Friday, April 25, 2008

Superstar Volunteers: Kelly Madsen

Among all the people who volunteer at the Empress and for OHPAA, there are a handful that just don't know when to stop. Kelly Madsen, the Empress Theatre's stage manager is one of these individuals. There has rarely been a time when I've gone to the Empress and not found Kelly there. Some of you may have heard me say this before, but some folks have "home theaters," Kelly has a "theatre home."
Kelly is 17, she's still in high school. Yet she has taken on the responisbilities of managing the Empress Stage. Most people don't know how much is involved in managing a stage. During the run-up to a show, the stage manager coordinates rehearsals, schedules, props and everything else that is needed for a rehearsal. She may read for missing actors during auditions, and is generally the Directors super-assistant.
During the run of the show, the stage manager runs the entire theatre. She makes sure everything is ready before the audience is seated, makes sure the actors are all accounted for, makes sure props, lights, sound, and sets are all ready. She is responsible for safety of everyone in the building.
During the performance she coordinates everything that happens on the stage. She cues actors, "calls the show," giving cues to the lighting and sound operators, the floor crew moving scenery around, and so forth. And when something goes wrong, she fixes it. When the show is over for the night, she makes sure everything gets back to where it belongs.
Now imagine how much work this is when we have one show running and two in rehearsal with auditions pending for two more.
Kelly does all of this for free as a volunteer, then apologizes for not doing enough!
In fact, Kelly has been suffering from a medical condition that quite frequently has left her in a great deal of pain, and yet she was still here "calling the show" every night of Joseph's record breaking 22 performance run.
On Monday, Kelly went in for a "procedure," and she's litterally been unable to stand for the last few days. I got an email from her yesterday. She feels guilty for not being at the Empress doing her job during "An Evening of One Act Plays!" She also said this:

I miss you so much. I miss the theatre, and all my friends/coworkers there.
I miss working and helping create the magic of a show that brings such a change
to each audience. I miss what is so much a part of me. Truly, you, the theatre,
this work gave me my heart and soul. It is hard not being able to continually
give it back.

Give it back? Gadzooks! Kelly, we owe you. And for more than just your service as Stage Manager. You, and the very few others that step up at the level you do are the heart and soul of the Empress Theatre and OHPAA. Get better soon.


Nate and Angie said...

Yay Kelly! I've missed seeing Kelly around this past week. Get better soon Kelly and if you need help with anything or if the Empress needs help with anything let me know what I can do. I'd be glad to help.

musicgirljen said...

We love you, Kelly!!

Anonymous said...

So this is the bestest friend Rach calling upon on this lovely blog. One thing and only one thing to say...KELLY I SOOOO LOVE YOU! there is only one kelly I can tell you. You befriended me the minute I walked in those doors as a volunteer. Now because of you, and a few others, (who are now my family) I can't leave...stage crew joke.. KELLY OWNS MY SOUL! It's true...once your in your a friend for life and a coworker for eternity. That's crew rules, and I am thankful that you Kelly are my manager,coworker,friend, sister, and mentor. Thanks babe, for everything. Love you!