Stage Management Students Thrive in the Field

October 17, 2017

Columbia stage management students continue to thrive in the field, from numerous productions on Broadway to international tours.

“Our year-end review of the SM program clearly shows that Columbia’s stage managers are working: not only in their coursework but more importantly, in the performing arts industry,” said Stage Management concentration head Michael J. Passaro. “Currently enrolled students are proving once again that the city is an extension of their classrooms. In fact, I would amend that statement and say that the world is their classroom. They have been able to enhance their skill sets in professional situations ranging from Broadway shows to international corporate events.  And our alumni are no exception; the diversity of their post-grad experiences is a quantifiable metric that shows the value of the Columbia MFA degree.”
The graduates of 2017 are already hard at work, with internships during their time at Columbia allowing them to contribute to New York’s hottest productions, and connecting them to leaders in the field. On Broadway, Janelle Caso ‘17 was the production assistant on the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Scott Wray ‘17 was a production assistant on Holiday Inn, and Joan Wyatt was a production assistant on Groundhog Day. Students Rachel Zucker (ASM on Plenty at the Public Theatre) and Abraham Marlett (PSM on The Comedy of Errors at the Classic Stage Company) have already received their AEA membership through productions they worked on during their time at Columbia.
“One reason why I decided to come to Columbia was to learn about commercial theatre from [experienced] professional stage managers and to better enhance my leadership skills as a stage manager,” said Daniel Vaughn ’17, who was part of the internship program for Wicked along with classmate Shalyn Clark. “My professors have prepared me on what to expect in the professional world and how to make and keep the valuable contacts that can ultimately get us our next job. Theatre is such a tight-knit community, and being able to develop a positive relationship with the people we work with is very important. I feel that I have grown exponentially as a stage manager and overall as a human.”
From their first year at Columbia students dive into the professional world, bringing their classroom conversations into rehearsal rooms on Broadway and beyond—as the class of 2019 continues to prove. Current student, Ryan Keller was a production assistant on Broadway’s new musical Anastasia and Ali Simone was a production assistant on Mean Girls, scheduled to head to Broadway soon. Other exciting production assistant positions include Morgan Beach’s participation in Hamilton’s “boot camp” rehearsal process for training new and replacement cast members, and Megan Webb’s work on Roundabout Theatre Company's Gala performance of Kiss Me Kate.
Of course, there is a wide range of theatrical opportunities open to students off Broadway as well. This year, Jessica Emmanus interned on Anna Deavere Smith’s wildly acclaimed Notes from the Field, a documentary solo show, while Christopher Maxwell was a production management intern at critically acclaimed New York Theatre Workshop. Demonstrating the versatility of stage management training, Caitlyn Dominguez interned on the immersive theater hit Sleep No More, a three-hour indoor promenade performance, while Patty Garvey joined the Chautauqua Opera as an ASM.
Notable projects from recent alumni are happening across the globe. Caroline Watters ’14 has visited New Zealand, Asia, and Australia as an ASM with Cirque du Soleil, and Amy Steinman ‘12 is the ASM on the touring production of Matilda. Krystle Henninger ’15 has spent two years touring with StarQuest International Dance Competition, while still finding time to serve as a production stage manager for shows at New York’s Urban Stages.
Of course, Columbians are still well represented throughout the City, where Jennifer Ainsworth ’14 produced the new musical The View Upstairs, directed by alumni Scott Ebersold ’15, at the Lynn Redgrave Theater, and Kate Croasdale ‘12  was the ASM on the Broadway revival of Sunday in the Park with George, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and produced by faculty member Jeanine Tesori.  

Off stage, Kate Dial ’15 is now training future stage managers as a Lecturer in Stage Management at Brooklyn College, and Blake Kile ’16 is working as the assistant to the production managers of Juniper Street Productions, following a run as an ASM on Theater for a New Audience’s The Servant of Two Masters.
UPDATE as of October 17, 2017:

Garrett Rollins '15 is the Production Stage Manager for the Westport County Playhouse production of Sex with Strangers.


Kate Dial '15 is working as the substitute Assistant Stage Manager at Miss Saigon on Broadway.


Current student Alison Simone '19 is an intern for the Broadway production of Wicked, supervised by adjunct professor Marybeth Abel.


Rachel Zucker '17 is Assistant Stage Manager on Tiny Little Things at the Public Theater where Spring adjunct professor Diane DiVita is the Production Stage Manager.


Janelle Caso '17 is Assistant Stage Manager with Oedipus El Rey at the Public Theater


Current students R. Christopher Maxwell '19 & Megan Webb '19 are Production Assistants on the Broadway-bound Cher Show


Kirk Laing '16 & Joan Wyatt '17 are part of the stage management team for Red Roses, Green Gold, the Grateful Dead musical at the Minetta Lane. Both received their AEA membership on this production. Faculty member Steven Chaikelson's firm, Snug Harbor Productions, is the General Manager of this production. Theatre Management and Producing alumni Aaron Simms ’15 and Kappy Kilburn ’17 are also working on the show's production team.


Rhonda Picou '07 is Production Stage Manager for Cagney in Los Angeles