Behind the Limelight

While the audience is dazzled by sparkling costumes, complex lighting and actor antics on stage, some of the most important work in drama happens behind the scenes. The backstage crew is an important and integral part of the success of a play. It is a crucial element to the rehearsals, performance processes and the entire play production. From hair and makeup to stage lighting, the backstage crew helps hold up the play from start to finish.

“Many people don’t realize how crucial the backstage crew is to the show. The actors create the characters and tell the story, but it is the behind-the-scenes [students] who work with lights, set, costumes, props and sounds that make the production come to life,” said Melissa LaJoice , English Department.

From going to thrift stores and sewing actor’s costumes to constructing the props on set, crew members such as Sophomore Kimia Majd , Junior Kai Segura and Junior Patrick Mckinnon help out with day-to-day needs for the production. The backstage crew is broken down into separate parts, with different people assigned to each one.

“Backstage, I work on com talking to the stage manager to help the shows run more smoothly,” said Junior Anthony Briggs .

Senior Emma Scheve and Freshman Greta Scheve help with tracking the props in the show, making sure they are in position as needed by the actors. Sophomore Kimia Majd visits thrifts stores to help coordinate costumes for the actors, sewing many of the costumes herself. Sophomore Max Jones and Junior Patrick Mckinnon help with the lighting and the sound effects for the productions.

“As a stage manager, it is my responsibility to keep track of everything – actors, props, lights, sound and more – backstage,” said Senior Marta Moreno .

Putting on a show is a team effort; while the actors have the more visible part, without the backstage crew, there would be no show. A play is not just made up by all the performers; it is a collaborative effort from the whole crew. The setbuilders, costume designers for the clothes, makeup artists from the green room and many more help not only bring the stage alive, but also help advance the entertainment and art industry. These artists provide new ways to reinvent old characters and create new ones.

“Without the crew, there would be no show. Without them, the show would be actors acting in the dark with no costumes, sound or makeup. They are as part of the show as much as the actors are part of the show,” said Senior Alison Taoyama .

This article was part of “Art and Entertainment” in Last Word.

You may visit Leland Drama’s website at to learn more about upcoming shows.

Animator BG