Monday, May 3, 2010

The Walk-on Role Experience!

by Gary Fuller, Board Member, on his experience with a walk-on role in On The Town

Imagine being a ‘Star’ of a 5th Avenue Theatre production! Imagine the cast of On the Town stopping by your dressing room for a photo-op! Imagine being on stage in front of 2,000 people in a glorious musical!

It happened to us last Friday when we appeared in walk-on roles during the Museum scene in On the Town. We were met at the Stage Door by Lonnie Angle, Special Projects Manager at The 5th Avenue and Jennifer Richard from Team Photogenic who was there to capture all of our backstage experiences. We signed the call sheet and were escorted to our dressing room, complete with our names on the door, a beautiful floral bouquet, special framed Playbill with OUR names above the title and a poster signed by the cast. After changing into our costumes we were met by our cast wrangler, Gabe Cory, who took us on stage, behind the closed curtain, to walk thru our role while the evening’s audience could be heard filling the auditorium on the other side of the curtain. Gabe explained all we had to do was keep out of the way of the moving 30’ tower which would be coming off stage as we entered, watch out for the dinosaur which was dropping from the fly space above us, follow Rich Gray’s lead to the very front of the stage as he led our ‘tour group’ through the museum, and, oh yes, do a stylized shuffle as we walked in unison with our group. Were our hearts racing a little faster as we realized we were going to actually perform? You bet!

While on stage, Laurel Horton, head carpenter at The 5th, described how the motorized set operated and how much activity goes on back stage during a performance. Although the stage looks pretty big when you’re sitting in the audience, it’s actually filled with scenery, props, cast, crew and dressing areas during the show. There’s not an inch of space that is not being used.

Since our scene was not at the top of the show, we relaxed in the Crew lounge and watched the show on a monitor, hearing all the scene, lighting and sound cues. At our appointed time, we were led to our place on back stage to join our fellow cast members. Rich Gray reminded us to follow him, did a warm up joke, and then we were ON! I’m not sure we really remember anything that happened while we were on stage other than we didn’t run into any scenery or fall into the orchestra pit. It’s very easy to see how actors can love their work. There is something magical about being on stage, filled with the brightest of lights and hearing the laugher of an audience. We also gained a greater appreciation of what it takes to be a performer. It’s far more than having acting, singing and dancing skills. Every moment of a production is so carefully choreographed and every single person on stage needs to be in the right place at the right time.

After successfully exiting the stage we were escorted back our dressing room, where we changed back into our street attire and then were taken to our seats in the theater to watch the remainder of Act I. At Intermission, we greeted our ‘Fans’ in the Producer’s Lounge at a champagne and dessert reception. We were grateful for all their kind words and allowing us to enjoy our brief moment in the spotlight.

Did we have a great time? Yes we did. Would we do it again? We’d be there in a heartbeat! We have so many people to thank for making our walk-on role an evening we will never forget.

Walk-On Roles are available at A NIGHT AT THE 5TH, our annual Fundraising Gala taking place on June 19, 2010. This fabulous experience is auctioned off during the Live Auction portion of the evening! If you’re interested in attending the gala or want more information, click here or contact Lonnie Angle in the Development Office at 206.625.1418 x271 or via e-mail at

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