NIDA graduate works backstage at The Book of Mormon
Stage managing on a high profile multi-award-winning production like The Book of Mormon is NIDA graduate Toby Rosengarten’s dream job.
Photo: The original cast of The Book of Mormon Australia. Photo Jeff Busby.
Stage managing on a high profile multi-award-winning production like The Book of Mormon is Toby Rosengarten’s dream job.
A big fan of musical theatre, Toby graduated from NIDA in 2017 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Technical Theatre and Stage Management) and came from the production team of the highly successful Kinky Boots into the role of Assistant Stage Manager on The Book of Mormon.
The musical is currently selling out to audiences across Australia. With the script, lyrics, and music written by South Park creators Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Frozen composer Robert Lopez, the show was a hit on Broadway taking out nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and a Grammy Award for Best Music Theatre Cast Album. The Australian production won Helpmann Awards for Best Musical and Best Direction.
Stage managing means operating under pressure to make sure the show runs smoothly and without a hitch. ‘My main role is to carry out a series of cues during the show (which collectively is called a deck plot), which consist mainly of torching for cast members leaving the stage, paging curtains and spotting scenery as it moves,’ said Toby.
‘I also call the show occasionally, and I know both of the stage management deck plots as well as the stage right props plot,’ he said. Stage managers often have the task of ‘calling a show’ in their job, which means prompting all the key moments of the performance, from lights, staging, acting and music.
Toby says that on a ‘well-oiled machine’ like The Book of Mormon there are few production issues. ‘The hardest things that come up are mid-show cast changes, for example if a cast member gets sick or injured during a show. They’re very rare though (touch wood!) and we all know our roles in dealing with it if it ever happens.’
Toby also credits his training at NIDA as instrumental in both preparing him for this role and helping him to attain it. ‘NIDA’s Stage Management training is first class and we are well prepared during play productions to handle anything thrown at us. I got this job out of a NIDA secondment, so these I think are vital in setting yourself up into the industry. Find something you’re interested in and do your best to get a foot in the door is my advice for future stage managers.’
‘Stage management has a lot of potential for upward movement, and I have ambitions to work as a Deputy Stage Manager and Stage Manager in the future,’ said Toby. ‘As for specific shows, if Hamilton ever gets to Australia I’d love to work on that!’
‘On a show like this one there are always funny moments – most of the time it’s people forgetting or mixing up lines onstage. Unfortunately for them, because the stage is so wide and the set so open, there isn’t much we can do for them in terms of prompting, so they’re on their own!’
For more information or to register your interest in NIDA’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (Technical Theatre and Stage Management) courses, see www.nida.edu.au
For tickets and information about The Book of Mormon, http://bookofmormonmusical.com.au