The Broadway stage door gives fans the chance to meet their favorite stars in-person, but challenging situations threaten the experience.
What is the Broadway Stage Door and Why Do People Go?
Going to the Broadway stage door after a show is a time-honored tradition of many Broadway fans that allows them to interact with the show’s stars. The stage door is where the Broadway actors leave the theatre and will often sign playbills and take pictures with fans. Many fans, especially at the quieter stage doors, sometimes get the opportunity to have lengthy conversations with their favorite performers about the show and their career. The stage door experience allows fans to meet their favorite Broadway stars. Actors get to hear positive feedback and praise about their performances, but it can become a bit of an ego trip for the star, as critical responses are never found at the stage door. There is a stage located door at all Broadway theatres and many off-Broadway theatres also offer this experience.
Not All Stars Come Out to the Stage Door
Seeing your favorite actor at the stage door is not a sure thing. While many actors do come out and interact with fans, others do not. Some, like Hadestown’s Amber Gray, have young children at home and want to get home as soon as possible so she often skips the stage door. Others are simply too tired and drained after their performances and they just want to get home. Some simply do not enjoy the stage door experience and the interaction with their fans. Dear Evan Hansen’s Ben Platt received backlash online after not going to the stage door, but he was quick to tell fans: “My priority must always be self-care so I can recreate the same quality show each night”. Fans accepted that Platt did not want the strain and hassle of dealing with the crazy fans that his appearance created. If actors do not want to come to the stage door, they usually have another door in the theatre where they can exit to the street without seeing any of the madness that can occur at the stage door. However, many actors still love to come out and talk with their fans, and can be seen spending a great deal of their personal time with their Instagram followers.
Trouble At The Stage Door
The stage door can become a dangerous situation if the fans start to get out of hand. At Kinky Boots, Brendon Urie had to stop going to the stage door because of unruly fans causing trouble. In one case the police had to be called. The problem was that the Kinky Boots stage door was always crowded with both theatregoers and Panic! at the Disco fans. In his music career, Urie encouraged craziness at his concerts, which meant when these people turned up at the Broadway stage door there was going to be trouble. He was often harassed by this group and his Broadway fans were often left bemused by the fracas. Beetlejuice’s Alex Brightman recently received an online death threat urging him not to go to the stage door, forcing the production to cancel the stage door for that day, which left fans disappointed. Hamilton’s Lin Manuel Miranda recounted being chased in his car multiple blocks by frenzied fans looking for autographs and pictures. Even Idina Menzel had trouble with the stage door when she originated the role of Elphaba in Wicked back in 2003. Fans grabbed her when she was getting into her car service and security had to pull them off her, but not before some of her clothing was torn and her face was scratched.
Autograph Hounds Appear More Often at the Broadway Stage Door, Ruining it for Fans
There is an increasing frequency of stage door visitors who bring piles of photos or playbills to be signed and then later attempt to resell them on eBay. This makes actors more hesitant to come outside and sign people’s things at the stage door. The Broadway stage door is sometimes visited by autograph hounds who often hang out at the New York TV studios and are trying their luck with Broadway. The normal Broadway fans are not usually looking to sell an autograph as the stage door is more of a personal experience and the signed playbill is often a prized memento. Some Broadway stars now only sign playbills to attempt to combat the autograph hounds and they will often ask the persons name and wrote it on the Playbill, which means there will be no aftermarket value for this memorabilia.
For advice on how to get the most out of the stage door experience, visit: Top Ten Tips For Attending a Broadway Stage Door.