2013 Alumna Madison DeCoske Lands Stage-Management Roles on Broadway's Sylvia, Wicked Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Meet Madison DeCoske
Job title: Sub Assistant Stage Manager
Broadway productions: Sylvia (September 2015-January 2016) and Wicked (February 2016-present)
Degree earned at Point Park: B.F.A. in Theatre Production, 2013
Scholarships from Point Park: Artistic Achievement and Dean's Academic Scholarships
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa.
High school: Baldwin High School
Now living in: New York, N.Y.
DeCoske reviews Sylvia show reports
What's it like working on Broadway?
Sylvia was my Broadway debut! I felt completely prepared, overwhelmed with excitement and nervous. It's hard to describe what it feels like when your dreams come true! It was such an amazing honor to work with such lovely, talented and generous artists.
Landing Wicked was an even more surreal feeling. Being offered the "holy grail" of theatre jobs was a total surprise. I still get the chills when I'm running around backstage.
What are your key job responsibilities?
There's a lot that goes into stage-managing a Broadway show. During rehearsals, I am on book, changing set pieces, setting and tracking props, running errands and constantly updating paperwork for our crew.
The responsibilities shift as we get closer to tech. I teach the crew when props need to be handed off and tracked to the opposite sides of the stage, help the actors navigate a safe path backstage, while also helping the crew learn a rhythm for their running tracks. We are responsible for making sure that everything is happening when it should be. We are the captains of a giant, giant ship.
DeCoske with President and Mrs. Hennigan
Tell us about meeting with President and Mrs. Hennigan after they saw Sylvia?
It was such an honor to have President and Mrs. Hennigan attend Sylvia. I was very fortunate to get to know them during my college career because of my apprenticeship with Beverly Weber at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. I was so proud to give them a tour backstage and share how much my education at Point Park led me to this position.
How did your Point Park experience prepare you for your career?
Point Park taught me so much. Not only did I get a fantastic foundation in stage-management from the great Kim Martin, but I learned the basic designing in set, sound, lighting and costumes, how to apply stage makeup and wire a lighting instrument. I also earned a musical theatre minor, which has allowed me to bridge both worlds and ultimately make me a better stage manager because I personally understand the needs of a performer. Point Park is such a major part of who I am today.
What other career opportunities have you had since graduating from Point Park?
I spent four summers at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Conn., as the production stage-manager for the Cabaret & Performance Conference, this year marking my fifth anniversary. I've also collaborated on workshops with Steve Martin, Jimmy Buffet, Greg Garcia, Mike O'Malley, Tommy Tune, Shirley Jones, Robert Morse, Donna McKechnie, Christopher Gattelli, among others.
What excites you most about your job?
It's such a rush when things go wrong (it may sound crazy). We are expected to produce the same two-hour show, eight times a week. It sometimes becomes very monotonous. When an actor ad-libs lines, a costume piece goes missing or a prop breaks, that's when you get to jump into action.
What's your advice to students?
I encourage students to take advantage of each and every opportunity that comes their way, network, stay positive and be humble. Always remember to have a positive attitude and work hard.