Interview with Stage Manager Sharon Adler

A key individual in the theatre production process is the Stage Manager, without whom the show could not function smoothly.  In this interview, we invite you to get to know the stage manager for Frankenstein, Sharon Adler:

Roxanne: Before Frankenstein, how many productions have you stage-managed at BLT?  In what year was the first?  What drew you to this role?

Sharon: Frankenstein is my third show at BLT and my first non-musical play with them.  My first show was Christmas with the Crawfords in 2009, also directed by Steve Cooper.  

I studied stage management at Cornish College of the Arts here in Seattle.  While I’m adept at many aspects of theater design, I’m most proficient at stage management and probably get the most satisfaction out of it.  As for choosing this show, while apprehensive about working on a new piece of theater and presenting it to an audience for the first time, it’s exciting as well.  This is my fifth show with Steve, and given the level of trust we have for each other, I’m confident in his decision to take this show on and look forward to seeing and being involved in its growth.   

Roxanne: What is the biggest challenge you see in stage-managing Frankenstein?  And the biggest satisfaction?

Sharon: I told Steve that I wouldn’t do another show with blood, so I’m hoping that I’ve steered clear of that!  In all seriousness, I think the challenge is the same in any cue-heavy show at BLT.  Given the fact that most of us have day jobs, and live/work in Seattle, if not farther north, as I do, it cuts down on the amount of tech time we have for these shows.  I’m hoping that since this is not a musical and that we don’t have the added layer of a band, that things will go more smoothly than other shows I’ve worked on at BLT during our limited tech time.  I hope to feel prepared and in a good place when we open.  

The biggest satisfaction I get from all shows I work on is seeing the entire process from beginning to end.  I love the evolution of creating a play; from words on a piece of paper to breathing life on stage.  Given that this is a new work, produced for BLT, I think it makes that process extra special, and I’m really looking forward to what we’ll be bringing to the audience each night. 

Roxanne: What do enjoy most about working with BLT and with director Steve Cooper?

Sharon: As with other companies I work with, the thing I enjoy most about BLT is getting to work with some of the most dedicated people I know.  This is from the top down.  If something needs to be handled or fixed, and it’s not within my capacity to do it, Eric and Maggie will find a way to get it done.  I also get to work with one of my best friends, resident costume designer, DodiRose Zooropa.  She and I went to Cornish together, and it’s been fabulous working with someone I know so well and to see her become the designer she is today.  It’s also fun to get to work with some of the same actors time and again.   The growth of their abilities is astounding.  I’m proud of the work we produce and am excited each time I get to play in their house.  

As for Steve, I knew from our first show together that he would be someone I could work with many times over.  His directing style is directly in tune with my management style.  I enjoy the fact that the stress is minimal, if there’s any at all, and that there’s never an emergency.  I think it creates an environment with the actors that leads to true creativity.  

Roxanne: What would you most like the audience to know about the stage manager’s role?

Sharon: I get asked quite often what it is I do, as people generally have no idea what my job actually is.  They know there’s a stage manager and that it’s an important role, but they don’t know why.  They should probably know that we’re the time and space trackers, we keep things moving forward, we unite all fronts (and backs for that matter) of a production, we find things, we fix things, and when we can’t, we find the person that can.  That probably sums it up without getting technical.  However, if anyone ever wants to sit down and have a conversation with me, and get more in-depth knowledge, I’m more than willing to do that.  I’m also open to having someone shadow me on specific nights of the Frankenstein process if this is a field they’re interested in pursuing.  

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