Today we’re talking to Sarah Luedloff, Stage Manager and Child Wrangler, most recently the Stage Manager of Old Wicked Songs at the New Jewish Theatre, and soon to be starting her third season as Assistant Stage Manager at Stages St. Louis. (Sarah’s story about her worst backstage mishap is AMAZING- she is an incredible stage manager!)
Q: What was your first experience in theatre?
A: I’ve always loved watching theatre… My mom would take me to the Muny once a year to sit in the free seats. And my siblings and cousins and I would make up plays and perform them for family. I was always the co-producer/director/designer/box office/everything else, so I should have known then that I was destined to be backstage. I didn’t realize I could make a career out of it until high school.
Q: What is the best piece of career advice anyone has ever given you?
A: The importance of networking. Especially for non-actors in theatre who can’t audition to get work, it’s really all about who you know. I’ve gotten so many jobs because a friend or former co-worker recommended me, or because my name came across the right person’s desk at the right time.
Q: Tell us about a backstage or onstage mishap you lived through.
A: I once had a principal actor come offstage after the first number of a big musical on opening night and get really sick. He was unable to finish the performance, but the understudy hadn’t been rehearsed, and didn’t know the lines or blocking. We sent the understudy on with a script in his hands, and I literally led him around backstage, told him where to enter, what to do while onstage, and where to exit. I met him at his exit, and repeated the process for the next scene. This is why it’s important for stage managers to pay attention and take such good notes during rehearsal!
Q: What is your dream role?
A: To work on “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” when (IF) it finally goes to Broadway. I’m a huge Disney geek!
Q: What is your current guilty TV Pleasure?
A: Gulity: “Married at First Sight.” Not-so-guilty: “Downton Abbey.”
Thank you Sarah! (I met Sarah while we were both working as dressers on Variety’s Children’s Theatre production of Mary Poppins last year and she was so helpful and great).
Who will be next Friday’s interview? Stay tuned!!
Grace Austin an STL area director and educator. See her work at gracemaustin.com.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of THE SCENE SHOP.