Ok, so this isn’t a review but just an observation, a comment I guess. There has been a lot of media recently about stage door. Ben Platt and Carrie Hope Fletcher to name just two actors who have had problems at stage door. Carrie, especially, has mentioned it a lot of times on twitter, instagram and on her you-tube channel.
I have only just started going to stage door but have really enjoyed my stage door experiences. I think that stage door is a really interesting and fun thing to do but it is ‘pot luck’. There are no guarantees that you will see the ‘star’. Audience members need to accept this and not think they will definitely get to see their favourite cast member. As most theatre goers would tell you the ensemble, swings, understudies are just as good and valuable anyway.
When I have been to stage door it has mostly been quite quiet unless something big is happening for example the closing night or cast change. I am happy to wait a while, see if I can see anyone, ask them to sign my programme or even get a picture. Most people I’ve met are also doing just the same. When I have been on stage door you can normally tell who is willing to sign and who wants a quick exit which is fine. All the cast members have always been polite and willing to have a quick chat. After all without the audience and fans they would not have employment.
This is where I find some of the arguments around stage door slightly annoying. If you market yourself on twitter, you-tube, instagram etc then you obviously gain quite a following and therefore also gain ‘fans’. On one hand this is great because it keeps you employed and having more opportunities but it also brings with it more people who will want to see you at stage door. For example there were about 5 people waiting at stage door for Miss Saigon (out of the almost 2000 seats taken in the auditorium). It was the same at The Girls, Rent, Thoroughly Modern Millie. This isn’t because the cast weren’t amazing, because they were, but I think it was because there were no ‘celebrities’ or actors who have marketed themselves via you-tube and similar veins so don’t have that almost cult following. Compare this to some of the pictures of fans waiting outside The Addams Family to see Carrie Hope Fletcher and you begin to see what I mean.
I completely understand that stage door is not a given and it never should be. You pay for a ticket to the show not for a meet and greet, cast members have the right to say no, or not go to stage door. Of course they do. But if you have gone down the route of marketing yourself so much on social media surely you have to therefore accept the inevitable higher numbers of ‘fans’ and people stage dooring just for you?
I’m going to continue to go to stage door and hope that cast members also continue to come out. It is nice for the fans of the show and it must also be satisfying for the cast likewise to see the impact their work has had on the audience. So far all of the people I have met on stage door have been courteous and polite and followed a kind of code of conduct. I hope this continues to be the case.