Zack Bailey said he “got the chance to experience everything that makes a Broadway show tick” when he shadowed the stage management team for the long-running, Tony Award-winning play Wicked in New York City in June.
“My goodness, it was so eye opening,” said the fifth-year theatre major. “Everything backstage is coordinated down to a T. It’s fast-paced and choreographed almost like a dance.”
Bailey was one of five undergraduate theatre students who attended an intensive Broadway Basics workshop in New York, where they learned about the wide range of responsibilities of a theatre stage manager, from the play-by-play aspects of calling a show to coordinating props and set changes. On their last evening, the five split up and shadowed stage managers for Wicked, School of Rock and Les Misérables.
For Wicked’s first act, Bailey was stationed at backstage-right on the deck with one stage manager. For the second act, he was able to accompany another stage manager in the calling booth.
“It was really inspiring to experience stage management at the Broadway level,” he said. “It provided me with affirmation that this is what I want to do as a career.”
The visit came about when Sherée Greco, production manager and stage management advisor in the Department of Theatre, made a connection with the Wicked team, including Marybeth Abel, production stage manager, and Christy Ney, assistant stage manager, who also operate the workshop. Greco maintains the connection with the Broadway Basics team so Ohio State students will continue to have chances to attend the workshop.
“This was a huge opportunity for these students to receive professional training and exposure to stage management on Broadway,” Greco said. “They got to experience not only the show itself but all of the preparation leading up to it.
“We can only teach so much in a classroom; this experience gives them a behind-the-scenes view of the scope and scale of managing a Broadway production.”
The undergraduate students included Bailey, Albert Coyne, Rachel Harper, Ayla Williams, and Constance Hester.