Individuals who enact characters or situations other than their own, using as the materials of the art, their own body and voice. The term “actor” applies to both women and men.
165 West 46 Street, New York, New York 10036. Founded in 1912, this organization serves as a labor union for professional actors.
To improvise words and actions.
Stage area (forestage) in front of the main curtain or proscenium arch.
The all-purpose technical assistant to the Stage Manager.
Tryout for a performer seeking a role in a theatre production. The process may included interviews, cold readings from the script, the presentation of a prepared piece, improvisations, or any combination of these.
Patrons who do not have a personal relationship with the cast
Large sheet of painted canvas or muslin that hangs at the back of a set.
Light coming from upstage of an actor.
Stage area beyond the acting area, including the dressing rooms.
Second tier of seating.
Long iron pipe that stretches across the stage and upon which scenery or drops are hung.
Flexible room for theater performances where the audience seating and playing areas can be rearranged in any way that suits the needs of the individual production.
A fast darkening of the stage
A black drop.
The movement of the actors onstage.
Rehearsal emphasis placed on stage movement, which is either overseen or dictated by the director.
A saying for actors before they go out on stage, meaning “good luck”. Coined from the idea that audiences will clap so loud that the legs in the theater will break.
That area of New York City on and adjacent to the street named Broadway where the commercial theater of the United States is concentrated. Broadway houses in NY are 300+ Seats capacity.
1) Announcement to performers or crews that they are needed for a rehearsal or performance; 2) Warning to performers to get ready for an entrance.
Are the times at which each individual actor is expected to be at the theater. Call times vary based on the amount of time required to make-up the actor and may be staggered among smaller roles to allow for sharing of dressing room space, and/or make up artists.
Place in a theatre where company rules, announcements, notes, and messages are posted.
The process of calling out the lighting, sound, and scene-change cues during a performance; usually done by the stage manager over a headset.
Difficult task of matching the actors who auditioned for the production with the roles in the play or musical.
Narrow platform suspended above the stage to permit ready access to the ropes, the lights, and the scenery hung from the grid.
An imaginary line down the center of the stage, from upstage to downstage.
Is the practice of turning one’s body towards the audience even while keeping the head facing one’s scene partner. Cheating is usually necessary for the audience to really see the actors and view the scene.
The last night of a show.
Reading from a script or other text without any prior rehearsal, usually in the context of an audition or workshop.
The list of addresses and phone numbers used to keep track of everybody’s whereabouts during the production period.
The meeting where costume personnel measure actors and test-fit their costumes.
The person who researches the costumes, decides which styles and fabrics to use, and then draws or paints the costumes in renderings.
An event held in the theatre where each actor walks onstage wearing his or her costumes, one at a time. Designed to show the costumes to the director.
Device for balancing the weight of scenery, allowing it to be easily lowered or raised above the stage by means of ropes or wires and pulleys.
Also called bricks or pig iron; the slabs of iron that are loaded into a counter weight system to offset the weight of the scenery.
Move from one point on the stage to another.
A passageway that leads from one side of the stage to the other, out of view of the audience.
Signal (line, piece of business) to an actor or stage technician that the next line or stage function is to occur.
Runs through each of the cues to check for errors.
Bowing and receiving the audience’s applause at the end of the show.
Imaginary line at which the act curtain meets the floor.
White or blue tautly stretched canvas drop or plaster dome across the back wall of the stage which when lit simulates the sky.
Scenery or lighting that is hanging in the air and not designed to be moved during the performance, as opposed to “flying” scenery or lighting that is designed to be moved up and down.
The stage floor, or a temporary floor that has been built on top of the permanent floor.
(Scenic, special effects, sound, costume, makeup) Architects of a production; they provide the practical and artistic environment for a play or musical.
In modern theatre, the major interpretive figure, the artistic visionary whose job it is to bring to life the playwright’s script. The director’s primary objective is to provide artistic meaning to the theatre experience. The director might have a number of professional assistants to work with him/her: casting director, movement coach, speech consultant (vocal coach). In musicals, the music director and the choreographer are also major interpretive figures.
The part of the stage closest to the audience as you face the audience from the Stage.
Is a theatrical scholar. During production a dramaturge is responsible for historical accuracy, and conforming to the vision of the absent, or deceased, playwright.
The person who assists actors with their costumes before, during, and after a performance.
A space for performers to hang costumes, put on makeup, and otherwise prepare for their show.
Point in the rehearsal period at which some directors require that all costumes be ready to be seen, often a specific rehearsal during which actors don their costumes and appear on the stage for consideration by the director, the costume designer, and others of the artistic leadership.
Final rehearsal in which all visual elements of production, including costumes, are used.
A flat piece of fabric, generally painted, that forms part of the scenery.
Extended rehearsal, devoted to setting (and, if time allows, practicing) the various technical elements of the production (lighting, sound, flying, set changes, trapping, and so on).
Sense of “family” unity developed by a group of performers during the course of a play; the willingness of actors to subordinate themselves to the production as a whole.
1) Orchestral opening to the second act of a musical; 2) A dance, musical number or interlude performed between the acts of a play.
