28 PM NETWORK MARCH 2016 WWW.PMI.ORG
Gary Gonser is president and lead producer at
Marin Onstage, Novato, California, USA.
plan, it’s important to adjust quickly when necessary. My organization once put ;e Fantasticks on
our calendar and booked it in a theater. ;en we
found out the show was being performed in a professional theater in Seattle, Washington, USA, and we
couldn’t get the rights. So the producer canceled the
production. To put on another show in its place, we
compressed the schedule, quickly selecting an alternate musical. We hired a director and stage manager
to pull a cast together, and started rehearsals. In the
end, we managed to put on a successful production.
Rehearsals require an agile approach to work suc-
cessfully. Four roles are needed: ;e stage man-
ager runs the rehearsals and acts as the coach for
the production. ;e director
de;nes the creative vision
for the show and serves as
the production’s architect.
;e producer is the project
manager, the owner and primary leader in the production
meetings. Finally, the actors
work with the stage manager
and director to produce a
good product on stage for
each scene of the show.
Once again, adaptability is
crucial. I will never forget our
production of Angel Street,
In both examples, the team had to be agile to
ensure the quality of the production. ;e audi-
ences didn’t even notice our internal challenges.
ANOTHER TEAM TO SUPERVISE
Each production also requires the creativity of
a design team. It includes the set designer, the
light and sound designers, the publicist and
the graphics designer. If there are music and
dancing in the production, a music director
and choreographer are also needed. While the
rehearsal process is taking place, the design
team works separately on marketing, sets,
props, costumes, lighting and house management, using a production calendar that focuses
on technical dress rehearsal week as the time
when everything must be ready for previews. As
the project manager, the producer must continually prioritize and schedule the team members’ creative tasks to get the production ready
on time and within budget.
Our production of Gypsy taught us a few
things too. ;e sets and lights could not work
together in the theater. With additional resources
and money unavailable, we had to get creative. Because the lighting problem couldn’t be
resolved, we set major scenes in front of the main
curtain. Again, the audiences for the ;nal production did not realize the shifts in the set design,
but extra work and adaptability were needed on
everyone’s part to make the show a reality.
Effective producers are the lifeblood of live
theater. With a good project manager at the
helm, a good show becomes great, and the
actors and audiences gain more from the experience. PM
practices to live
theater helps any
show adapt to
change quicker, run
smoother and be a
for all concerned.
Continued from the previous page