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Saturday, January 11, 2020

Saturday Special - Working in Theater: An Interview With Cody Renard Richard, Production Stage Manager

Welcome to another installment of our Working in Theater series. This series in which we interview people working in different theater related jobs runs periodically on Saturdays.  Today we will be speaking with Cody Renard Richard (CRR). Cody is a Production Stage Manager.


What is your job title?

CRR: Currently, Production Stage Manager of Freestyle Love Supreme on Broadway.

How would you describe what you do?

CRR: This is always a tricky question to answer, because as a Stage Manager we have our hands in so many different aspects of the show. But ultimately, I'm the main source of communication for the show. I work with each department to make sure that the show runs successfully, that includes the technical and creative aspects of the production. Here's a brief description that I found that elaborates on that a little more:  "Like a spider sitting in the middle of its web, the stage manager should sit at the heart of the production. A stage manager is responsible for the overall organization of a theatrical production. The job requires keeping actors and technicians on task, managing meetings and rehearsals, and remaining calm and level-headed throughout a process that tends to be emotionally and physically draining. Although a difficult task, the job can be highly rewarding when the result is a successful production.

How did you come to be doing the job that you do?

CRR: I've assisted on Broadway for years, gaining experience and working alongside various Production Stage Managers. Watching how they work and working with them helped prepare me to assume the role for my current gig. I think it's very important to learn by doing and see how different people work, so you can see what works best for you. 

Did you have to get any special training for your job?

CRR: I did! I received a BFA in Stage Management from Webster Conservatory in St. Louis, Missouri. From there, I moved to NYC and started working. As a stage manager, you never really stop learning or training. Each show and experience brings a new challenge for us to grow through.

What is the best part of your job?

CRR: Getting to work with every department - we have a connection with the cast, designers, crew, creative team, producers and likely any other department working on the show. I love that. I love that the job calls for us to be involved with almost every aspect of the production and that we get to communicate and facilitate with everyone. 

What is the worst part of your job?

CRR: Sometimes the schedule can be a little tiresome. 8 shows a week, coupled with the occasional rehearsal during the week is a bit time consuming.

What are some of your favorite shows that you have worked on?

CRR: I've been fortunate to work on a lot of amazing productions, but my favorites have to be Jesus Christ Superstar Live, Hamilton, Freestyle Love Supreme and After Midnight on Broadway. 

What show if any would you loved to have worked on?

CRR: If and when Dreamgirls ever comes back to Broadway, I WANT IN ON THE FUN!! 

Who are some other people in your field that you admire?

CRR: My college dean, Peter Sargent has been the person that inspires me the most. He taught me early on how to lead with grace and positivity - that's something that I have always cherished. And also, I admire my friends SO much, they constantly push me to work harder and to keep going. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to do what you do?

CRR: Be nice, ask questions, do the work and stay positive. I know that's all a little vague, but trust it will take you FAR! Also, trust your journey. Know that things happen when they’re supposed to happen for you. In this age of social media and instant gratification, we all want it to happen tomorrow. We see everyone’s successes happening around us. So, we either compare what we’re doing to what they’re doing, or we say, “Why is that not happening for me?” Trust that the work you’re doing will pay off. That the opportunities and experiences will come to you when the time is right. Keep at it!

We thank Cody for taking the time to answer our questions.

Tune in tomorrow for this week's Sunday Scoop.

2 comments:

  1. Cody sounds like an awesome persone!

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