1) Entering the stage; 2) Opening in the set that is used for entering.
Any staircase out of the audience’s view that is used to help actors get off the set.
1) Leaving the stage; 2) Opening in the set that is used for leaving.
The seat in the auditorium that, by the nature of its location, has the best view of back stage; used to determine masking requirements.
A portal that sits in front of or inside the real proscenium, giving the set its own “picture frame”.
First specially treated curtain hung immediately behind the proscenium; usually held by a fused link which will separate automatically in case of fire and lower the curtain.
The most downstage electric.
Frame constructed of 1-by-3 boards, covered with canvas, painted, and used most often for interior or exterior walls of a building in a stage setting.
Line drawing of a stage set as seen from above showing the placement on the stage floor of the scenic elements.
Being raised up in the air; to “fly” a piece of scenery is to raise it up using ropes or cables. People may also be flown, but only by trained professionals using special equipment.
Space above the stage where scenery may be lifted out of sight of the audience.
The person who operates the flying system.
Anything in the audience; commonly used to describe staff such as ushers; also lighting positions, parking, and concessions.
Any light that is coming from downstage of an actor.
Performer has his/her back to the audience.
Performer is facing the audience.
Color medium used to change the color in a stage lighting instrument.
A light left on the stage overnight and/or when the stage is not in use for safety.
The magic word; the universal way to tell someone to do their thing.
Metal cutout that creates a simple pattern when placed on the aperture of an ellipsoidal reflector spotlight.
The main curtain; aka, the main rag.
Traditional name of the room in which actors gather to wait for entrances.
Framework of steel affixed to the stage ceiling, used to support rigging necessary for flying scenery.
A low, horizontal piece of scenery designed to hide lighting instruments on the floor.
The center of a beam of light; the brightest part of the beam.
Rows of seats in which the audience sits to watch a performance.
The left/right side of the auditorium, from the audience’s point of view.
Lights that illuminate the auditorium of a theater.
Full drapery that separates the stage from the audience. This curtain is rigged to move up and down or open from side to side.
The first set of legs behind the proscenium arch.
A break between acts (usually first and second, but some plays have three or more acts).
When an actor who is “in character” makes up action or dialog without prior scripting.
An extension cable for stage lighting.
Curtains or flats placed on either side of the stage just upstage of the curtain line. Legs serve to mask the wings from the view of the audience and vary the width of the playing area.
Text of an opera or musical.
The instructions that tell the lighting operators what to do and when to do it.
In the theatre, the person who decides where the lighting instruments should go, how they should be colored, and which ones should be on at any particular time.
A place where you can unload scenery, costumes, and other items that you are bringing to the theatre.
Where you go to put weight on the arbor in a flying system.
To block another actor, or something worn over the face.
Drapery or flats used to frame the stage, and stop the audience from seeing the backstage areas.
The person in charge of all the carpenters.
The person in charge of all the electricians.
Lower section of the second tier of seating.
An extended set of lines spoken by one person either directly addressing the audience (as in a soliloquy) or another character (a speech).
Smaller professional theaters (with a capacity of less than 299 seats) around and outside the central New York theater district on Broadway and around Times Square. Originally noted for their experimental nature, these theaters have become for the most part, as commercial as their Broadway counterparts.
Very small professional theaters with a capacity of under 99 seats, often subsidized, which are often set up in lofts, warehouses, or churches and are usually characterized by their experimental scripts and styles of productions.
Areas of the stage not in view of the audience.
Unable (or able) to perform a scene without looking at a script; the stage manager following along in the script during rehearsal is also said to be “on book”.
Main floor seating area of the auditorium.
Where the musicians play, usually directly in front of the stage, often sunken below the seating sections.
Orchestral beginning of a musical, opera, or play.
Informal sessions scheduled with the set, lighting, and sound designers to discuss specific cues and desired effects.
Area immediately below the stage which is usually lower than the auditorium level; used primarily by the stage orchestra.
The amount of room available onstage for the performance; does not include wing space, storage, or any part of the stage that is not visible to the audience.
Person who writes or adapts properties known as play.
Rehearsal that concentrates on pacing: the perfection of timing (the overall rate and speed in handling lines and business) and tempo (the rhythm) of a production.
The archway formed by two legs and a border.
Able to be operated, like a window or a faucet; also used to describe a “real” lamp or other lighting fixture on a set.
Practical visionary of a theater company (like a chairman of the board or president of a corporation) whose primary responsibility is to secure rights to the script, establish the budget for the production, raise money, lease an appropriate theater space, and draw together the artistic leadership. Working with the producer is a legal counselor and an accountant.
The time period before actors have begun rehearsal and before the shops have begun to build the show.
Used to describe the position of a prop at the beginning of a performance
Special performance aimed at helping the director to judge the response of the audience once the play is open to the public. Usually, audience members are especially invited to preview performances, however, some commercial theaters attract preview audiences with reduced admissions.
The time period during which the actors are rehearsing and the shops are building the show.
The person in charge of the technical side of the production.
A meeting of production staff to discuss items of mutual interest.
The person who selects, designs, and finds the props.
Article or object that is carried by performers or is used on the set.
