Contact Emily: emily@emilybahm.com, Boston, MA

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Contact Emily: emily@emilybahm.com, Boston, MA

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  • Emily D. Bahm

Musician? Stage manager? Why not both?

The other day someone asked me why I go to Berklee College of Music, if I want to stage manage professional theater productions. To me it makes complete sense! How could a stage manager not be a musician? They go hand in hand! A stage manager is just as much of a performer and artistic contributor as the logistical brains of the production.


Calling a show is an art in itself. Every cue happens on a very distinct beat, in the actors line, or in their blocking path. If a sound cue is in the music, and you have to call it, you can't call it 3 measures early. You have to be able to feel when that cue is coming, or when the light needs to shift. I believe that my education and abilities as a musician heavily influence my ability to accurately call a show. Especially when calling a dance heavy show. A cue could happen off of the choreography for a number and if you aren't able to dance or truly follow choreography like me, you'll need to know when exactly in the music to say "go". Going off of a lyric can be less accurate than if you were to count dance beats, or the beats of the music.


Being a musician also helps you understand actor care. Like most people in the theater world I got my start on stage in the back! Being in countless amounts of shows I not only learned hands on what is asked of an actor, but also what it feels like to be supported by a stage manager. Having actors feel fully supported by the stage management team can make or break your production, if you are not in a professional setting. Often times the ensemble will feel unsupported because you will be focusing on so many other things, all it takes is an "Are you doing okay? Do you need anything?" and it will make a world of difference for your production.


Being able to understand as many aspects of the production as possible helps you create the most comfortable environment ,and you are able to call the show as accurately as possible, leaving everyone feeling supported. Being a musician and a performer will always hold a place in my heart. Without my musicianship I would not be half the stage manager I already am. I owe that to all of the fantastic educators I encountered at a young age.



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