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Gig&Tell: Stages St. Louis

  • Love the area    
    02/13/2014  8:57pm

    Lots to do- City Museum, Arch, Beale on Broadway has some incredible singers/nightlife, not to mention the Muny and other great theatre companies nearby and the best restaurants. This company pays well, their shows sell out, and the gym membership cannot be beat. What other company can give you a gym membership that has it's own water-park attached to it and full basketball court and indoor running track? My experience was a good time.

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! Great staff, great direction, housing and production value. Only downside is the Reim Theater is a little rough backstage-principals share 2 tiny dressing rooms and chorus is in the basement. Great gym/country club membership and shared cars. Would work there again in a heartbeat.

    03/22/2014  9:33am

    What a wonderful place to work! Incredibly professional production staff - like one big family. They really take care of you. Amazing donors and other staff members that care deeply about the theatre and arts in general. The company also is big on theatre and arts education and has many great programs for kids and students. They really are about the love and power of theatre. Fantastic, top-notch productions with incredible casts full of people with numerous Broadway credits. Lovely housing, gym/pool membership (as has already been stated), plus St. Louis is such an awesome city to spend some time in! If you ever get a chance to work here, I really cannot recommend it enough :)

    08/07/2014  5:49pm

    Alright, this is going to be a looooong post, so I'll sum it up in this first paragraph for those who don't want to read all of the horror stories: The nuts and bolts of Stages are fine...they cast great people, the production values are solid, housing is good, etc. (Not mentioned above: there is no orchestra. The music is canned...they do as well as you can, but it leaves a lot to be desired.) But the artistic director (who directs most of the shows) is a nut job who treats you like gold if he likes you, and then makes your life hell if he doesn't.

    Some stories from my two seasons there:

    First of all, Michael is hyper obsessive in his direction. He gives each actor every cross, every gesture, every inflection. If your vision of a character or a moment is different than his, it doesn't matter...he will hound you with (very positive, upbeat) notes until you conform to his views. No artistic freedom whatsoever.

    Now for some of the really crazy stuff: One year, their LOA contract stipulated that the theatre needed a unanimous vote from its Equity actors to approve taping the show. One person, for whatever reason, voted against the archival video. Michael went on a warpath...he posted a missive on the call board telling us why he HAS to have the video and saying how hurt he was, he badgered us to tell him who voted no (despite the fact that it's an anonymous vote), and, once the person came forward and told him, he treated her terribly the rest of the contract. He convinced Equity to allow another vote, and this time several people voted no. He was outraged.

    During that same show, one of our leads became very sick and could barely speak. So, time to send on the understudy, right? Nope. Michael is so obsessed with things being the exact way he pictures them that he forced her to go on and had her understudy sing for her while she pantomimed. Seriously. She was so embarrassed and angry after the show that she (rightfully) refused to do it again. He only sent on the understudy when the lead told him that he couldn't even make her come to the theatre for the next show.

    And, saving the worst for last: I did a show there with a very close friend. During our contract, he received a final callback for a Broadway show. The callback was a few weeks away, and he was playing a very small role (and had an understudy), so he decided to ask if he could call out of ONE performance in order to go. Michael didn't just say no...he threatened to petition Equity to have him removed from the union. He told my friend that his agents were manipulating him. He threatened to SUE HIM for breach of contract if he missed that one show. It was an absolute nightmare for my friend, especially because he is a hardworking, professional, and conscientious guy.

    So...I highly recommend skipping out on working here if you value your artistic freedom, the protections of the Union, or just want to go through a contract without fear of becoming a target. But, you know...the gym is great.

    06/05/2015  11:04am

    I agree with everything that the above poster said!

    -No live music. Theater is a joke go the St Louis community because of this. The canned music sounds worse than karaoke. Especially the horns.

    -if you are on the good side, you are showered with gifts and kisses and wonderful treatment. Cross them, or let them think that you cross them, all hell breaks loose, both artistic director and producer turn into 5 year old spoiled brats and threaten the actors within an inch of their lives. Get sick? Need to leave town? Negotiate? Forget it!

    -I lol'd cause Michael DOES choreograph every little pinky move and sway. My first day of rehearsal the cast and I were constantly looking at each other like WTF??????

    Just stay away.

    10/22/2015  11:00am