The table backstage where handheld props are put when they are not being used onstage.
Wall forming a picturing frame separating the stage from the auditorium.
A stage that is slanted, either to increase visibility or to produce false perspective.
Cast reads through the play to clarify meaning and pronunciations and to gain greater insight into character development and interpretation.
Also called resident theatre. A term applied to permanent nonprofit professional theatre companies that have established roots outside the major theatre centers. Besides bringing first-rate theatre to their region, they often have programs to nurture local talent and to encourage new plays of special regional interest.
Practice of the play.
Perspective drawing of the stage set.
Set group of productions that a theatre company has prepared for performance; also, the practice of alternating performances of different plays of the repertory.
Payments made to authors (and their representatives) for permission to reproduce, in text or in performance, their artistic products (plays, designs, etc.)
The number of performance for a particular show.
All the skilled employees who run the show including flyman, production electrician, production soundman, production propertyman, wardrobe supervisor, wig master, union stagehands, etc.
Rehearsal in which the actors perform long sections of the play (an act or the entire play) without interruption, usually to improve the sense of continuity and to gain a better understanding of the shape of the whole.
A list of scenes showing which characters are in which scenes.
Where scenery is constructed.
A person who applies paint and other forms of decoration to scenery.
A net or gauze curtain, drop, or set that appears opaque when lighted from the front but becomes transparent when lighted from behind.
Dialogue, lyrics, and stage directions of a musical or play.
Decorations that have no function on a set, but are merely placed there to look good.
Imaginary lines from seats at the sides of the house and top of the balcony to the stage to determine what parts of the acting area will be visible to audience members sitting in those seats.
A list of performers and crew that lives on the callboard; cast and crew should check off their name when they arrive.
When the number of tickets sold for a performance is equal to or greater than the number of available seats.
A monologue spoken by a character to him or herself or the audience to reveal his or her thoughts.
The person who operates the sound system during a performance.
A lighting instrument that is used to light a single, isolated person or thing.
To mark the stage floor with chalk or tape to indicate the position of furniture, properties, or scenery so that they will be placed correctly during scene shifts.
Colored tape that is used to mark (or “spike”) scenery positions onstage.
See Standing Room Only.
In the script of a play, any instruction for the actors, or setting, or character description.
The side of the stage on the left when facing the audience.
The side of the stage on the right when facing the audience.
At the end of a performance, when the audience stands and claps, a higher form of praise than normal applause.
A space where people can stand to watch a performance, especially if all the seats are filled. Most New York houses count standing room tickets in their house counts.
Admittance to a performance after all of the seats are filled which requires people to stand to watch.
Theater space where banks of seating face each other and design elements are simulated on end walls.
The crew that works backstage during the show, shifting the scenery.
The left/right side of the stage, from the actor’s perspective.
Member of the artistic leadership of a theatre company who accepts full responsibility for the integrity of a production once it is open to the public. The stage manager normally “calls the show” (i.e., gives commands to execute all cues during performance) and accepts responsibility for maintaining the artistic integrity of the production throughout the duration of its run.
Scenery that is stored and used for many different productions, e.g., flats and platforms.
In two words, to remove; in rehearsal, perhaps a prop, like a glass or a chair; after a production, the entire set and all the properties from the stage area.
Theatrical productions of stock companies presented during the summer.
A vertical drape just inside the proscenium that masks performers in the wings; also a term meaning to pull a drape aside.
A horizontal drape across the stage.
The world of this type of acting, or the world of acting in general; the art itself.
Any theatre where the audience is seated on every side of the stage.
The person who figures out how the set will be built and then oversees construction.
Rehearsal for perfecting the technical elements of a show, such as the scene and property shifts, lighting, sound, and special effects.
Actor; after Thespis, the first Greek dramatist.
Wraparound theater space where the stage extends out into the audience and the spectators view the action from three sides.
Small cotton lines used to attach drapes and drops to battens.
Flats or drapes at the sides of the proscenium arch that may be used to alter the with of the stage opening.
Opening in the stage floor, normally covered, which can be used for special effects, such as having scenery or performers rise from below, or which permits the construction of a staircase which ostensibly leads to a lower floor or cellar.
A horizontally drawn curtain.
The heights of flying scenery and masking.
Performer in the show who studies another role and is prepared to substitute in case of emergency.
Uses flats, screens, curtains, platforms, and stairs that can be rearranged to change locales.
Light that comes from underneath a performer, either from footlights or through a grated or Plexiglas stage floor.
Area on the stage area farthest away from the audience. The term dates back to the days when the stage was raked away from the audience so that actors had to literally walk upstage.
To cross deliberately to a place upstage of another actor and assume a full front or one-quarter position, thereby forcing the other performer to turn to a three-quarter position in order to talk with the upstager.
A small drapery that runs across the tops of the grand drape, hiding the hardware that suspends it.
The trait of seeming truthful or appearing to be real, from the Latin veri similis, “like the truth.”
Costumes, or the people responsible for them.
Offstage areas right and left stage.
The amount of space on the stage that is not visible to the audience.
Lights use solely for illuminating the stage when it is not being watched by an audience, as at rehearsals and when scenery is being shifted.