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Rock of Ages, 2014.


Why launching a show is like launching a product.

The magic you see onstage requires deep collaboration and communication across a wide family of interrelated creative teams - a lot like product teams! 

From the time I was a kid, it gave me so much satisfaction to be a part of a system made up of amazing people -  directors, choreographers, composers, pit musicians, dancers, singers, stage crew, set designers, lighting technicians, and dressers - who all contributed their talents to serve a bigger cohesive goal: putting on a show.


These people...

Image by Marc Schulte

...need these people...

Before a show "goes to Broadway", it has an out-of-town tryout, which is like our version of usability test on a hi-fi prototype. It's a way to test out the audience's response, get feedback, and make changes before opening in NYC. 


For every 20 people you see onstage, there are 2-3x that working in the wings. During the development and rehearsal process, there is a lot of design iteration that happens to make a show work well and bring it to life. New music gets written, choreography changes, lighting cues and costume pieces colors get finessed and tweaked. 


The decisions and output of any one team affects all other teams, so clearly communicating your ideas is crucial!

Once a show is officially open, a successful performance requires that every person on each "team" work simultaneously in individual yet parallel processes, communicating with each other every step of the way through a series of cues given by the stage manager. 


Going one level deeper, if the show were a digital product, each of these processes are like task flows. Some of them are connected and overlap as they run, some do not. 

pit orchestra.jpg

...who need these people...

Costume Design

...who need these people...

As a performer, I've spent 15 years building shows with a lot of really passionate, dedicated people who love to solve problems together.

The next time you're at a show, say thanks to the people working offstage if you can.

They work really hard so that all of us onstage can do our jobs - entertain you! 

And if you ever have a chance to take a backstage tour, I highly recommend it. :)

producers playbill.png

...and they all really, really need these people!

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