Election 2017 – read candidate statements here!



Mandy Berry – 1st Vice President
Thank you very much for considering me as a chair for the SMA. I am looking forward to continuing the work I have done with this amazing board over the past 3 years. We have established our online document library and are running our education department with our three key programs: Ask a Stage Manager, Collaborative Connections & Operation Observation. The SMA is an asset to stage managers, a wonderful connection to all facets of our industry and we must tap these resources and share with one another to get the most out of our careers. For this coming year I would like to continue with the following goals – creating an audio and video library with interviews of stage managers and useful resources online.

Katrina Herrmann – Recording Secretary
I’m running for the position of Recording Secretary on the Executive Board. Previously I served on the Executive Board as Co-Secretary from 2010-2013. I’ve been a professional stage manager for 14 years and an Equity member for 10 years. Most of my career has been spent in New York and Chicago working on new plays and musicals. The SMA is a valuable resource for the nation’s stage managers, providing practical and tactical support. As I enter the middle of my career, I’m thinking about lifestyle balance, fair wages, and encouraging diversity. The country as whole is at a turning point, and there is work to be done to create an environment in which the arts can flourish. As a Board member, I would focus on building resources that help stage managers not just survive, but thrive.

Bill Hare – Treasurer
This has been a very exciting year with increased membership and growth both financially and geographically. It has been both a pleasure and an honor to serve with this highly committed, activist board. Next year promises to be ever more expansive as we explore additional avenues of growth and further opportunities for service to our fellows. Our ambitions are great while our resources are modest, but I’m convinced that with careful and responsible marshaling, we can take great strides toward realizing our ambitions.

Matthew Aaron Stern – Director-at-Large
I received my AEA card at the La Jolla Playhouse, spent a year as the stage manager for Ballet Iowa and then moved to New York City where I worked on Broadway, National Tours and at Radio City Music Hall. I’ve also stage managed for numerous corporate events and teach stage management at SUNY Purchase. I love stage management and I love stage managers.
I’ve been fortunate in my career and honored to work alongside many great stage managers, from which I have always continued to learn and grow. Membership in the SMA is an important part of my professional life and I am thankful for it. By connecting stage managers to each other, the SMA is vital to our profession and serves a purpose unlike any other organization, as it dedicated to the welfare of stage managers.
We are unique in our profession, balancing everyone else’s needs and being servant leaders. As an organization, the SMA can support us and our needs, providing social outlets, business opportunities and more. I would be honored to serve and help the SMA continue in its mission to support and advocate for stage managers.

Robert Neapolitan – Director at Large
Robert Neapolitan moved to New York in October of 2015. Since then he has immersed himself into the world of Theater. He has been a proud member of SMA for two years. He looks forward to joining the Board of SMA and to help connect, educate and support Stage Managers across the globe.

Anthony O. Bullock – Eastern Region Rep
My name is Anthony O. Bullock and I am proud to be running for the position of Eastern Regional Representative. I have been working along the east coast as an AEA stage manager since 2010. My goal for this position in the SMA is to grow our membership, not just in numbers in areas with little to no members but in active participating members. I hope to continue along with expanding on the benefits and value the SMA provides.

Joel Veenstra – Western Region Rep
I am a professional stage manager, production manager, and improviser based in Southern California. It has been a joy to work with a number of renowned regional theaters and large-scale celebrity galas and to teach stage management, collaborative production, and improvisation at the University of California, Irvine. Currently I have the pleasure of serving as the Recording Secretary of the Stage Managers Association and I look forward to transitioning into the role of Western Regional Representative, pending your vote. Already we have started the process of raising awareness of the benefits of the SMA in the West with two regional events (in Las Vegas on October 27 and in Los Angeles on April 24) and I look to continue to build on these incredible events throughout my term. My network and networking ability will help to support, inspire, and encourage my fellow stage managers in the Western Region. Thank you for your consideration of me for this position.

Joe Drummond, Central Region Rep Honored by USITT



Joe Drummond, USITT honored him with the Distinguished Achievement Award in 2017.                                                                                               .

