Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog

Backstage Interview – Stage Management Intern Danielle Vasickanin

Backstage Interview – Stage Management Intern Danielle Vasickanin

This is the first in what will hopefully be a series interviews with the people who work behind the scenes at MRT. Hopefully, this will give you, our audience, insight into who does what at the theatre to make a show happen.

Danielle Vasickanin is one of two stage/company management interns for the 2008-2009 season. As a stage management intern, she works on 3 shows a year (in Danielle’s case The Fantasticks, A View of the Harbor, and the upcoming Bad Dates). When not working on a show, she assists company manager Peter Crewe with artist housing and transportation, among other responsibilities.

Where did you grow up, and when did you decide you wanted to work in theatre?

I grew up in Garfield Heights, Ohio. It is a small suburb bordering Cleveland. I first started participating in theatre through a Youth Theatre program my community ran in the second grade. I enjoyed acting and continued acting in school plays every year in middle school and high school. It wasn’t until after I attended Baldwin-Wallace College and learned about the theatre program, that I decided to change my major to theatre. It had been an area of interest for me for a long time and seemed to be the next logical step for me. After about a year in the theatre program, I realized my talents and skills were better suited for stage management rather than acting, and I made stage management my focus.

How did you find out about MRT, and how did you go about getting your internship?

I usually look for theatre internships and positions on two theatre online search engines. The websites I use are ARTSEARCH, found on the Theatre Communications Group website and However, on occasion I browse the theatre websites that I am interested in. I was looking at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre website and found the information for the Stage Management/Company Management Internship on the website. I submitted my resume to the appropriate person, completed a phone interview and I was offered and accepted the position a few weeks later.

What are your duties as a stage management intern?

As the stage management intern my primary responsibility is to serve as the Assistant Stage Manager for 3 of our 6 productions. My main responsibilities are setting up the rehearsal hall and setting up for every rehearsal, following along with the script to prompt actors during rehearsal, keeping track of and creating the paperwork for the location and movement of all props and scenic pieces during the course of the show, setting up props and scenic pieces backstage, cleaning the stage and backstage areas, communicating with the stage manager during a production to ensure a smooth start and run of a production, and placing and maintaining the props and scenic pieces before and after each performance. My additional responsibilities include attending all the production meetings for my assigned productions and taking meeting notes and any other assigned tasks given to me by the Production Stage Manager.

Do you have a favorite show or memory from your time at MRT?

My favorite production this season thus far has been The Fantasticks. It was the first production of the season and my first production as the stage management intern. The cast of 8 was large compared to the productions of 4 that followed. There was plenty of camaraderie between the cast members, crew members, and orchestra members. Every day was filled with excitement and fun because there were quite a few comedians in the bunch. In addition, it was a terrific learning experience for me to see how to improve my paperwork and organization for the rest of my time here at MRT.

Where will you be off to once your internship is finished at MRT?

My internship here has given me the knowledge and skills to pursue a career in either Stage Management or Company Management. I have been offered and have accepted a position as a Housing and Transportation Intern at Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, NY. The position responsibilities are similar to my responsibilities as a Company Management Intern here. I will be responsible for putting together welcome packets for all of the employees with information about the area and maps so they can navigate the area and learn about where they will be staying when they work at Glimmerglass. I will help create welcome baskets and meet artists at airports and train stations and drive them to Glimmerglass. I will also assist with and help resolve all the housing problems that will arise with the 250 + summer company that will be housed on the property that Glimmerglass owns and leases.

Long-term, what are your career goals?

My long-term career goal is to become an Actors’ Equity Association Stage Manager. In addition, I hope to one day attend graduate school and earn an education degree in theatre. After attending graduate school, I would like to be a College Professor who instructs in stage management, directing, collaborative theory classes, and introductory theatre courses.

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After leaving MRT, Danielle was offered and accepted a position as a Stage Management Intern at The Julliard School of the Arts in New York City for the 2009-2010 season. Congratulations Danielle!

Comment by Nicole Vasickanin

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