powerhouse, the heart of the theatre, gets work done like a boss, and always has time for a hug, a dance, a laugh, or a life chat. I am forever indebted to Miss Pat, and eternally grateful to her.

  • April C says:

    My favourite SM, hands down, is the Los Angeles-based Jill Gold, who have mentored me for many years. Having worked with her in some incredibly stressful situations, I have always been impressed by her ability to not only take it in stride, but to exude a level of confidence and calm that easily spreads to her entire team. The constant friendliness and respect she shows for every person she works with makes her the kind of Stage Manager that inspires every member of the cast and crew to be better than ever, just because she deserves her team to be excellent. I’ve never heard her raise her voice, yet she commands respect at every moment. She will always make time to speak to younger/less-experienced stage managers and help to guide them. Jill is the kind of stage manager all of us should aspire to be.

  • Emily Lynch-Fries says:

    My favorite stage manager Is Nancy Pittleman, a Radio City Music Hall stage manager. She taught me so much when I was first starting out in the field about the roll of being a PA vs. being an assistant. (Something that is not often taught in undergrad programs.) I am eternally grateful!

  • Jonathan Bach says:

    My favorite stage manager is Karen Parlato because she took me under her wing on my first off-Broadway show, and she continues to mentor me to this day. I have never met a more trusting, professional, and caring woman who can also call a kick-ass show!!

  • Alessandra Varsano says:

    Laura fox is the one and only stage manager I would ever recommend. She is an absolute dream. She’s a talented, fearless, loving, caring, hard working, professional and graceful woman. I’ve worked with her now on three shows as my stage manager and she has always exceeded her responsibilities. She has always gone above and beyond. Before rehearsals began for our first show together, I called her and explained to her that I was too nervous and too scared to do it. I told her I would be backing out of the role. She calmly and rationally called me back that night, picked me up so we could talk in person and listened to my reasoning. She listened with care and an empathetic heart. She understood my predicament. She understood my nerves. Soon after I finished my reasoning, she encouraged me to take a chance. She told me she would always be there for me if I needed her. She was just as much a stage manager as a friend, a very very very good friend. If she doesn’t sound like the worlds best stage manager I don’t know who does. Also, just to add, she once stage managed a production of Hamlet that changed decades every scene. Id like to say she’s a bad ass.

  • Bridget Dennin says:

    Dom Traino, he does everything for our campus productions and more. I could write a really long post about how great he is, but it’s not enough. He does the work of 6 people and more and I’ve learned so much from him as a mentor.

  • Cheryl Ruschau says:

    My favorite stage manager is someone I had the privilege of mentoring as an apprentice, Caitlyn Fitzgerald. She’s currently taking a break from stage managing as she moved to a new market and needs to pay her bills, but once she makes it back in the business she’ll be impressing others too. She is incredibly kind and supportive, while also tough, reliable, and resilient. She’s someone who loves the work so much it all seems like play when you work beside her, and she makes me remember my own love of stage management.

  • Zija Lubin-West says:

    I have a couple favorites, I have been very fortunate to have many Stage Managers influence my career and I am so thankful for every bit of information they were able to give me. Richard Harden was my mentor in High School, and he was the first person who thought that I had the chops, and my Senior Year I SM’d his show, and it was such an amazing experience. He isn’t with us anymore, but I use everything he was able to teach me when I stage manage.

    I am also lucky enough to have a stage manager for a step-mother. Colleen Davis has helped me and pushed me to be a great stage manager, and her tips are invaluable.

    I wouldn’t be the organized stage manager I am today without these two amazing influences.

  • Alexis says:

    Well, I am a stage manager and it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. I have been very lucky to get my MFA here in the city and have had the opportunity to be taught by a number of great ones. Peter Lawrence, Roy Harris, Ira Mont – all of them are an inspiration to me. But I guess my favorite stage manager has to be the person who inspired me to go after my dream of trying to make a go at this. Lynda Irons. She was our stage manager at our community theatre as well as being a reference librarian at my college. She taught me to love the madness and to find the patterns in the chaos.

  • Jessi Cotter says:

    Ben Crop is an amazing Stage Manager. When I fell into my first management roll, I called him immediately for a crash course in what being an SM meant. He does an incredibale job balancing the technical, creative, and personal aspects of his work. He is now committed to training the next generation of theatremakers as a professor. Noble, but I sure missing having him in the field.

    Love seeing all of these amazing people being given their due! Keep the comments coming!

  • Alyssa P says:

    I will already be attending the conference, but Sarah Splaine is the stage manager that mentored me. My first show ever as an ASM, Sarah was SMing and also production managing 2 shows in rep. The other show desperately needed her attention early on in the rehearsal process, and so she, trustingly, put the show in my hands to stage manage. She continued to mentor and guide me while I took on this task all the way through tech. That was 8 years ago, and I am still stage managing today. Send Sarah Splaine to the conference!

  • Sue Cohen says:

    My favorite Stage Manager is Richard Schiff. Years ago, before he rose to fame as an actor on The West Wing, in Glengarry Glen Ross, Jurassic Park, The Infidel, Ray and a ton more roles, he was a director and sometimes SM for several off-off-Broadway plays in New York. I SM’d for him once, then I Assistant SM’d. He gave the best foot massages in the lighting booth between cues!

  • Susan Sunday says:

    My favorite SM is Matty DiCarlo. We originated our first show together as managers and he’s just so talented and smart and FUNNY!

  • T.J. says:

    My favorite Stage Manager is Pat Sosnow. Pat has been the original Stage Manager for at least half of my favorite productions.

  • Katie K says:

    My favorite stage manager is my mentor Joel Elins. We met on a reading 5 years ago, and he’s since taken me under his wing and hired me as his assistant for multiple Off-Broadway productions. I ask him for advice all the time and he always knows exactly what to do, usually with a story to go along with it.

  • Kyrsten Louchen says:

    My favorite stage manager is Donna Williams at the Warner Theatre not only because wherever she goes she bring candy but she also taught me that no matter what goes wrong it’s ok as long as nobody got hurt.

  • Colleen Toole says:

    Definitely Katie Kavett. Calm under the most intense circumstances, great communicator, juggles working on tons of shows with grace and poise.

  • I am so grateful to have met and been shoulder to shoulder with some amazing Stage Managers during my career.

    I would have to say in my New York experience Donald Fried, David H. Lurie, Stephen M. Kaus, Matthew Silver, Eileen Kelly, Erin M. Koster.

    The ones I have had the chance to be mentored by and/or have received the “talk” from are Grant Brown, Ira Mont, Marjorie Horn, Richard Costabile, Sandi Bohle, Valerie Petterson and Mary-Beth Able.

    I’ve also had the privileged to have amazing stage managers as my assistants on shows. Some of them are Samantha Gallardo, Natalie Qing Zhang, Becca Pickett and Bethany Briggs.

    And most of all, two words: Ruth Kramer. She has been my mentor, friend and fellow colleague for many years. I owe a lot of my development in the New York Theater industry to her.

    This is only legit theater…my concert tour days include Ron Held, Stephen Fry and Keith Butler.

    Ken, Thanks for the blog on us Stage Managers!

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