Joe Drummond in rehearsal for Disgraced at the Goodman Theatre, 2015
Joe Drummond in rehearsal for Disgraced at the Goodman Theatre, 2015

The Board and membership of the SMA are pleased to congratulate Central Region Representative, “Old” Joe (Hash tag) Drummond on being awarded the 2017 USITT Distinguished Achievement Award in Management.  The Award, a lovely plaque, was presented to him by SMA member and Management Commissioner Tina Shackleford at this year’s USITT National Conference and Stage Expo in St. Louis, Missouri.  Joe also received a chocolate cake courtesy of SMA student member Madison Smith, who hails from Capital University.

Joe on the floor of the stage expo in St. Louis, Mar 2017
Joe on the floor of the stage expo in St. Louis, Mar 2017



Joe was a very active participant at USITT this year. He spent a significant amount of time at the Expo in the Stage Managers’ Association booth, at SMA meetings and attended our Social Night Out at Bailey’s Ridge in St. Louis, where a record-breaking 90+ stage managers attended.  He also served as a mentor to a young stage manager throughout the week as a part of the USITT Fellows Early Career Mentoring program.  On Thursday morning, Joe, along with all of the Distinguished Achievement Award winners for 2017, was introduced to the conference and featured in conversation with Board members Kevin Rigdon and Michael Mehler.

Joe recently retired after 42 seasons with the Goodman Theatre in Chicago where he served as ASM, Stage Manager and then Production Stage Manager. He is an institution in Chicago Theatre where he also taught stage management at Roosevelt University for 21 years.  He has been a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association for 45-years.


Joe hung up the stopwatch at the Goodman Theatre with the closing of 2666. This was a production adapted from what the Goodman Theatre artistic director Robert Falls called one of the great novels of the 21st century.  The production, based on a 900-page novel, featured hundreds of characters within the pages of its five parts.  Drummond effectively, and with good humor, helmed this Goodman Theatre Production that required two directors, ran 5 1/2 hours, had three intermissions, a cast of fifteen and a price tag of nearly $1 million.

Previous credits include 133 Goodman productions, among them The Iceman Cometh (also at BAM), Death of a Salesman (also on Broadway in 1999 and at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles), and Glengarry Glen Ross (Chicago and Broadway), plus 12 productions of A Christmas Carol.  He also shared his skills, teaching at Roosevelt University for 21 years.


A very proactive member of the Chicago theatre community, Joe has, for a number of years served as the regional representative for the national Stage Managers’ Association.  In that capacity, he has organized numerous gathering for the Kick Ass Chicago Stage Managers group. We know him as a resource for newcomers to the Chicago theatre scene and last year, he, along with fellow Chicagoan Barbara Butts, were responsible for a very successful View from the Wings, Chicago that drew stage managers, pros and students, throughout the region, to a sold-out event that was held in conjunction with the SMA and Steppenwolf theatre. He and Butts are in the process of planning their second conference, to be held in the fall of 2017.


Joe received a Chicago Joseph Jefferson Award for Lifetime Achievement after 25 years of stage management at the Goodman.

In December 2011, Drummond received the Del Hughes Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Stage Managers’ Association.

Upon his retirement from the Goodman, the Chicago theatre community selected Joe to receive the Corona Award.  The Corona Award honors an individual who has played an important role in supporting and nurturing the growth of the Chicago theater community as well as small to medium-sized ensembles. Past Corona Award Recipients include Chicago casting director Jane Alderman, Timeline Theatre Managing Director Elizabeth K. Auman, Former Steppenwolf Associate Artistic Director Erica Daniels, Goodman Theatre Associate Producer Steve Scott, Goodman Theatre Resident Director Chuck Smith, League of Chicago Theatres Executive Director Deb Clapp, and Mary-Arrchie Artistic Director Richard Cotovsky.



