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Stage Manager: 1950's
Arthur Gerold was stage manager during the heydays of the Music Circus, when he met his wife who was staring in “Finian’s Rainbow”.
Stage Manager: 1955-1956?
Stage Manager: 1960
Stage Manager: 1961
Stage Manager: 1962
Hal Warren began in the theater as a singer. He played Joey Biltmore in the 1955 Music Circus production of "Guys and Dolls" and as Hassan-Ben in "Kismet" that same year.
Stage Manager: 1963
Production Assistant: 1961
Assistant Stage Manager: 1962-1963
Stage Manager: 1963
The Music Circus certainly had considerable influence on my life. I began working there in 1955 between my junior and senior years in high school running scenery and props on and off the stage during the black-outs. I think we were called "prop boys" then. Bob Meskill was our leader. The changes were carefully thought out and choreographed, so that we would not run into "blind" actors or each other and efficiently get the props in their proper positions and clear the stage as quickly as possible. I have seen many productions over the years and never witnessed scene changes run as smoothly as we did them.
I started working for the MC the next spring as a canvas man. My first job being on the crew unpacking the tent and rolling it out in a field. We painted the whole tent with rollers in blazing sun.
During this second season, still as a proud prop-boy, I also worked a day or two each week taking Music Circus posters around the area. As I recall, I was given the "Dalmatian car" to make these rounds. The "Dalmatian car", a white convertible with painted black spots and a platform on the back seat, was created for Sinjin [Mr. Terrell], who would drive around with his pet Dalmatian in the rear like a beauty queen. (The most exciting thing that happened to me that year of 1956, was having the female lead in "Can Can" find me attractive.)
I spent the next four years in the Coast Guard. Most of my leave time was spent at the Music Circus. I think I ran several shows during those years, but cannot be sure of it. I do remember that I was able to get in on some fun parties.
In 1961 I was back as head of the prop boys now called stage crew, and my title was Production Assistant. During the daytime I worked for Tom Reddy, the General Manager, mostly running errands, that included delivering posters or driving actors to radio interviews. At the end of that season I entered the University of Wisconsin as a theatre major.
When I reported back to work in 1962, I was asked if I wanted my Equity card as Assistant Stage Manager. Did I! They asked me to join Equity because with one more white contract (white for leads and pink for chorus) they could bring in an unlimited number of non-Equity performers. They had figured this would be advisable, especially for "The Music Man" needing a whole band and a singing quartet in the cast.
There were two assistant stage managers which caused some friction. Roy Ewing, the electrician, took a liking to me and disliking the other ASM, Bob Brand, who he would complain about mercilessly. (Several years later I ran into Roy who was just come from an interview for the road company of "Hello Dolly". He was depressed because he was pretty sure he wouldn’t get the job. It seems when he walked in for the interview, Mr. Brand was sitting behind the desk.)
That year I was very busy, as my job included tracking down props that were not being produced in the scene shop, as well as driving actors to interviews. I was not a good prop gatherer. I recall going crazy trying to find a rolling dictionary stand for "The Music Man". I drove Dom De Luise, who was in "The Music Man", to an interview and remember laughing until my sides hurt on the way back.
I didn’t remember this it until writing this, but "The Music Man" production was memorable to me for another reasons. I was cast as the Train Conductor and during a cast lunch break I was scheduled to rehearse with the director Louis MacMillan. Louie stood at the top of the tent, eating a sandwich, and told me to cross the stage from aisle 3 to 9 delivering the line, “River City! River City Junction, next stop.” Half way across stage he stopped me with, “Can’t hear you! Do it again.” After about four failed attempts to be heard, and hot, tired and hungry, I muttered under my breath, “Fuck you.” “I heard that.”, he shouted. “Now do the line that way.” That’s how I learned to project on stage.
Why I was given the opportunity of small roll of the Train Conductor, I don’t know. Well, yeah, I do. They needed a body, and I must have been the last resort. I was also the 1st Constable in "Three Penny Opera". This was an intense week. Everyone wanted to do well because of the way Louie had directed it. There I was on stage, opening night, in costume. I heard my cue, but there was no line in my head. Bad enough to be there surrounded by silence from fellow actors staring at you as they waited for my line, and surrounded by the audience and reviewers, and with the rest of the off-stage cast watching from the top of the tent, but then I just snapped my fingers. I then started babbling, basically saying all the words, but in random order. Talk about wanting the earth to swallow you up.
For the 1963 season, "Springtime for Henry", a comedy with Edward Everett Horton, was added to the end of the season. I asked Delmar Hendricks, the stage manager, if he would let me stage manage the show. He graciously did, giving me my first credit as a professional stage manager.
The next three summers I stage managed Melody Top in Chicago and Milwaukee. Stuart Bishop was set designer those years as well. The owners of Melody Top constructed a permanent theatre-in-the-round which opened the summer of 1966 where I was the lighting designer. When Melody Top closed for the season, I went directly to Mill Run as stage manager and lighting designer. Mill Run went bankrupt in January; whereupon I moved to NYC. I continued stage managing doing everything from Burlesque (a Minsky’s tour) to ballet (Joffrey tour). My career was sailing along nicely when, in 1970, I realized I wasn’t really all that happy. I have been pursuing happiness more directly ever since and finding whole, great, gobs of it which will be revealed in my next book.
Stage Manager: 1964
Stage Manager: 1965-1968