Leapin’ Lizards: Working on Annie
Working as a stage hand for a Broadway show is fun and tons of hard work.
February 3, 2016
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Have you ever considered working as a stagehand or stage tech for a Broadway show?
After getting the chance to work as a electrician(light technician) for the Broadway show, Annie, I can say it is much different than what I thought it would be.
The show was performed at the University of Tyler’s Cowan Center in Tyler, Texas. This year the Cowan Center has three Broadway shows: Annie, Saturday Night Fever, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat that have signed on to stop and performed during their seasonal tour.
For this show, I got the chance to learn how different a Broadway show is to the college shows I have worked on in my school years. With a Broadway show everything is fast-paced and constantly moving. The focus with these types of show is getting stuff done. With the shows I’ve worked on or performed in at the Trinity Valley Community College, the main focus is learning as much as possible and understanding how and why everything is done.
After speaking to my theater technical director, Andrew “Bohb” Nelson about what’s it like to work big theater shows as a stagehand, he told me about the constant need to keep up with the group.
“It’s very fast-paced and everyone’s working as hard as possible to get everything done as soon as possible,” Nelson said.
Many stagehands are having to work up to 10 shows or more that they are working every week. As a stagehand for a touring show, your job includes getting up early, unloading the trucks, setting up equipment, before getting a 15 minute break, working more on setting up, have a lunch, working the show, loading the trucks, then driving all the way to your next venue.
Even though the show was extremely fast-paced, I learned about tons of different lighting equipment I have never heard of or seen of.
Another TVCC student also had the opportunity to work on the show. Sidney Cates, a sophomore from Edgewood, Texas, was an electrician assistant for the show. “It was very fun, and we had lots to learn,” Cates said.
While I was pretty nervous to ask my head electrician questions concerning the equipment, the times that I did I asked questions I learned so many things. I was able to learn what a light-color changing scroller was and why we use it during a show.
I also learned how technology is changing to assist light technicians. New advances allow them the chance to have apps
on their phones or tablets to check working lights, pick up, and move the lights into air.
Working as an assistant electrician for a Broadway show was an amazing opportunity that taught me so many things I thought I would never get the chance to learn or do.