Many fans of Broadway know what it means to Stage Door a show. Most of the time it means waiting in temperamental weather next to a temporary guardrail praying to see your favorite performers. You hope all of the cast will appear to grace you with a picture and an autograph and give you a memory for the rest of your life. Many fans also know the disappointment of when your favorite stars don’t make an appearance at the stage door that evening. While not seeing Sutton Foster or Gavin Creel may be disappointing it does not mean you should count the experience as a failure.
Back when I made my first trip out to New York in High School, I distinctly remember a matinee performance of Aladdin we attended. A few friends and I were so excited to make our first attempt at Stage Dooring that we left at bows to be the first fans along the guardrails. We all were freezing as it was chilly March day and we all shared a single sharpie.
Now we all hoped to see one of Aladdin’s most prominent roles Genie played by James Igleheart at the time pop out of the stage door, he never made an appearance, unfortunately. However, that did not deter our excitement, and it seemed that every time the stage door opened we got even more excited. Now we did get to see the original Aladdin and Jasmine played by Adam Jacobs and Courtney Reed who were terrific, and were both incredibly classy and kind to us, but we also stopped many others. This surprised many of the ensemble members any of whom walked out of that door we asked for autographs. These chorus members all seemed shocked that we stopped them at all even though they were incredibly talented individuals as well. We walked away that day with playbills signed to the max, and it couldn’t have been a better first Stage Door experience.
The reason I bring this story to attention is to raise awareness for the incredibly talented chorus members of any show. They deserved to be recognized at the stage door like any other performer, and yet many of them are entirely overlooked as they walk past waiting fans. The chorus comprises a vital role to any show on Broadway, and many blue-collar actors have entire careers of consistent work in ensemble roles. These actors are not the names that everyone may recognize, nor are they the faces you can always pick out from the rest of the cast, but they are essential to a show.
Next time you are standing by the stage door, and someone walks out whom you may not know by name but recognize from the show ask them to stop as well. Who knows they may just feel like talking with you a little longer and you may very well meet the next Idina Menzel or Jeremy Jordan.
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