theatre live

How to get more people to see theatre and get it into popular culture= live streams.

Think. Imagine tickets for like 20 pounds and you go to see it live streamed at your local movie theatre/cinema.

They do it with ballets and the live stream tickets SELL OUT within weeks.

(For instance I am going to see the live stream of alice tomorrow. Paid about 25 pounds which is just a quarter the price of a first row seat.)

No hotel or travel fees to new york or London to see your fav production.

No bootlegs or big movie adaption needed.

Just a ticket to watch the same show you’ve loved for years but conveniently priced and placed for non billionaires to see.

Dear Theatre world…I just solved all your problems.

The most basic and the most important task of any technician in both music and theatre production is simply wrapping a cable. It may sound basic, but *how* you wrap a cable can actually determine how long it lasts.  Now, most professional for-profit productions do list cable as “consumables”, meaning that they are designed to be thrown out and purchased or manufactured anew if they develop an issue.  But you will catch hell by any Foreperson, TD or SM for wrapping cable in a way that damages it.

There is a correct technique accepted by both IATSE and Teamsters production houses, and that is called the “Over/Under” technique. Trying to describe it in words is maddening, and even I have a hard time trying to tell someone what has become a reflex to me over 20 years.  But, this video by the London School of Sound perfectly shows the way I learned how to wrap cable.

Now, I know what you are saying if this is a new thing to you, or if you’ve been too embarrassed to ask because some asshole stagehand called you out for not knowing such a “basic” thing (And, if any tech does pull that, they are a bad person and shouldn’t be on the gig, FYI)

“But, WHY?!??! Why do Techs gotta make EVERYTHING so hard and, well, dramatic!!??”

Excellent Question!

It all comes down to how the cable is constructed.  The cable itself is actually made up of various different wires (which is why we don’t call a cable a “wire” on a show, because they technically mean two different things).  The wires in a cable, such as a balanced XLR cable, are actually wrapped around one another, like this:

Now you see that the wires are actually wrapped AROUND one another! This means that the cable, once covered in shielding, it going to want to twist a certain way, because the cable is tensioned around one another (usually counter-clockwise).  This means if you try to wrap it like your extension cord you use for your Christmas lights, it is going to get kinked up, and the wires inside will start binding against one another because by just wrapping it over your arm like a garden hose is going to force those cables to bind and twist in a way that is unnatural. 

In short: You end up forcing them against one another until they simply break.

Yep. Wire itself is just thin bits of copper (anywhere from 22 to 10 gauge thick, with the bigger the number being the thinner the wire), and it doesn’t take much to bend them out. Just like when you shove your earbuds in your pocket without making sure they are coiled up nicely. 

So, when you wrap Over/Under, you are actually alternating the coil of the cable to match the natural way the cable wants to go (this is called the “lay” of the cable). When you get the over/under technique down, you will feel that the cable naturally wants to coil that way, and it takes no effort.  When you wrap a coil just one over the other like a home extension cord, you can feel the cable actually twist and want to fight you.

Also, to know if you got it right, all you have to do is take one end of the cable, and then throw the rest of it out away from your body. If you did it right the cable will FLY out of your hands and land straight and true right on the deck, making you look like a badass stage ninja!

It may take a lot of practice, but eventually you will literally do it in your sleep.  Just like any motor action, it just takes practice! And, you will find that many professional houses still have people who cannot coil cable correctly (these tend to also be the know-it-alls who will give new techs trouble, ironically).  Master fast, accurate cable wrapping and you will save the band or the venue a TON of money in cable costs, and it will make you more attractive too!  Trust me.

I want to be clear: I bear no malice towards any of the winners. Everyone who is nominated, let alone wins, a Tony is a master of their craft. My rage is directed at the incredibly conservative American Theatre Wing who determine the winners, because I feel like they often reward “big names” and safe choices over what might be the best pick in a category. Yes, I have a bias, but I think it’s hard to look at this year’s wins for things like Best Actress and not see a resistance to rewarding women of color (Eva Noblezada, Denée Benton), or the various composing/writing awards and see a skew towards “traditional” theatre.

I have nothing but love for the performers and their talent which FAR surpasses my meager acting and musical ability. But the American Theatre Wing needs to become a little less old, a little less white, and a little more willing to reward productions that take risks.

Just my tuppence.

ultimate q&a for theatre kids

send me a number and I’ll answer the corresponding question!


1. what’s your favorite musical?

2. favorite character in your favorite musical?

3. what’s your favorite play?

4. favorite character in your favorite play?

5. what’s your dream role?

6. what’s a role you’d like to play that you’d never be able to?

7. do you prefer being behind the scenes or in the spotlight?

8. do you like hamilton?

9. have you seen hamilton?

10. how do you feel about hyped up shows like hamilton, les mis, and rent?

11. did you like this year’s tony awards?

12. what award should there be that isn’t?

13. what shows have you been in/helped with?

14. have you ever been paid to act onstage or on camera?

15. do you prefer broadway or west end shows?

16. favorite stage actress?

17. favorite stage actor?

18. favorite show currently or recently running?

19. what’s your dream #ham4ham (even if you don’t like hamilton)?

20. who should host the tony’s next year?

21. do you watch broadwaycom backstage vlogs?

22. what’s your opinion on movies turned into musicals?

23. do you prefer musical movies or live musicals?

24. do you have an opinion on american psycho?

25. what movie would you want to be turned into a musical?

26. what role would you like to see your favorite actor play?

27. do you prefer musicals, plays, or operas?

28. dramatic plays or comedies?

29. andrew lloyd webber or stephen sondheim?

30. neil patrick harris or james corden?

31. did james corden do a good job hosting the tony’s (in your opinion)?

32. create a show mash-up and explain the plot (ex: legally todd = sweeney todd + legally blonde)

33. what song always makes you cry?

34. how do you feel about musicals using other artists’ music?

35. what celebrity would you like to see on broadway next?

36. favorite show you’ve been in?

37. would you like to act professionally?

38. television or stage acting?

39. what disney movie should be a musical that isn’t?

40. if you could see one show on broadway or west end, what would it be?

41. what musical should be revived next?

42. are musical sequels okay?

43. what musical sequel would you like there to be that isn’t?

44. have you ever had a crush on a character from a show?

45. how do you feel about musicals being done live on tv now?

46. did you like grease live?

47. are you excited for hairspray live?

48. what show do you desperately want your school/community to do?

49. are you a stronger singer or dancer?

50. would you rather design the set, direct the show, or help with effects?


you can add to the list if you’d like :)