Yesterday, I (Asia) saw the matinee of Newsies and the night performance of Matilda. I stagedoored at both shows and I would like to take this opportunity to make a list of etiquette that I feel should be followed.
- It is preferable that you see the show you are stagedooring for. It’s kind of disrespectful to the actors’ craft for people to just show up for photos and autographs without having seen the work they just did. However, I understand that this is not always possible. If you’re passing through the area and would love to stop for a picture with someone from a show you didn’t see, get to the barricade at the same time as everyone else. At Newsies, these girls appeared out of literally nowhere and started screaming for pictures with Ben Fankhauser (Davey). They didn’t have playbills, so they hadn’t seen the show, and they were actually shoving me to get to him. Then, as soon as they got their pictures, they vanished. Had they been there form the start, or asked politely for me to move over, I would have been happy to oblige. But their rudeness was overwhelming.
- Be respectful of others’ personal space. The stagedoor was a madhouse at Matilda since it’s a new show (still in previews) and everyone was all up in each other’s business. I know it sometimes can’t be helped, but try to take up as little room as possible so everyone can have a shot at seeing the performers. There’s also no reason to shove anyone while trying to get something signed. Typically, the performers are extremely patient, so asking politely for a picture or autograph is sufficient. Try to make the stagedooring experience as pleasant as possible for those around you.
- If someone asks you to do something (take a picture, move over, etc.), try to oblige. When I stagedoored at Book of Mormon last summer, the woman next to me politely asked me if I would take pictures of her with the actors. Of course, I agreed, and I was able to get several nice shots. At Newsies, my friend and I politely asked the girl next to us to switch spots so we could be with our other friends. She very nicely agreed. This is the kind of interaction you want with your fellow stagedoor-ers. At Matilda, I had to step out of line for a moment, and in that time, girls had taken my spot. We asked them politely to move over slightly (just so I could be with my party) and they gave us nasty looks and barely moved an inch. This is not how you want to treat your neighbors. Help each other out so everyone can get good pictures and stand with their group. It’s just common courtesy.
- Above all else, be respectful to the performers. One thing I hate is when people say that certain Broadway actors are “rude” or “conceited” because they don’t come out to see people after the show or they’re not overly friendly. Remember: actors are freely giving their time to see audience members after the show. They are not contractually obligated to come out at all. Think of it this way: they just gave their all in a grueling show and probably have things to do when they’re done, but most of them choose to come out and interact with fans. Do not say anything rude to them or complain to their castmates if a specific person isn’t coming out. Saying “oh, I’m disappointed that ________ won’t be here; I was looking forward to meeting him/her” is fine, but being outright rude about not seeing someone is not okay. They are being nice by signing things and taking pictures. Do not abuse this niceness.
That’s all I can think of at the moment, but if you have any other stagedoor tips/rules/stories, feel free to send them in the rest of today!