Sunday, February 15, 2009

Summer Stock Discussion

Since most people coming to my blog from Google are searching for "summer stock", I thought I'd post some observations on my own experiences with the beast. I've worked at some really cool places, and some really lame ones. Here's what I can tell you:

1. Most theatres will work you 50+ hours per week for the entire summer for a flat fee, or for something in the neighborhood of $300/week. If you're an intern, you may work as many hours for free. If you need to make bank this summer, do not work summer stock. Unless it means you get to sublet your extortionist Williamsburg apartment and live rent-free for a few months.

2. Most theatres will put you up in student housing or an apartment, the quality of which will vary from mouse-infested shithole to cozy middle-class digs. If you're quite lucky, you'll have a room to yourself, and may be within walking distance of the venue. If not and you have no car, befriend a couple folks with cars really quickly. You don't have to love them, but you'll be needing their help to get out once in a while. You may not have laundry facilities or a working toilet. It gets dicey sometimes.

3. Most summer theatre companies become grossly incestuous really quickly. Think "The Real World" for people who are mostly lacking social skills. Put eight 20-something nerds together in a house, and...yuck. If you are a nerd looking to get laid this summer, then summer stock is the gig for you. If you have a strong gag reflex, look into temping or something instead.

4. Most summer stock gigs are an elaborate excuse for people to get trashed for a whole summer without worrying about maintaining any sort of reputation (see #3).

5. You can actually learn a lot from summer stock, especially if the venue employing you doesn't know what the hell it's doing. You may go through hell, but usually you'll come out of the whole experience with some new skills (see also #3). Some places actually have really great TD's and MEs and what-have-you, and you can learn a good deal from them too.

6. Use the opportunity to network. I know it's a terrible word, but "networking" is important, especially if you plan to be freelancing for a while. Theatre's a small world (I run into people I know in NYC all the time- in a city of 8 million + tourists, I see at least three people a week that I know from college, from summer stock, or from random gigs elsewhere).

That's about it for now. Who else has comments or tips for newbies?

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About Me

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New York, New York, United States
Tired. Caffeinated. Quietly evil.

I'm a theatre technician, living and working in NYC. Also an aspiring costumer, makeup artist, playwright and dilettante.
I like to rant about things, I swear like a person who swears a lot, and I work too much. Other than that, my time is spent at home with the puppy or in Chelsea bars with friends and co-workers.