As with so many other blogs and websites these first weeks of 2017, we thought we’d take just a few minutes to share our Top Tens of 2016. We’ve seen a lot of changes to the StageAgent site, increased the number of new and updated guides featured on the site, and had some record-breaking traffic this year. And we are looking forward to many new and exciting things in the New Year! So without further ado, here are some 2016 Top Ten Lists, based on the highest number of unique pageviews in each category for the year. Some of the results may surprise you. Read on!
“Welcome to StageAgent!” A few weeks ago, that was the subject of a very anticipated email.
Hi. I’m Laura Ware, the new editor for StageAgent, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Let me share a little about myself.
I’m a performer and acting teacher living in Astoria, Queens, New York, a quick subway ride away from Times Square and Broadway!
I’m originally from the Los Angeles area in Southern California, so I swapped one coast for the other and I love both. I attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, where I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting and following that I got my Master of Fine Arts in Musical Theater from San Diego State University. I spent many years working around California on the Civic Light Opera circuit, working my way up from the ensemble in shows like Carousel to supporting roles in Oliver! and 42nd Street to leads in Annie, Me and My Girl, and Nunsense.
I’ve been living here in New York for about 9 years, ever since I finished a 2-year run on the road with the Second National Tour of Mamma Mia! when I was lucky enough to play the delightful role of Rosie, singing my favorite ABBA songs from my youth every night and clowning around on stage in sparkly red spandex! We toured the United States, Mexico, and Canada, and I had the opportunity not just to perform but to make lifelong friends and connect with audience members of all ages during that amazing time!
Once I finished my run in Mamma Mia!, I decided it was time to try out New York, so I arrived with a couple of suitcases and my computer case. I love living here! I love public transportation, having so many iconic places to visit, the fabulous places to eat, and access to so many shows to see–big and small. I haven’t yet hit the Broadway performing dream, but as a character actor, I still have lots of time. Ironically, most of my early work here in New York was in television–crazy since all I did in LA was theater. But I keep busy auditioning and singing in the occasional cabaret and working as an acting coach at a local non-profit New York conservatory, in addition to my new gig here at StageAgent.
An actor often must have many jobs to support themselves in this crazy acting business, and I have had my share: substitute teacher, pet sitter, marketing and promotions assistant, discount ticket distributor, audition monitor, babysitter, musical theater teacher, PowerPoint designer, acting coach, temp everything, office manager, medical proofreader and copy editor, developmental editor, and grant writer. I’ve worked in large corporate settings to freelancing all alone at home. But now I get to take my bread and butter “day job” in the editorial field and marry it to my love of theater as the new editor of StageAgent. It’s so exciting to be able to justify my student loans again!
In the two short weeks since I started at StageAgent, my head is spinning with all the exciting things we have planned! My primary goal is to keep bringing our readers new and exciting Show Guides and guest Blog posts, and to expand our song and monologue database to give you, the StageAgent user, more amazing tools to utilize as you pursue acting, singing, teaching, directing, and more!
At StageAgent.com, we are on a quest to inform, guide and improve the lives of performing artists. But in order to succeed, we need your help! StageAgent.com has multiple openings for part-time content specialists to write original show guides about musicals, plays and operas. You should be an excellent writer with expert-level knowledge about Broadway musicals, straight plays and/or operas, including extensive industry and/or academic experience. This is a part-time, work-from-home position. We are open to hiring the right experts regardless of your geographic location.
Write detailed study guides for musicals, plays and operas including context, plot summaries, character analyses and other information.
Classify monologues and songs by category, genre, vocal range and other criteria.
Assist with product testing
Help promote StageAgent content via your personal social media channels.
Extensive experience working in the theatre industry either as a performer or on the production side.
Strong musical abilities with the ability to easily classify character vocal ranges.
Strong research and writing capabilities.
Access to source materials via a music or drama library or personal collection.
Flexible schedule with 5-10 hours per week to work for StageAgent
Other primary source of income. *StageAgent writers are paid a fee per completed guide
Submit your resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Putting on a large-scale musical with a huge cast, full orchestra and eye-popping choreography can be a daunting (and expensive) task for any organization. If you are working on a small stage, have a tiny budget or simply don’t have access to a lot of talent, producing a big musical might simply be impossible.
