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NYC Stage Manager
New Member Reception

By Kimberly Russell
Membership Education Committee Member

New Member Stage Managers

Actors' Equity Association in New York City hosted a Stage Manager New Member Reception on Monday December 10, 2012 in the Association's Council Room overlooking Times Square. The event was hosted by Ruth E. Kramer, Equity Stage Manager Councillor and Vice-Chair of the Eastern Region Membership Education Committee. Malcolm D. Ewen, currently the Production Stage Manager for the Broadway production of EDWARD ALBEE'S WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? was the afternoon's Guest Speaker.

"The way to employment ... create relationships with other Stage Managers."

Mr. Ewen encouraged attendees to take advantage of all opportunities for networking. "The way to employment, whether it is Broadway, regional or storefront is to create relationships with other Stage Managers - know other Stage Managers." There is a great deal to be learned from colleagues. Seek advice and create a support network. "Be honest with yourself - self assess; know your strengths and weaknesses."

Being Calm...

One component of a Stage Managers job is working with people. How does one deal with personalities? With respect! Don't involve yourself in theatre politics - it is challenging to do a job that interacts with such a broad spectrum of individuals - focus and concentrate on the job at hand. Also, be in tune with the room; be sensitive to energy and energy levels. Being calm is a plus. "Occasionally, you may need to do a bit of acting and appear to be the calm person in the room. You want to be the person that your cast and company can come to when there is a problem." Don't beat yourself up over the unpredictable or things you can't control - make decisions based on the knowledge you have - you can only play the cards you are dealt. Flexibility is a strength. "Utilize all the resources that are available to you - especially your AEA Deputy - they can be of great service."

In addition to his busy schedule, Mr. Ewen finds time to serve as a Stage Manager Councillor on the National Council of Actors' Equity Association. He encouraged his new colleagues to be active in the Union. He explained that as "an Association" Equity exists on their behalf. "It is your Union and every individual can make a difference."

He offered this personal advice: "Managing your personal life in concert with your professional life is a challenge. Be realistic & set goals and on occasion ask yourself the question 'what will truly satisfy me as a person'?"

Vincent Cinelli of the Equity-League Pension Health and 401k Trust Fund provided information about qualifying for medical, vision & dental coverage and spoke about the Pension and 401k plans. For information on the Fund, visit their website: Additionally, Equity Outside Business Representative Frank Stancati spoke about what is covered in a first rehearsal meeting.

The final portion of the event was a very informative Stage Manager Q & A Panel which featured Ms. Kramer, Mr. Ewen, Megan Friedman, (currently the PSM of the Off-Broadway production of COUGAR THE MUSICAL) and Equity Business Representative Michelle Kelts.

Providing able assistance and welcoming Equity's newest Members was Equity Councillor and Committee Member Marjorie Horne and Committee Members Kimberly Russell and Richard Costabile along with Equity's Director of Outreach and Career Development, Tom Miller.

Mr. Ewen, one of the resident Stage Managers at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company since 1987, has stage managed well over thirty productions for the company and traveled with Steppenwolf projects to Great Britain, South Africa and Australia. On Broadway, in addition to EDWARD ALBEE'S WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? he was the PSM of GRAPES OF WRATH (1990 Tony Award® Best Play), THE SONG OF JACOB ZULU, THE RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE and THE CAPEMAN.

NYC New Member Receptions are held several times a year. The fun, informational gathering was sponsored by the Eastern Region Membership Education Committee. If you were unable to attend the most recent event, the next Reception will be held in the Spring. Watch Equity's website for date and time.

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