Hillside Chats: The 39 Steps Stage Manager, Sarah Krantz

Sarah Krantz is easily recognized by her bubbly personality and her perfectly curly red hair. She’s the kind of person who has her act together, is never late, and is always there when you need her. But, as her roommates can attest to, lately Sarah has been M.I.A.

As the Stage Manager for the Boston College Theatre Department’s production of The 39 Steps, Sarah is arguably one of the busiest people on campus. For those unfamiliar with the world of theatre, Sarah’s position is one essential to the process of putting together a show. She’s the one working behind the scenes and around the clock to bring everyone involved in the process together in order to make the show a reality.

With The 39 Steps opening tonight, Thursday, October 17th, and running through Sunday, October 20th, Sarah and the rest of the cast and crew have kicked into overdrive. I was lucky to catch her right before her 3:45pm dinner and get the behind-the-scenes details on a show that’s expected to make waves on campus.

It’s opening night! Are you excited?

I am so excited! I can’t believe it’s already here. And what’s crazy is that we’ve been having the smoothest rehearsals. This is the most prepared a production has been during tech [technical rehearsals the week before opening] that I’ve ever seen. We are definitely ready and I am so proud and excited for everyone to see what we’ve been working on.

I can’t wait to see it. Before we get too ahead of ourselves, can you explain what your role is?

So as Stage Manager, I am kind of like the hub of the wheel. It’s my job to have constant communication with the director, Luke Jorgensen; the designer, the production staff, and of course, the actors. It’s up to me to make sure things run smoothly, all the actors are here and out on time, and that the process reflects all of the designers’ aesthetics and visions for the show.

How many people are involved with 39 Steps?

Our cast is made up of 8 student actors, and we’re unique because we cast run [also serve as] crew. Our show has a ton of comical events that involve moving set pieces, so we wanted actual actors to portray that, to really play up the intentional humor. Aside from the 3 of them, we also have the rest of the run crew, 3 assistant stage managers and myself on the management team, and a really amazing design team covering set design, lighting, and sound. I’m actually also working as the Assistant Set Director. That experience has been really cool since I’ve never done it before. We also have a production manager, the Robsham staff, and our producer who all play an important role in making the show happen. Behind the scenes, there are 30+ students involved in prep work, and working on costumes. Everyone works well together, and they all do their jobs.

Apparently, they do so very well. I saw that you guys are ranked #1 on the list that just came out of the top college productions to see in Boston this year. Congratulations!

Ahhh, thank you! It’s crazy. It’s definitely a unique show; I haven’t seen anything like it at BC. It won 2 Tonys so I’m really hopeful that we’ll have a big audience. I think a lot of BC students will find it entertaining and enjoyable. They’ll walk away saying, “Hmm that was a fun way to spend my night, when can I see it again?”

Without giving anything away, what’s the show about?

It’s actually a hysterical satire of the 1930s film of the same name – the Hitchcock murder mystery – which was based off of the novel by John Bucanne. The original movie is quite enjoyable, but our show is basically a spoof of it. It takes place pre-World War II with a spy setting. A man from out of town gets swept into spy story and essentially becomes a spy himself trying to find out “Who dunnit?” Our show is 30+ characters portrayed by 5 actors; there are a lot of hat changes, and the audience should definitely expect to laugh.

How’s the cast?

They’re working really well together. Six of the eight are seniors, so by this point, they know the ropes, and are all accomplished actors. It’s what makes it possible for them to play so many characters, and it’s really cool to see them get to play with physicality. It’s been great to see how fast the actors switch between two different identities, and how they’ve grown as artists. They all have very expressive and fun personalities, so there’s a great dynamic. They make it entertaining for all of us.

Very cool. I’m sure we’ll see those dynamics on stage. So what’s next for you, Sarah?

I’m working on the set design for Dancing at Lughnasa. It’s a student show that will be opening the beginning of April, and it is being directed by Sarah Kelley. I’m trying something new! I’m also working for Arts Fest, which I’m super excited about. I have a lot to look forward to.

The 39 Steps will be showing at Boston College’s Robsham Theater: Thursday, October 17th; Friday, October 18th; and Saturday, October 19th at 7:30pm, and Sunday, October 20th at 2pm. Contact the Robsham Theater ticket office for details.

Featured Image via Facebook.

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