À la the Tony Awards, the Summer Stage general meetings are a high-energy production full of awards, singing, and fun. Chris Luner, Children’s Theater production manager and part time MC, leads the meetings with an amazing sense of vitality. These meetings are a way for the staff to disperse information to the entire Summer Stage program and reward various students for exemplary effort. This past Thursday, June 26th, was the first of many general meetings for the summer. It did not disappoint.
Before each general meeting there is a pizza lunch hosted by the Shooting Stars. Used as a fundraiser for their multitude of performances throughout the year, the lunch is always crowded with Summer Stagers. This year, instead of grabbing a slice and settling down to eat in the courtyard, I joined the rest of “The Circle of Life” staff (of which I am an ASM) in the Little Theatre for some much needed staff bonding. It was more than a little weird to change a tradition I have been a part of for the past four years.
Luner kicked off the meeting with a well-timed entrance to the “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. He was dressed as a…how do I put this…just take a look at the picture. Part lion, part super-spirited Summer Stager, Luner immediately set the tone for the meeting. After some general announcements for the group, Luner passed the microphone over to Mama. Just as Luner entered to the music of Survivor, Mama Moscotti strutted her way down the aisle to the sounds of “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne.
Chris Luner says, “General Meetings have sort of become their own little productions which I love. Each week is planned out thoroughly. I usually work on some sort of exciting entrance for myself and always find a way to dedicate one week to each children’s theatre show. However, there is a lot more to the meeting than just the entrance. I program music into the transitions with people coming to and leaving the stage and all of this is specific to whoever it is. Overall, I have just worked to make General Meetings more exciting for Summer Stage and everyone involved! Reading announcements out loud is boring! I think the kids remember things better when we make it more memorable for them.”
After Mama and Chris came the costume shop. This eclectic group of individuals always makes an incredible showing. At every general meeting they are always decked out in the gorgeous costumes they create for the summer. For the first meeting the shop dressed up as cheerleaders. Lauren Perigard, the vivacious leader of the costume shop, made her usual announcements about volunteering in the shop and the importance of hygiene.
Now it is the tech crew’s and Children’s Theater’s turn to shine. When the staff of a show is walking to the stage, each cast sings its own personalized chant. These chants celebrate the past week’s inside jokes and support the other casts in their endeavors. Once on the stage, each staff gives the coveted “Summer Stager of the Week” award. These awards are given to Summer Stagers that go above and beyond in everything they do. Whenever someone wins one of these prestigious awards, he or she performs a motion that is unique to each cast. For example, the “Elliot and the Magic Bed” cast does a Beyoncé-esque shoulder shrug. After the meeting, Mama Moscotti takes a picture of every winner and hangs it in the lobby.
By 1:00 PM, the meeting had wrapped up and the casts and crew were sent on their way for the afternoon. While the meeting may have been over, the excitement they create permeated the PAC for the entire afternoon. The general meeting is a time of excitement and coming together for all of Summer Stage that is not to be missed each week.