Luckily, there is no shortage of wonderful musicals that involve smaller casts and are even particularly effective in smaller venues. Here are five of our favorites:
Next to Normal is the story of Diana Goodman and her family. Traumatized by the death of her infant son from an undiagnosed intestinal obstruction, Diana has lived with bipolar depressive disorder and delusional episodes for the past seventeen years. The illness has affected everyone in her life, and has nearly torn her family apart on several occasions. With subject matter rendered achingly recognizable by Brian Yorkey, and a dynamic, energetic pop-rock score by Tom Kitt, Next to Normal is a show that enables a small group of actors to showcase powerhouse vocals while exploring pressing contemporary issues of trauma, loss, mental health treatment, and the meaning of family. Read our full Next to Normal guide
Drama Desk award-winner The Last Five Years is Jason Robert Brown’s intimate window into a couple’s doomed marriage. Cathy, a struggling actress, and Jamie, a budding novelist on the brink of wild success, are 20-somethings in New York who meet, fall in love, marry, and divorce over the span of five years. Cathy tells the story from the end of their marriage; Jamie begins from when they first meet. As the musical unfolds, Cathy moves backward in time to the beginning of the relationship, as Jamie moves toward the end; they meet only once, in the middle, at their wedding. Since its Off-Broadway premiere in 2002, Brown’s funny, poignant, and devastatingly honest two-person production has enraptured audiences around the world with its spellbinding and emotional score and libretto. Read our full guide for The Last Five Years
Jeff and Hunter, two self-confessed nobodies in New York, make a pact: They will write an original musical and submit it to a festival. The only catch? The deadline is in three weeks! They gather two actress friends, Susan and Heidi, and an accompanist and music director, Larry, on the keys. With the full team assembled, Jeff and Hunter hit another roadblock: What should they write about? Jeff and Hunter decide to follow the old adage, “Write what you know,” and set off on a unique musical adventure: Writing a musical about writing a musical. As the deadline looms, insecurities creep in and jealousies flare. Will the team succeed with their musical? Could it even win a Tony?! In this intelligent, playful, lovable new musical, the audience is treated to an inside look at the tough work of being a creative artist. Frequently hilarious, occasionally heartbreaking, and thoroughly inspiring, [title of show] is a love story celebrating individuality and creativity. Read our full guide for [Title of Show]
Charles Schulz’s beloved comic comes to life in Clark Gesner’s classic musical, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. The whole gang is here: bossy Lucy is hopelessly in love with piano prodigy Schroeder who doesn’t give her the time of day, perfectionist Sally is still mocking blanket-toting Linus, Snoopy is in the doghouse, and our beloved “blockhead,” himself, Charlie Brown, is in rare form. Brief vignettes span the months from Valentine’s Day to Beethoven Day, from wild optimism to utter despair. In this revised version, with additional music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and dialogue by Michael Mayer, the sweet, joyful innocence of the Peanuts gang is maintained, but a fresh insouciance and playfulness is revealed. An updated script features two new songs, particularly funny dialogue, and new, catchy orchestrations. Whether you’re keen to fly with the Red Baron, moon over the Moonlight Sonata, or just do your best to find “Happiness,” You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown is a crowd-pleasing classic. Read our full guide for You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown
Whimsical, poignant, and romantic, The Fantasticks is an allegorical story that focuses on two young lovers, their meddling fathers, and the journey we all must take through adolescent thrills, the growing pains of hurt and betrayal, the highs of passion, the challenges of distance and the agonies of heartbreak to discover how to truly love. In a theatrical and inventive fashion, our gallant and enigmatic narrator — El Gallo — introduces us to a pair of young lovers — Matt and Luisa — who experience the magical, moonlit phase of falling in love. For a time, the romance is exciting, and heroics save the day. Then, however, El Gallo leads our young protagonists out of the romantic moonlight and into the harsh sun, where the weaknesses in their relationship are exposed and the reality of the struggles and heartache that love inevitably brings is revealed. With the understanding that “without a hurt the heart is hollow,” Matt and Luisa manage to find their own identities and, in turn, to discover their strengths as a couple in times of both darkness and light. With the record for the longest American theatrical run, The Fantasticks is a gem of the American musical theatre. Featuring timeless classics like “Try to Remember” and “Soon it’s Gonna Rain,” this simple and beautiful ensemble piece is as beloved and as timely as it was when it opened forty years ago. Read our full guide for The Fantasticks