*Photo By Jon Taylor Photography
(But there is a ME when you scramble it up!)
One of the most grueling times in a Bette’s career is the dreaded “tech week”…where we take a show from the rehearsal room to being ready for opening night. It’s also the time where all the elements that make a show what it is get added: the sets, the wigs, the costumes, the makeup, the microphones, the orchestra, the lights, and even automation in the sets. The audience may only see the cast onstage, but for each of the performers, there are at least 5 people offstage making it happen. Bare minimum. In the words of Laurie Wells Noble, a true Broadway Bulletproof Bette: “You are not alone-the TEAM is everything. GO TEAM.”
Here’s the thing I’ve seen performers tend to forget when they get to tech week; It’s not about you. Your performance was already created in the rehearsal room. This time period is all about the folks backstage, who are having their moment of putting it together, to make YOU look good out there! So if you want the best result, keep your calm, take an extra big breath, take everything with a huge grain of salt, and remember that its not personal, and not about you right now. You can make requests, but they better be reasonable, and packaged in the right words. And if your request is denied, take that “no” with dignity. And say thank you. Say it a lot. More than you think is necessary. You get a two hour dinner break, the crew of your show gets maybe half that. So be extra nice, and if someone does something to help you out, you get them a treat, a card, some flowers, etc. Remember that you are all on the same team, making the show come together. Having grace is going to get you a LOT this week!
Below are some quotes from friends with wise words on the topic:
“Always be generous in spirit…it will come back to you.”
“Be respectful; you never know who you will work with again.”
“Be nice to your dressers and crew. They can make your life wonderful or miserable!”
“Be kind to one another. Even if they’re not always kind to you. Kill EVERYONE with kindness.”
Erica Wai Yee
“Be self-aware, but not arrogant.”
“Never lose your sense of humor.”
(Sometimes, the only thing to do when something goes wrong is laugh. We aren't doing brain surgery, so as long as everyone is safe, chuckle and move on.)
“It can be such a tough business- try to be kind. We’re lucky we do something that we love. Not everyone can say that!”
“Be kind to everyone, this biz is SMALL and you never know who you may work with again.”
“Be kind to others and yourself.”
“Always be kinder to others than they are to you.”
“What you do after the mistake is often far more important than the mistake itself.”
“Don’t give people a reason to talk behind your back.”
“Know that you are good enough, but you can always be better.”
“Don’t be in this business if you don’t like change or people.”
“Energy creates energy, so light up the room.”
As you can see, kindness, patience, breathing, and putting out good energy to your coworkers is paramount. The Bulletproof Bettes I quoted above know this, and so they leave a good reputation behind them, and good energy around to all those who encounter them. They get remembered for that quality, and rehired for it too. Because unless you are LITERALLY Cher or Beyoncé, you cannot be on people’s “life’s too short” list and still get hired. People have long memories for bad behavior. Let them remember you for your bulletproof professionalism and great performance, not for making their life miserable! Since shows don’t happen without everyone working their tails off, the team really is EVERYTHING.
Bulletproof Bette shares her wisdom in the first ever Showgirl’s Guide to surviving and thriving in a city and industry that wants to eat you for lunch. Get exclusive content when you sign up below!