Ah, I'm glad you came in this afternoon, I want to discuss . . . is there something you'd like to tell me?
"Hi. You got back from lunch early, huh?"
"You know, usually you wouldn't be back for another half hour."
I'm aware of that. Now would you care to explain why you are standing in the middle of my office naked?
"It's my office too."
Maybe not for much longer.
"Hey, I got on underwear!"
Please, I'm trying not to notice those Lion King boxer shorts you're wearing. Wait a minute. Turn around. Is that supposed to be a tail?
"Yea, it's the lion's tail. You wear it hanging down one of your pants legs and the tassel tickles the back of your knee when you walk."
Will Disney stop at nothing to make a buck?
"Marguerite thinks it's cute."
Marguerite St. Johns, your new girlfriend and wannabe Scenic Designer?
"Let's not go there right now, okay?"
Very well. What are all these bags and boxes?
"I went out and bought my tux for the Tony Awards this morning."
Okay, you're forgiven. I was beginning to think you'd never get around to it.
"You were right about shopping early. The place was mobbed with teenagers getting ready for proms."
I told you so.
"I need to try everything on to make sure I didn't forget anything. It's closer to do it here than to go back to my apartment."
You didn't try it on at the store? How do you know it fits?
"I'm six feet tall and a perfect suit size 40. I coulda been a male model. I never need alterations except for pants length and the dry cleaners can do that if we pin ‘em."
"Hey, come on, I need your help."
Well, get on with it.
"Okay, what goes on first?"
Excuse me? You've never gotten dressed by yourself before?
"Not in a Tuxedo."
Don't call it that. It's vulgar.
Yes. Calling it Black Tie is acceptable. Calling it a Dinner Jacket is preferred. Tuxedo refers to Tuxedo Park, an exclusive community about forty miles northwest of New York City, where the Dinner Jacket was first introduced to America in 1886.
"Okay, so what goes first?"
Black silk over the calf length socks.
"Got ‘em right here."
These aren't silk.
"They didn't have any silk socks. The salesman said these cotton and nylon ones were just as good."
I suppose so. The Tonys are low formal, not high formal.
"What's the difference?"
Low formal is a Dinner Jacket without too much fuss. Once you go with a wing collar shirt and vest, you're getting very high formal. The next step would be white tie and tails.
"When you came in you said you wanted to discuss something?"
Oh, yes. Tomorrow afternoon I'm interviewing a guy who wants to be a stage manager. I may use him on Neverland. I want you to be here for the interview.
"Two questions. Why do we need a stage manager before we even have a script? And, exactly what does a stage manager do, anyway?"
You're correct. We don't need a stage manager right away. But over the next year there will be several times when we need to hire somebody for jobs associated with developing the play. I'd like to hire the same guy we ultimately use as the stage manager so he has some background on what Neverland is all about when we go into rehearsals.
"Okay, socks on. What next?"
Let me see the shirt you bought.
"In the red bag."
You bought the right shirt; spread collar, standard pleats, and French cuffs. I'm impressed.
"I told the salesman I wanted the most conservative style they had."
Good move. Wing collars are too formal and those mandarin collars with all that jewelry you have to wear to cover the neck button are way too flashy. Put the shirt on.
Surprisingly, the dress shirt has pleats so you don't have to wear an undershirt unless you want to. Radio City Music Hall is going to be very warm, so I would suggest no undershirt and a good deodorant.
"Whatever you say. The studs and cufflinks should be in that bag too."
Here they are. No, this is a big mistake. You can't wear these.
"What's wrong? They're in the shape of little cigars. That's cool now, isn't it?"
Studs and cufflinks should be either black onyx or white mother of pearl. These little cigars are simply tacky. You don't need studs anyway. Just button the shirt buttons.
"I wondered why this shirt had buttons if you were suppose to wear studs."
Either buttons or studs are acceptable. Studs are a little more formal than buttons. If you don't use studs, all you need is a pair of plain gold cufflinks. Here, you can use the ones I'm wearing to get the effect.
