In my time in the theatre fandom, I’ve read quite a few cringe-y stagedooring tales. What’s great about this fandom, though, is that there are a ton of young fans despite the fact that theatre is geared towards all ages. While it’s phenomenal that teenagers are getting more and more involved in theatre, some of them may not totally understand stagedooring etiquette. This doesn’t even just go for teenagers, either. Adults who aren’t frequent theatergoers aren’t perfect stagedoorers, either.
In the age of fandom-obsessed Broadway musicals such as Be More Chill, Mean Girls, Dear Evan Hansen, and Hamilton, I wanted to give fans a guide to stagedooring etiquette from someone who has stagedoored a handful of times.
DO: Bring a playbill to get autographed.
Make sure you bring at least one playbill to get autographed at the stage door so you’ll go home with a unique souvenir!
DON’T: Leave before or during bows so you can get to the stage door early.
The bows are one of the most important elements of the show because it shows the cast members that you appreciated the time they dedicated to you. Give the cast and crew your appreciation, and once the curtain falls you can push your way through the crowd to get to the stage door. (That’s what I usually do, anyway.)
DO: Ask cast members to take pictures with you, if that’s your kind of thing.
I’m personally too introverted to take pictures with Broadway actors, but I’ve been to enough stage doors that I know it’s definitely not unusual or looked down upon to take pictures with an actor. If you want a picture with someone, just ask! The worst they can say is no, which doesn’t happen very often.
And hey, they may end up your future costar one day:
DON’T: Touch cast members without their permission under any circumstance.
The fact that I even need to say this one is disturbing.
I remember reading about someone hugging a cast member at the stage door without permission, and sounded incredibly uncomfortable. Actors are people just like you, and they value their personal space and their health. You can ask them if you can give them a hug or a handshake, but just don’t touch them without asking first. It’s never okay. For any reason. At all.
DO: Bring a personalized gift to a cast member(s) you like.
If you follow Broadway actors’ social media accounts for long enough, you’ll get to see a lot of them appreciating fans for gifts mailed or given to them at the stage door. Though I’ve never done it, I would definitely recommend bringing a personalized gift or card to the stage door.
In the event that the actor doesn’t come out to the stage door, leave your gift with the stage door managers and tell them who it’s for. Even if you don’t actually get to meet them, the actor will cherish your gift forever.
DON’T: Ask them when another cast member is coming out.
With popular fandom shows like Mean Girls, there will be certain cast members that people just really like and want to meet. However, I strongly advise you not to ask another cast member when someone else is coming out to sign autographs. It makes them feel like you’re not happy to see them, or that their contributions to the show isn’t as significant as someone else’s.
If you’re excited to meet someone, maybe send them a friendly Tweet telling them as such. They may even respond letting you know whether or not they’ll be coming out to sign playbills. Sometimes, depending on the role and on the actor, they may not come out at all and tell everyone beforehand.
DO: Thank the actor for their performance.
Every single time I stagedoor, all I can think of to say to the actors is usually along the lines of “You did so great” or “Thank you”. I’m really too shy to say anything else. Whether or not you’re introverted, simply thanking an actor for their performance and saying something like “You did great” or “I love your work” will mean the world to them.
→ HOWEVER: Think before you talk – don’t say anything creepy, like that their picture is your phone background or you think they’re attractive. Keep thoughts like this to yourself.
DON’T: Get mad at an actor if they can’t come out to stage door.
Look. I went to If/Then on Broadway and I admit, I was disappointed when I didn’t get to meet Idina, a longtime idol of mine. While this can certainly be disappointing, it’s not the cast member’s fault. They have other obligations and sometimes stagedooring isn’t in the cards for them. Getting mad at them on Twitter will only make you look like the bad guy.
Have any exciting stagedooring stories? Any horror stories? Share them in the comments!