After any given performance of Bright Star, we typically have between 20-40 people waiting at the stage door for autographs. It’s interesting to observe how differently the people in our cast (and casts everywhere) deal with greeting fans at the stage door. Over the years, I’ve isolated a few categories:
The Charmers: Charmers not only greet and sign at the stage door, they also linger, converse, engage. They want to make a connection and are happy to invest the time.
The Dependables: Dependables are sure to sign any Playbill/poster/CD liner presented to them. Often there’s some conversation, some pleasantries, at the very least eye contact, but not to the extent of the Charmers. (I’d put myself in this category.)
The Speeders: Speeders will sign, but you’d better be ready for them, because if your program isn’t out and available, they will move on. Don’t hope for eye contact here. Speeders sign and run.
The Sneaks: Sneaks leave the stage door with their heads down, suspecting (hoping?) that no one will recognize them. Sometimes, as is the case with some of the ensemble members in Bright Star, they don’t want to assume that people will know who they are or want their autograph, so they slide by, but if you were to recognize and address a Sneak by name, I predict they would stop and happily sign.
The No-Shows: No-Shows fall into two sub-categories. 1) Celebrities who don’t have the energy, patience, or desire to connect with their many fans. 2) People with ultra-rigorous performing demands and/or those on vocal rest or recovering from an illness who feel they have to conserve their energy/voice simply to meet the demands of the show. The No-Shows either wait out the crowds, leave through a secret door, or are ushered to their car by a security person. Special mention: I’ve heard that when Laura Benanti is on vocal rest, she sends out pre-signed programs in lieu of an appearance, which is a nice gesture. Maybe there needs to be a new category for that….
If you’re a fan, have you encountered any other types worth noting?
If you’re a performer, which type are you?
PS I should add a third No-Show category: On Saturday nights at Bright Star, Dee Hoty hosts Shot Night after the show, so if you don’t see us at the stage door on Saturday nights, it’s because we’re still inside, enjoying a drink (or two).