5 Books Every Stage Management Student Should Read

The job of a stage manager requires wearing many different hats. A stage manager acts as an organizer, communicator, motivator and sometimes… a facilitator or therapist. Behind every great show in the theater is a stage manager who helps hold things together and move things forward. A stage manager is a job that is so important to the world of theater, but how does one get started in this field? Here are the five books every stage management student should read at least once!


Stage Manager: Professional Experience – Refreshed (2nd Edition) by Larry Fazio

Stage Manager: The Professional Experience-Refreshed takes the reader on a journey through all aspects of the craft of stage management in the theatre, including the technological advances that have come to the theater and the work of the stage manager.

The chapters are arranged to reflect the order in which stage managers experience and carry out their work: what makes a good stage manager, looking for the job, building a resume, interviewing, and getting the job (or not getting the job). Included are chapters on the chain of command, working relationships, tools and supplies, making diagrams, plots, plans and lists, rehearsal time, making the prompt book, calling up clues and running the show. These are just a few of the many topics covered in this book. In addition, the author uses interviews with stage managers at various stages of production to provide a different perspective on how the stage manager is perceived and what is expected of the stage manager’s work.

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The Stage Management Handbook by Daniel Ionzazzi

5 Books Every Stage Management Student Should ReadThe stage manager is the “Renaissance man” of the theatre. He or she must have a working knowledge of the various technical aspects of theater (set, props, costumes, light and sound), be part director, part playwright, part designer and part producer, and be willing to act as confidant, counselor and confessor for everyone else in the company.

This book covers all of these considerations in detail and offers the reader – professional or amateur, veteran or novice – helpful guidance and practical advice, supported by many forms and examples to illustrate the points covered in the text.

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Stage Management (12th Edition) by Lawrence Stern and Jill Gold

5 Books Every Stage Management Student Should ReadNow in the twelfth edition stage management is the comprehensive guide to stage management in all theater environments.

Revered as the authoritative resource for stage management, this text is rich in practical resources including checklists, charts, examples, forms and step-by-step instructions. In addition to sharing their own expertise, Stern and Gold have sought practical advice from working stage managers at Broadway, Off-Broadway, touring, regional, community and 99-seat equity-waiver theaters. This new edition has been fully updated with new technologies and best practices including:

-New sites for stage management tools and software

-Updated equity rules

-Additional security and emergency logs

-New voices from practicing stage managers in text boxes and case studies scattered throughout the book.

This practical guide was written for theater stage management students and stage managers just starting out in their careers. The companion site includes templates for worksheets, downloadable checklists, recommended reading, a list of websites and apps featuring today’s cutting-edge stage management technology, and a list of over 500 internship and apprenticeship positions available in the United States.

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The Back Stage Guide to Stage Management, 3rd Edition: Traditional and New Methods for Running a Show from First Rehearsal to Last Performance by Thomas A Kelly

5 Books Every Stage Management Student Should ReadThis detailed, behind-the-scenes book is the next best thing to shadowing a Broadway stage manager and has been fully updated. First published in 1991, it is widely circulated and has been hailed as the most comprehensive textbook on stage management available. From pre-production planning and early rehearsals to opening night and the finale, all the essential aspects of the profession are presented in a friendly, engaging style. Author Thomas A. Kelly mixes instructions with anecdotes from his own career and explains the entire theater process, including:

– Organization of all rehearsals and performances
– Maintaining the work script, cue sheets and daily records
– Overseeing the technical aspects of the show
– Running shows outdoors and in other locations outside of the theater
– Dealing with artists and crew members at all levels

Reflecting the latest developments and innovations in the industry, this new edition adds an entirely new chapter to operatic stage management, complete with a detailed breakdown of the challenges this style of production poses. The text is supported by sample documents, charts and diagrams that combine time-honoured approaches with what can be generated by today’s computer software. The latest stage machinery is discussed, along with job hunting tips. This guide remains the first choice for anyone working in any aspect of the profession, whether amateur, educator or professional.

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Stage Management: The Essential Handbook by Gail Pallin

5 Books Every Stage Management Student Should ReadThe extremely successful “Bible for every stage manager” is now available in a revised and updated edition. The stage manager is the heart of every successful theater production. He or she organizes, conducts and conducts rehearsals and performances; researches and procures the props and furniture; and ensures a creative flow of information between production and design.

This guide is intended for students, graduates, and anyone aspiring to stage management, whether amateur or professional, large or small. With illustrations, diagrams and helpful checklists, it guides the reader through a typical production week by week.

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