BackStageView – Live at the Gallo Center

BackStage View
By Shannon Carmack-Mize

When an audience sits down to watch a live performance they each experience something different and each time they watch the same show, they see something different than the time before. That’s the beauty of a live performance. That’s what makes them exciting and often magical.
What the audience doesn’t see is all of the crew who make that magic happen. Unless of course, someone makes a mistake and suddenly everyone is staring at the guy with a faux-hawk, dressed in black jeans and a black tshirt, holding an 18th century chair on the lit stage while the Queen of England enters stage left. Um, awkward? It happens. Who’s at fault? Who knows. It could have been the spotlight crew that lit early, or the stage manager called the spot early, or maybe faux-hawk guy missed his cue – the audience will never know. What they do know, hopefully, is that until that moment, the crew was so seamless, so GOOD at their jobs that they were invisible.
But they’re there – every single time. They run the soundboard, the lighting, the spotlights, they move props and sets, they work the rails to fly in scenery or effects or to lift and lower legs, they close and open the curtain, and usually the crew even helps build and strike the set. They are everywhere, doing everything, except being seen. They are the unseen and unsung heroes.
As we close out the high school theater season and begin the jam packed summer community theatre season, there are still a few spring shows to catch in the Modesto area. Go out into our community, watch a play or a musical, enjoy a live performance but forget everything you’ve just read here. Don’t wonder about spots, lights, fly rails, mics, props, or sets. Because you shouldn’t, you should forget them, that’s what they want, but the next time you are walking by a stage door and you see someone dressed in all black, maybe say, “The crew did a great job tonight! Thank you!” Because chances are, they did, you just didn’t see it.
Upcoming shows: James & the Giant Peach, Modesto Christian Performing Arts 5/5 – 5/6; Oliver!, Whitmore Charter School 5/4 – 5/5, Mulan Jr, Turlock Youth Performing Arts 5/5-5/7, Avenue Q,Merced Playhouse 4/28 – 5/14; 13 The Musical 5/19 – 5/21, Merced Playhouse; Disgraced 5/5- 5/21, Prospect Theater Project, Lions in Illyria, Center Stage Conservatory 5/13 – 5/14

******Photo info: A Christmas Carol, December 2015, Modesto Performing Arts: Brad Hight, Michael McGrath, Moe Perez, Chloe Willey, Nicole Giordanella, Jon Duran, Ray Sheen, Haley French, and Shannon Wren.



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About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.