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Thursday, Jun 20, 2024
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Mercer Artist: Britney DeRosa, stage manager

“They (audiences) watch and say, ‘Wow! How did they do that?’ I know how they do that.”  Britney DeRosa is no stranger to the stage, she just prefers to be behind the scenes.

If you’ve seen a Mercer Theatre production in the last three years, you’ve seen some of DeRosa’s stage management work.  A senior majoring in management and theatre with a minor in German, she has worked backstage for the last 12 Mercer Players productions.  She is also set to stage manage the Mercer Players’ upcoming production of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”

Growing up with a project manager father, DeRosa describes her childhood as “structured” and says that it led to her becoming very organized.  When describing stage managing, she says that being organized is “essentially what we do.”

As far as why DeRosa prefers to work backstage, she jokes that she doesn’t like public speaking.  However, DeRosa said, “It’s more fascinating to see the dance that goes on backstage and trying to get everything worked out.”  Much like a magician preparing for a magic show, DeRosa plays a large part in creating the spectacle that the audience sees on stage.

Stage managers are part of a larger production team.  They’re the people behind everything that you see on stage when you watch a Mercer Players production, or any production, for that matter.  DeRosa works closely with the director as well as lighting designers, costume designers and scenic designers to create the world that you see on stage.

DeRosa came to Mercer intending to major in English and minor in German, saying that she never thought that she’d be here for theatre.  She’d only been in one production before college, in the last month of her senior year of high school.  How she became the main stage manager for the Mercer Players?  “I pretty much showed up and said, ‘I want to be your stage manager,’ and here we are,” said DeRosa.  If you ask Mercer Players director Scot Mann, he’ll tell you the same story but will include how DeRosa instantly starting organizing his audition papers.

After working 12 shows with the Mercer Players and currently working on her 13th, DeRosa says there are two that are in the running to be her favorite productions thus far: her first musical, “A Little Night Music” by Stephen Sondheim, or “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” a play by Steve Martin.

With graduation quickly approaching, DeRosa says that she’s hoping to continue in the field of Theatre Management.  She describes her choices as internships or freelancing.  “I can either have a lot of stability and no venturing out on my own or almost no stability and no assurance that I’d ever have a job.”  In regards to graduate programs, for now, she’s firmly not interested.  “I’ve been in school for a really long time.  I’m ready.”

“There are a lot of connections to be found,”  DeRosa says in regards to Mercer’s theatre program.  She speaks highly of Scot Mann, “the fight director for Atlanta,” and Marian Zielinski, who has “this incredible knowledge of everything.”  Mercer Theatre is teaching her more than just how to stage manage.  She’s learning “everything” and making the connections that it takes to branch out into the industry.

In regards to future plans, she jokes, “I think of all of us want New York.”  In closing remarks, she wants us to know that “The Tempest” opens April 16 at 7:30 p.m.  “Come check it out.  Fairies, drinking, shenanigans and magic… what could be better from Shakespeare?”

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