Editorial: Etiquette at the Stage Door

Today, we have a rather different post than anything we’ve ever done – we have compiled a list of tips for what is acceptable behavior when visiting the stage door and interacting with performers at “Wicked”. So how did we do this? We started with a couple of basic tips, then contacted several performers from different productions of the show for help – some suggestions were eliminated, some were added, others were edited, and this is the list we ended up with.

Please note that this list is not all-inclusive nor may it represent the views of every performer with the show – this list was compiled by the staff here at Innuendo & Outuendo and several “Wicked” performers – obviously, it wouldn’t have been feasible to speak with everybody.

–          Above all else, use common sense. You get what you give. If you are kind to someone, they will take notice and be kind in return. Remember, performing is a job – actors and actresses are people too. In the same way you wouldn’t be intrusive with someone you don’t know in the world, so shouldn’t you be intrusive with a performer.

–          If a performer is very obviously in a hurry at the stage door, don’t stop them. It’s one thing if a performer doesn’t stop because they don’t expect to be recognized – particularly common with ensemble members – but if they are on their cell phone, walking quickly, etc. – they may well have somewhere to be. Remember that between the end of a 2:00 matinee and call time for an 8:00 show, performers might have two hours or less to eat, rest and be back! Use the signals they give to help yourself be courteous.

–          (Note: Several ensemble performers emphasized that they do not mind being stopped – they simply don’t often realize that you want their signature – in the words of one – “If you would like an actor to sign something or say hello, don’t be afraid to politely grasp their attention and ask. Most of the time we don’t know who’s at the stage door and what they came for. Most cast members will assume you’re waiting for someone specific or are friends with someone and will continue to exit unless prompted to stop. There is nothing more awkward than asking someone if they want their playbill signed to then find out they’re not there for autographs.)

–          Please refrain from asking performers to engage in social gossip about other cast members. At the end of the day, they all work together and live together. To keep their work environment healthy, it is crucial that they treat each other with respect and courtesy. This includes not asking things like: “who’s better than who?”, “do you like the new person?”, etc.?

–          Refrain from pestering cast members for information they are not at liberty to give. As you know, with “Wicked”, understudies are not generally allowed to tell when they will be performing. Whether or not you agree with this rule, it puts performers in a very difficult position when you constantly ask them to share performance dates with you. Mention that you would like to know, and leave it at that. Would you want to be put in such an awkward situation? The same applies to cast changes – “Wicked” prefers to announce these themselves as opposed to letting them get out via fans and performers – and we as fans must honor this wish and know that we will be told when we need to know.

–          Similarly, if you are told of such news or performance dates in confidence, keep it that way! Even just looking at it in a way that gives you an advantage, if you want to be trusted again, you should honor the trust that is placed in you. Performers can get in serious trouble if leaked information is traced back to them, and that is the last thing any of us want.

–          Please do not ask performers to speak on the phone to other fans while at the stage door.

–          If you are sent fan mail by a performer, do not engage in trading said fan mail with other fans – letters, playbills, and signed pictures are meant for you and not for others.

–          Bring a pen or sharpie. While the actors are used to signing things often, that doesn’t mean they are always carrying something to sign with.

–          If you run a fan page about the show, please do not make posts that make it sound like you are a cast member. This can confuse people who look for pages about the show on Facebook and make them feel like your page is an official “Wicked” page. Similarly, do not post or post about bootlegs on the fan pages, as they are forbidden.

–          Be very careful of things you say at the stage door – remember that while performers are used to being critiqued, it is not kind to make negative comments about their performance and put them on the spot after an exhausting performance. Remember that they are human too.

–          Above all – remember – you get what you give. According to several performers, this is the “golden rule” of stagedooring.

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