School of Theatre, Film & Television

In the heart of the Marroney Theatre, the stage is set for an electrifying performance that has captivated audiences and sent shivers down their spines. “Sweeney Todd,” the iconic musical that left its mark on Broadway, is ready for its final weekend of performances, under the meticulous care of stage manager Tiffany Fraser. 

Behind the scenes, amidst the hustle and bustle of rehearsals, technical preparations and opening weekend, Fraser orchestrates every detail to perfection. This production marked not only a milestone in her student career but also a personal journey of growth and discovery. 

“Stage managing ‘Sweeney Todd’ has been a dream come true,” she said. “It’s been a challenge, but it’s also been incredibly rewarding to witness the magic unfold backstage.”

A stage manager is the link between the actors and the tech. They pass information from the rehearsal room to the other departments with notes about props, costumes, scenic, lights, sound, and marketing. They also oversee scheduling and reports, keeping track of actor’s blocking, managing the rehearsal room and performances. Stage managers are also the ones in the booth talking to everyone telling when lights, sounds, orchestra, cast, and crew their cues to go. 

Tiffany’s passion for stage management was ignited by her high school theater teacher, Laura Nardone. 

“She is still my role model.”

From her early days in performance, she found herself drawn to the intricacies of backstage operations, where she discovered her true calling. 

“This production has truly solidified what I want to do with stage management. I was intimidated by this show at first, but I have experienced so much growth and have had so much support throughout the show that it makes me excited about future projects and cannot wait to see what the future holds.” 

She has worked on over 10 productions in her four years at the School of Theatre, Film & Television, serving as stage manager, assistant stage manager, assistant director, assistant props designer, and production stage manager.

But navigating the complexities of “Sweeney Todd” presented its own set of challenges. The cast and crew spend about 25 hours a week in rehearsals in preparation. 

“Working through the challenges is the best part, ‘How do we show Sweeney Todd killing people, but not get blood on the costumes?’ to ‘How do we do scene changes with a stationary set to show that the characters are in different places.’

“The Sweeney Todd Barber chair looks so cool! The working dedication from the technical direction team is so great. In the theater, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day; you have to take a step back and look at the big picture. My staff management team is awesome, and everyone is just so amazing. It feels like you have backstage access to the theater and the magic of it.”

And the new home for theatre magic is the recently renovated Marroney Theatre. 

“Going into the new space was a new, learning curve for a lot of us, but we made it big, excellent, and beautiful going above and beyond. I can see the actors putting so much love, time, and effort into their performance to give it the best they can.” 

As the final weekend is about to begin, Fraser reflects on her capstone project. 

“I find myself beaming during curtain call. I get to see all the people I’ve worked with finally get to come out of their character and just be themselves on stage and enjoy the moment of a well-deserved standing ovation. I get to see my friends whom I’ve worked with for four years and what growth they’ve had through this show finally come alive again after spending two gory hours on Fleet Street. 

“I think that’s the most satisfying part.”