19 November 2010

From the fangirl files....

OK, so a few people have asked how do I get so lucky and meet actors during their stints in Chicago and get pics and autographs with them. So here it is..... Well, it is not like I go out for beers with them after a show, so there is not real technique other than politeness and good luck but here it is...Maria's guide to meeting performers, actors and occasionally musicians that breeze through Chicago or "How to be a good fangirl/boy"

The theater setup is pretty standard. There is a stage door, locate it before the play starts. Usually opens to an alley around the corner from the main entrance. In some instances actors leave fairly quickly so you might have a narrow window of time to meet someone if they are the kind that leave soon. The amount of security varies from play to play and who is performing. Nathan Lane had a limo waiting for him like, two feet from the stage door and he always made a quick getaway after the show, while another limo was always there for Bebe Neuwirth but she always made a point of meeting fans after the show, apologizing once for being too late coming out. Either way it was OK, I consider it a privilege, not a right to meet an actor/musician that I admire. OK, go to the stage door as soon as the play ends, there is usually one security guard and maybe a few stagehands out for smokes. Don't pester them, usually they can't/won't tell you if your favorite actor is still in the building. Be nice, quiet and don't get in the way of people getting out. When the person you wish to talk to comes out address them as Miss X or Mr Y. Don't be tacky and ask for autographs from people you have no idea who they are... at least look at the cast pics (if they are on the playbill) and try to remember their names. I am fairly good at recognizing actors out of costume/makeup and I always have my playbill on the cast roster to make sure I don't mistake one person for another (not happened yet), if it is not someone well known (ie, Nathan Lane, Bebe Neuwirth, Terrence Mann, Constantine etal.).  Never chase anyone down the alley (again, TACKY!!!) if they don't stop, the simply are not in the mood to do meet and greets or they have plans for the evening. If they are getting in a car..... don't go stick your head in the window, you only come across as desperate and creepy (yes, I have seen people do this). I never just ask for an autograph, I make a point to tell the person I am speaking with why I like their performance. They might or might not care but in my book, not doing so makes you come across as just an autograph collector. If that is what you are after, be my guest, but since I only speak to people whose performance had touched or impressed me, not telling them would cheapen the experience. That way I have had short, fun conversations with cast members of several plays and a more personal experience that way. Always thank them for stopping to chat!

So there, no big science or mystery, just luck and persistence ;-)

See ya by the stage door!

05 November 2010

Manners, people! (Based on personal experiences)

OK, so I am going to get a bit preachy but some people annoy me in the theater in a bad, bad way.
  • Children less than 4 years old should not be brought into the theater under any circumstances! I got stuck in front of a screaming kid of no more than two and the dumb parents just sat there like it was not with them
  • If you don't like the play get up and walk out. It is a free country, after all. Don't sit there and grumble about it or worse yet, play on the phone/NintendoDS
  • People around you don't want the details of your latest colonoscopy or your hysterectomy. Keep personal stuff personal
  • Don't text during the play, especially if you feel the need to hold the phone at eye level.
  • Don't sing along out loud. No matter how good a singer you think you are, the people onstage sing better
  • Don't grumble if people need to crawl over you to get to their seats, as long as they do it before the play starts
  • Don't move up to an empty seat until after intermission, before that it is likely than the rightful owner of the seat will be coming in late
  • DON'T TAKE PICTURES!! You will be swiftly asked to erase them, or, if Patti Lupone is onstage she will stop the show to scream at you and you will be dragged out by the ushers (I did not witness this but the audio was on you tube, search for it)
  • Research the play you are going to see. A lady seating beside us during August:Osage County huffed every time the actors cussed onstage, she left after second intermission....
  • If your family does not get along, seat separately. The overture is not the place to have a fight with your mother over who will seat by your bratty teenage son and keep him from playing with his Nintendo DS
  • The overture is not the time to catch up with old friends that you run into at the theater. Sit down and shut up!
Enjoy the show :-)