A look from behind the curtain
A message from our Event Manager
My favorite view of a performance is from backstage. As the Event Manager for Anchorage Concert Association, I get to see artists walk into the theatre all bundled up in coats and hats and scarves with jeans and t-shirts underneath. They look just like everyone else. They come onstage, do their sound check, get used to the space, and then go back to their hotels, rejoining us before the curtain rises. We watch them transform into beautiful creatures filled with talents that are born out under the hot lights.
You see the artists from the front. I see them from the side.
I don’t have the best view or the best sound, but I get to see the artists’ butterflies and uncertainty before they walk into the light and the joy in their faces as they exit the stage while the audience roars for more.
Event Manager Kathryn Easley gives a backstage tour of the Atwood Concert Hall.
I am in love with the magic of theatre. I caught the theatre bug at the age of 5 when my parents performed in Seward’s Follies. I remember watching my dad put on his stage makeup in the bowels of West High’s auditorium. It seemed so weird and wonderful. Later when I actually attended West High, I snuck in on lunch hours to watch the local stagehands load in Anchorage Concert Association productions. What the crews were doing was so intriguing: hanging lights, laying dance floor, constructing sets, everyone yelling over everyone else trying to get everything done at once. Eventually chaos would turn into order and it would culminate into a performance. (I snuck in and saw pieces of those, too.) I was hooked.
I imagine there are many influences in your life that brought you to love the performing arts. For me, rather than perform or attend shows, I happily worked as a technician behind the scenes. Eventually, I transitioned to an administration position with Anchorage Concert Association, supporting some of the same productions I used to put together backstage.
Puppeteer and actor Nic Olsen gets ready to be Audrey II in Little Shop of Horros in 2018. Image by Kerry Tasker
I could tell you how the Phantom disappears in the masquerade scene. I could tell you some of the secrets of the top magicians (I won’t, but I could). I could tell you lots of stories about the things that go wrong in live theatre. Some of them you saw happening right in front of your eyes, like set pieces getting caught up on curtains or having an avalanche of snow land onstage instead of a light sprinkling in the Nutcracker snow scene.
I get to see how the magic works or doesn’t as the case may sometimes be.
Sometimes my job allows me to share the behind-the-scenes mysteries with you when I give backstage tours. I love to explain how things work. How things are put together, how the processes have changed over the years with technology, and how they have stayed the same.
I have so much fun working with an amazing staff that loves the arts just as much as I do. They are irreverent and creative and bring so much life experience to Anchorage Concerts. Many of them come from performance and tech backgrounds as well.
I also have the privilege of working with the many volunteers who help support our organization in multitudes of ways. The heartfelt work of the volunteers makes what we do possible. Best of all, I still get to interact with the crews and the artists. I still get to see how the magic is made and I love to share it with anyone who will listen.
I am looking forward to the time we all get to experience the arts live and in person. In the meantime, Anchorage Concert Association will still be here finding creative new ways to bring the arts to your world, whether it be digitally or in a manner we have yet to conceive.
Anchorage Concert Association
HOW DO WE BRING BROADWAY TO ALASKA?
Look at that amazing crew and all the equipment it takes to put on a show! TOTE Maritime Alaska made this video to showcase some of what it takes to present musicals onstage.