A family man, Joe has always paid great attention to work-life balance (even before it was a buzz word), planning annual family vacations, anniversary trips with his wife and most recently taking on the role as father-in-law with the marriage of his oldest son. (pictured here is Joe and his wife Sarah)


Robert Falls (Goodman’s Artistic Director since 1986) says, “Joe has been an invaluable asset to the Goodman for many decades. His undeniable talent and unique charm improved the day-to-day lives of our staff and left an indelible mark on the hundreds of artists who had the pleasure of sharing a project with him and the thousands of audience members who witnessed the magic he helped bring to life on stage. Joe defines the term “one of a kind,” and anyone who has worked with him knows exactly what I mean by that.”

Phil Vettel wrote of Drummond in a 1987 Chicago Tribune article about the Goodman’s A Christmas Carol, “… as dress rehearsal begins, Drummond is the busiest man on stage even though his feet rarely move.”

Joe is truly an artist.  His commitment to the art of stage managing was evident when he was doing Cyrano with director, Michael Maggio.  In that production, there was a very complicated fight scene.  Michael enjoyed Joe’s cue-calling on that particular bit so much that he delighted in being on headset just to hear him call it.


As for Joe, he’s “grateful to Roche Schulfer and Bob Falls for the opportunity to hone my stage management skills along side so many talented staff members and artists.”

In an article about Stage Managers published by Backstage magazine in 2001 Joe opines, “You have to want to do this because you just plain want to.  Your satisfaction comes from seeing the production turn out well.”

Drummond observes, “When I became involved with the theatre professionally in the ’60s, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a stage manager who was responsible for the running of a show. I don’t think stage managers were even mentioned during the two years I spent in acting school.  Now many university theatre departments offer majors in this area.”

His very best advice to stage managers?   “Always carry a fork; you never know when you might encounter a chocolate cake.”





Welcome (belatedly) Joel Veenstra to the Board of the SMA



January 2017

The Board of the Stage Managers Association welcomes to the board, – new recording secretary, Joel Veenstra.


Joel, who joined us in late 2016,  is a professional stage manager, production manager, and improviser. As an AEA stage manager, he has coordinated collaborations with renowned regional theaters including Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Pasadena Playhouse, and Richard & Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center. He also stage manages large scale galas including the Legacy Awards honoring Tom Hanks and Lisa Cholodenko, the California Science Center’s Discovery Ball featuring the Space Shuttle Endeavor, and the Detroit Party featuring Keegan Michael-Key. Joel teaches stage management, collaborative production, and improvisation at the University of California, Irvine.

Veenstra replaces the outgoing recording secretary Joshua T. Hardwick who left us to take on new responsibilities in Seattle.  Joshua served the board for a number of years as both West Coast Rep and more recently, as Secretary.  We wish Joshua the best of luck in his endeavors.

New East Coast Rep joins the SMA: Anthony Bullock


anthony bullock

Please join us in welcoming Anthony O. Bullock of Washington DC to the SMA Board.


Anthony O. Bullock is originally from Oklahoma where he went to Oklahoma City University and holds a BFA in Theatrical Design and Production with an emphasis in Stage Management. After leaving Oklahoma he has worked regionally over the east coast most notably at McCarter Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Shakespeare & Company, The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, Passage Theatre Company, Bristol Riverside Theatre, Arena Stage, Center Stage, Studio Theatre, and in NYC at Classic Stage Company. He was honored to also be apart of The WuZhen Theatre Festival in China with Mary Zimmerman’s The White Snake, traveling with The Goodman Theatre. You can find an article he wrote about his experiences in China on the SMA website. He currently lives in Washington, D.C. with his lovable dog Cooper. He is looking forward to representing the SMA in the eastern region.

Anthony replaces the outgoing East Coast Rep, Tina Shackleford.  New USITT and job responsibilities will keep Tina too busy to serve on the board but she promises to keep getting members together in the Pittsburgh area.

Big Wish Comes True with “The Lion King”

Zeke with his mother and Matt Shiner

My sister, Julie Johnson, works for some very special clients. One night she called to ask, “Do you know anyone who works with The Lion King?”  It turns out that she had been in communication with a family from Ohio whose young son, Zeke, had a BIG WISH: to be able to go and see The Lion King.