"Thanks. Looks like the shirt fits. Pants next."
Why did you buy both a cummerbund and a vest? You're not planning on wearing both at the same time, are you?
"I take it from the tone of your voice that you're not suppose to?"
Either or, not both.
"Which is better?"
I would recommend the cummerbund. The vest is too formal for the Tonys, and if you wear it you need the studs.
"Sounds good to me. Why is it called a cummerbund?"
I have no idea. Originally the pants had no pockets. The cummerbund was a long sash you wound around your waist both to keep the pants up and to hide things in, like a small purse of money or a dagger.
"Is that why you always wear the folds of the cummerbund pointing up? So you can hide things in it?"
That and to catch the popcorn. Put the suspenders on before the cummerbund.
The suspender buttons are on the inside of the waistband.
"I always wondered what these buttons were for on expensive pants."
Well, now you know.
"So, what exactly does a stage manager do? And what's the difference between a stage manager, a company manager, and a general manager?"
I see you've been reading the credits in the back of your Playbills. You know the director primarily works with the creative team; the actors, writers, and designers. The general manager is sort of the director's counterpart, working with the business team; the company manager, box office personnel, the publicity people, and the house staff. Both the creative team and the business team work with the production team; the shops and services, and the stage and production crews. In rehearsal, the stage manager acts as a liaison among all these people. He's also in charge of running the show from backstage once it opens. He also acts as the director once the show opens and the original director goes on to other projects. All in all, the stage manager is one of the most important people involved with the production. And it's critical to the success of a show to hire a good one.
"A stage manager does all that?"
And more. Sit down when you adjust the length of the suspenders.
If you adjust them nice and snug while standing, when you sit down they will pull the pants up too tight. You could hurt yourself.
"Got'cha. And the cummerbunds were?"
Centered on the waistband of the pants.
Perfect. Now the shoes. You bought plain black patent leather, I hope?
"Yep. Right here. Are these all right?"
"Is there any difference between lace-up and slip-on dress shoes?"
The lace-up shoes are low formal, perfect for what you are wearing. The slip-ons are high formal and required for high formal black tie and always for white tie and tails. It looks like those pants are about five inches too long.
"Would you pin ‘em?"
Where are the pins?
"I didn't get any. Don't you have a pin or something in your desk?"
"We could staple them."
That would ruin the fabric. I know, scotch tape.
"I just need something to mark the length until I get them to the cleaners."
The tape doesn't seem to be sticking.
"Wrap it around my ankle a couple of times. That should hold it."
"Yea. You don't have to use the whole roll."
There you are.
"Thanks. Now the jacket."
Tie first. You bought plain black silk, right?
"Right. I know the tie is supposed to match the cummerbund. Why always plain black? The store must have had a hundred different colors and patterns."
There's nothing wrong with wearing a colored or patterned tie and cummerbund to a private dinner or party. I have a dark maroon set I wear at Christmas. But to a public function, always black.
"For you to tell me I should have bought a real bow tie instead of this pre tied one."
If you wore a real bow, tie all the time I would be saying it. But, you don't. The chances of your learning how to properly tie a bow tie and, more important, knowing how to maintain it through the evening is nonexistent. This pre tied bow tie is a perfectly acceptable alternative to the possibility of making a fool of yourself.
"Thanks, I think."
You were right. The jacket seems to be a perfect fit. Single buttons, a notched lapel, conservative cut. You did well.
"How about the pocket square? Yes or no?"
No. Pocket squares are only worn by men who don't realize they aren't wearing a business suit. Return it to the store along with the vest and studs and get your money back.
"So, how do I look?"
I must say you do clean up quite well.
I approve. Now go home and read this book before the interview tomorrow.
"The Back Stage Guide to Stage Management by Thomas A. Kelly."
You'll like it and get a lot out of it. Kelly knows what he writes about. It's easy to read and some of his backstage stories are hilarious.
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The Back Stage Guide to Stage Management