UPDATED 320 An Open Letter to a Newsies on Broadway Stagehand

Dear Newsies Stagehand Wearing the New York Rangers Jersey,

I applaud your effort during the Sunday evening show on 2/16/2014. Technically you put up a flawless show with smooth transitions. You are the true unsung hero of Broadway, working behind the scenes to make the magic happen. However, let’s talk about your work clothes.

Before the end of act one, you were standing in the wings stage right fully visible to the audience, paging a curtain while wearing khakis and a New York Rangers jersey. My family and I sat in the back of the balcony and saw you plain as day as the scene was in progress. Actors were singing and dancing, and there you stood, jersey and all. I am not certain of your dress code, but it seems problematic to be seen by the audience in a Rangers jersey.

Working on a long run is grueling, but the audience who pays your salary are the ones who suffer. You owe them a professional show, not some shout out to the Rangers during act one. People are paying upwards of $325 a seat to see Newsies, and they deserve better. Hell, the people in the cheap seats deserve better. It’s Broadway!! The audience had a choice and they chose you, so reward them for that.

My rant may seem silly, but I worry about the future of our profession. If we want to stay valid and attract patrons, we have to give 100% every night. Giving the audience anything less cheapens their experience and our profession.


Actor and Hockey Lover

p.s. Go Pens!


As I looked at my stats today, I see that my post had a great deal of views. I received some great comments stating that there is not a dress code for stagehands, and if they they’re required to wear something specific (like blacks or a costume) they’re provided by or paid for by the producer, and probably a bunch of other contract stuff I am not privy to.

In this certain situation, I can’t fully say why the stage hand dressed as he was, and indeed, it might not his fault as it could be union/producer issue. I respect the work of stagehands, as it couldn’t be done without them.

The real purpose of my post was to start a discussion, so thanks to those who commented on FB and on wordpress. It’s the business we work or have worked in, so let’s challenge it! Let’s strive to make it better!



4 thoughts on “UPDATED 320 An Open Letter to a Newsies on Broadway Stagehand

  1. I worked in NY theatre for a dozen years and never saw a union stagehand wearing blacks ever. Casual workwear, as you describe, was and continues to be professional clothing for stagehands in most settings (unless the crew is intended to be visible, where they are provided with appropriate work “costume”). However, they should know better than to stand in sight of the audience.

  2. Their union contract actually requires an additional pay for wearing blacks or a costume. Most producers cannot afford these additional fees for each performance and therefor accept this “uniform” instead. This actually keeps their ticket prices “low.” I am not agreeing with that, just sharing some information.

  3. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I was doing some online research last night and came upon this thread which had similar comments. How complicated it all becomes!

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