I thought of Zoya Kachadurian, a stage manager who had sent me a “headshot shot” taken backstage at The Lion King I emailed her and she sent me contact information for the tour stage manager, Matt Shiner. It just so happened that the tour was going to be performing very nearby where Zeke and his family lived so I put the two in touch and frankly, I forgot about it: in this business it is just what you do.

A couple of months later, my sister called a second time. Matt had contacted Zeke and made arrangements with him to attend the show.  Zeke has a condition that makes necessary special accommodations for him to attend this sort of public experience but Matt was on it; he met the family before the show, gave Zeke a sort of a preview of what he was going to experience and gave Zeke his biggest wish.

I received this note written by Julie and photos from the family:

Zeke with his mother

This was a fantastic experience and we could not thank you enough for introducing us to this wonderfully accommodating man!

Zeke has wanted to do something like this for a very long time – really his dream! With his challenges related to his disability, the over stimulation issues; any change in a routine schedule can be very difficult for him to overcome.  He needs to prepare and be made comfortable with any change to allow him to participate without a great deal of anxiety.  The way he was treated, helped to transition and know what was coming was an amazing experience that we have not had before. We were not only amazed by what a wonderful person he is (Matt Shiner) but the show was incredible.  This was a life moment that will never be forgotten.

Thank you to everyone who helped to make this happen created an amazing memory for Zeke and our family that we would have never had without you.

Zeke with his father

This is the truth about show folks. A person in Minnesota finds out someone in Ohio needs help, people from NYC make it possible. There is no folk like show folk, they are some of the best people in the world, willing to share the great fortune we have to work in this special business.  Thank you to Matt, to the Company of The Lion King and to Zoya for making this possible.

October 10, 2016 is International Stage Management Appreciation Day!!!


16-sm-dayIn 2013, October 10th was declared International Stage Management Appreciation Day. It was started by the Stage Management Association UK and then caught on around the world – USA, Australia, Europe, Japan, and so on. All over social media – Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram , Flickr – you name it, there have been countless numbers of postings from around the world of stage managers showing how they celebrated one another, the profession, and the day. Click here to see how the day was celebrated in 2015 – scroll down and you will see some familiar SMA faces.

As we continue to celebrate this year, the SMA has created a telegram service for anyone to use that wishes to send love and appreciation to a Stage Manager. Click on the button below and it will take you to a page to fill out the recipient’s email address and a note that you want to include. And throughout the day, bombard social media with pictures of you, your book, booth, SM team, blogs about your work, bake some goodies for your fellow stage managers, thank your AEA Rep, write an article for the SMA website and share your photos with us, anything that you can think of – share with the world about how you are celebrating this day and please use the tag #StageMgrs16 to spread the word.

Happy Stage Management Day! You are awesome and amazing! Cheers to you all!


The New SMA Website!


Dear Members,

For the past several months, the board of the SMA was been working with PTG Systems (software developers from Ohio) to bring to you more functionality with the programs we have promised you.  In a few short days, we will launch a re-design of the website that will provide much of that functionality.  With the new site you will have among other benefits:

  • Improved and searchable profiles
  • Searchable job database
  • Collaborative Connections: a new mentoring program for all
  • Document Library: paperwork templates to help give you ideas to formulate your own paperwork
  • Discussion Groups
  • Gift a membership
  • A new feature for current members is auto-renewal. The next time your membership is about to expire and you go in to renew it, make sure to click the option to setup automatic renewals before you check out. You can always go back in to opt out in the Membership Account area if you change your mind.

Plus, there are links to our two fall conferences in Las Vegas and New York.

What do we need for you to do as of the “go live” date?

