By: Sydney Moody (Marketing Intern)
In our first blog we interviewed Matthew Alvin Brown, also known as Miss Trunchbull on the stage. In that, we dove into the perspective of an actor, the craziness of theatre, as well as how emotional it can get for the actors and actresses who give it their all on stage; however, there is a group of people who give it their all, but off stage. In this interview, we’ll turn the spotlight on someone who stays backstage and works behind the scenes as our lovely stage manager, Caroline Mueller.
Every individual has a unique story of how they got into theatre, so let’s take a sneak peek into how she got started in theatre.
Mueller: “You could say I literally grew up in the theatre. My dad was my middle school’s drama teacher, so I was always sitting in rehearsals and handing out programs before performances. Growing up in Orlando, FL, I was lucky enough to be introduced to working professionals in the theatre scene there. So, I got a small taste of professional theatre while in high school. I got started at Lyric through a partnership they have with Oklahoma City University (where I went for undergrad) for stage management.”
Stage managing has its challenges, from gluing cues together to tech rehearsals, Mueller has her work cut out for her. With that, we asked what her favorite or most challenging part about stage managing is.
Mueller: “My absolute favorite part and possibly one of the most challenging parts of stage managing, is tech. I love being able to help designers merge their work with the work the performers have been doing. It’s when you get to see the magic literally come together. The challenge is being able to think clearly and quickly in order to absorb information that is being thrown at you, while also filtering other information to keep everyone focused.”
Like Miss Honey has shaped Matilda’s life, theatre shapes our lives. “How has theatre shaped your life? What has theatre made you realize or how has it influenced you?”
Mueller: “Theatre is life changing. From watching high schoolers burst out of their shells to watching audience members walk out of the theatre completely changed from when they walked in. A few things theatre has taught me is how to be humble and kind to everyone. Sometimes people aren’t able to communicate exactly what they are thinking or wanting, so having the patience to understand what they are trying to get at is key. In addition, the theatre world is incredibly small, so everyone knows everyone. Being nice to one person could potentially lead to your next job somewhere else.”
COVID-19 put our world on a halt and many of us reacted differently to the situation. From those not leaving their houses for months to those who worked in the healthcare system, COVID-19 affected all of us, and a group of people that it affects to this day are those in the theatre industry. Those in the theatre industry went from sharing makeup and dancing close together to dancing in face masks and staying apart, and they have had a fair share of fear when it comes to the possibility of not performing their musical and getting shut down. “Has COVID-19 changed your perspective about the theatre industry? Have you been worried about COVID-19 permanently affecting the theatre industry?”
Mueller: “I have been incredibly fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to continue doing theatre throughout the pandemic with Lyric. COVID-19 has definitely changed my perspective on what is truly important vs. what was thought to be important.”
We would like to continue the series by ending the blogs with the same question. “Any tips or advice you would like to share with people in the theatre industry or trying to get into the theatre industry?”
Mueller: “Being nice goes a long way and having a sense of humor is very helpful.”