Stars Behind the Stars: Ali Simone '19
BY Robbie Armstrong, October 22, 2019
Stars Behind The Stars is a bi-weekly series featuring theatre makers behind the scenes.
This week we sat down with Stage Management alumna Ali Simone ’19 and discussed her work with the Off Broadway ten year Anniversary production Rock of Ages.
Simone is a Leo who has worked on Mean Girls, Wicked, and at The Public Theatre’s production of Mother of the Maid starring Glenn Close.
How does your astrological sign appear in your work as a Stage Manager?
Ali Simone: Leos are known to be cocky, boisterous, and strong. I have a certain confidence in my ability to do my job. I’m also a cusp sign with Cancer and that shows in my ability to be caring while putting a positive spin on any challenges.
What was your first experience in the theatre
AS: I was five years old and I was in a Christmas pageant. I thought I‘d be cast as Mrs. Claus and I was not. I was crying in the bathroom after I found out. I didn’t have any lines and while I was technically “Santa’s Helper #4” I pretended to fake knit on stage during the performance.
What have you found unique about working on Rock of Ages?
AS: The musical has such a cult following. Even though it’s an anniversary production, it already had a massive followership before it opened. We have the ability to touch so many audience members by continuing to act the legacy of something created decades go.
What is the most important role you have at the theatre?
AS: This show is dance heavy and it can really hurt people’s bodies. I watch a lot from the wings to make sure all the complicated dance moves are executed safely. I focus on taking care of the company.
Was there anything new for you on this production?
AS: It was my first time joining a show after opening. The team had already been established, but it was a very easy transition. The company was very welcoming.
How has your Columbia education prepared you for the show?
AS: Marybeth Abel’s class was invaluable. She has been the Production Stage Manager at Wicked for over ten years and taught invaluable lessons about how to maintain a long running show. I think about the lessons she taught everyday at Rock of Ages. In that class, we met with every department at Wicked and learned about what everyone needs in order to present the show every night. Knowing and understanding the culture of the show from behind the scenes is critical. At Columbia I learned that generosity is essential as a stage manager. People throw a lot of shit at you, and you have to be willing to accept and harbor it. Honesty is also really important.
If you could be any famous child, who would you be?
AS: Shirley Temple, cuz the hair.
What’s your favorite play/musical?
AS: Sugar in Our Wounds at Manhattan Theatre Club was one of the best pieces of theater I’ve ever seen.
What’s your next project?
AS: Rock of Ages forever.
Rock of Ages is scheduled to continue performances at New World Stages through January 12, 2020.
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