On this Sunday, October 2, 2016:

  • Go to http://stagemanagers.org
  • Click the Log In link at the top right
  • On the SMA Member login page, click the lost your password link to reset your password. Enter your username or email address and click Reset my Password.
  • This will send an email to reset your password. Click the link, enter your new password and click Change my Password. You should now be able to log in.
  • After you log in, please click on the My Profile link at the top of the page to view your profile. Please review all information carried over from the old site.
  • If you wish to change any profile information, click the purple gear on the right side of the page, and click Edit Profile.  Make sure to click the Update profile button that’s at the bottom of the page to save your changes.
  • Make sure you have checked all of the boxes, or unchecked those on your profile, which indicate the notices you would like to receive.
  • All phone numbers were made private, so if you wish any to be visible to members, please uncheck the “Keep this number private” box.
  • All professional members will receive voting information, invitations to membership meeting and important notices from the board.

When you have completed the formalities, please take our new site for a test drive – check out all of the features and if you have some thoughts, click the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of the page, fill out the information, click “send” and an email will be sent to the SMA. We know that some things will need to be adjusted, and even through a month of testing, members may need assistance or have questions.

We want to hear from you.

Then, tell your friends, your colleagues, your students, THIS is the year to join the SMA.

Shadowing “Finding Neverland”


finding-neverlandThe following piece is written by SMA member Michael Ghysels who had the wonderful opportunity of observing Matthew Stern call the production of “Finding Neverland” on Broadway.

I have been an SMA member for a year and I’ll say it until the cows come home, no organization has helped me or been more beneficial as a young stage manager. As a member, the networking is endless and there are opportunities you can’t get anywhere else. Case in point, Matthew Stern was gracious enough to let me shadow him at “Finding Neverland”. I first met him at the Holiday party last year and since my colleague shadowed him last year, I jumped at the opportunity and asked him. I felt shadowing a Broadway stage manager was exactly what I needed at this point in my career. The experience did not disappoint.

I felt blessed to shadow Matt. He has the stamina and the “it” factor a stage manager needs in order to be successful in this business. By that I mean he has a great personality, strong people skills, and all the other skills necessary to be an exceptional stage manager. He was very active during the show and conversed with me a lot instead of sitting silent for two and a half hours. And like any organized stage manager he was prepared for me. The entire crew knew I was coming and there was a chair already set up in the area where he called the show, which was above orchestra left about 25 feet up. He and the SM team welcomed me the second I walked into the Lunt-Fontanne. I got to hang out in the office pre-show with the PSM and other SM.

During the show I took a lot of mental notes. Matt was showing me all the equipment used to call the show. I asked a lot of questions and really studied the four monitors in front of me as Matt called the cues. I took note of his script and how the cues were written, especially cues that required counting in beats for big dance numbers. Since I saw the show last year I was very curious to see how a tech heavy show like “Finding Neverland” is called. I learned it’s not so much how many light cues there are in a big musical number but all the safety precautions a stage manager has to consider as well. This was the case with the finale for Act One. In the number “Stronger” the lead James M. Barrie is provoked by his alter ego which happens to be the inspiration for Captain Hook. Act One ends in the discovery that Peter Pan is about to take off. So there is a pirate ship that has to be presented on stage. I learned that confirming with the backstage crew that the mast set piece is ready to be lifted (can’t call the cue until they are ready), wait until all clear and confirm with the fly master to bring in the drape for the mainsail is key to pull off a number like this successfully.

Another moment I thought was done differently when watching from the audience was near the finale where (SPOILER ALERT) the mother dies. The company is singing this beautiful song and she is lifted up in the air, but there are magical sparkles flying around her. How they actually did it is that there is a circle of fans center stage coming from the orchestra pit and the actress who plays Peter Pan in the play (and starts the show) throws this glitter material at Laura Michelle Kelly (who plays the mother) and the fans go on. The moment is the show is very emotional and watching this from behind the scenes was even more powerful.

I know other Broadway stage managers, whom I’ve asked to shadow them and they have declined due to reasons like I’m not a student anymore. You’d be hard pressed to find another organization for stage managers who are more willing to provide someone with the experience described above. This is one of the many benefits of being an SMA member. The SMA really cares about their members with the intention to open the gates for young stage managers.