News Story

Stage Managers Work Behind-the-Scenes at NSU Stars in the Summer Series

Matt Gibbons

Callie Harris

TAHLEQUAH- Launching the Northeastern State University Stars in the Summer Series productions of Downtown Country and River City Players requires just a much work and preparation behind-the-scenes as it does for the performers and musicians on stage.

Fortunately, Downtown Country Stage Manager Matt Gibbons and River City Players Stage Manager Callie Harris have plenty of experience to keep the shows running smoothly from start to finish this summer.

Matt, of Naples, Fla., is returning for his third year as stage manager of Downtown Country. He puts everything into understanding what the job of a stage manger is and also still being a listener for the actors, and the works for the show.

I am learning how to understand people better,” said Matt. “You learn a lot about each other after being with the same small group of people 12 hours a day for four weeks.

Callie, a Tahlequah-native, is also returning for her third year with the River City Players, though this is her first year as stage manager. In 2006, Callie performed on stage, and in 2007 served as the production’s video tech.

Each area has had its different experiences, but I have gained something each year and I love doing performing and video tech,” said Callie.

During the shows, Matt and Callie are backstage making sure the actors and stagehands are running on time.

I basically take lots of notes throughout the day to make sure everything is going smooth,” said Callie. “I’m also kind of a babysitter, making sure the actors and everyone else has everything they need.

Matt, an NSU theater alum, is planning on this being his last summer with Downtown Country. He plans to move to Georgia in the fall.

I really don’t know exactly what I’m going to be doing,” he said. “As of right now, that’s all I have planned. I just figured it would be easier to find a job in the arts there.

Callie, an NSU theater major, has been involved with theater since high school. She plans to pursue a master’s degree, with an ultimate goal of being either a director or producer.

I love doing theatre and being a stage manager helps me build up a great resume for future jobs,” said Callie. “But also I receive great experience by learning how the stage is suppose to be run.

The 2008 NSU Stars in the Summer Series runs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday through Aug. 9, except the Independence Day holiday.

Grab a bucket of popcorn and a good seat as Downtown Country performs “Rhinestone Country,” a country-style tribute to the glitz and glam of Tinseltown. The Downtown Country performers will perform some of the greatest movie hits to celebrate the magic of Hollywood.

Embrace your “Country Roots,” when Downtown Country journeys to beginnings of country music. Downtown Country will perform songs from legendary artists such as Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family and Bob Wills.

Rhinestone Country” runs Thursday and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and “Country Roots” plays Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m. All Downtown Country performances are at the NSU Playhouse, located on the corner of Downing Street and Muskogee Avenue.

The River City Players will “Twist and Shout” this summer to the sounds of the 1960s. From the slick sounds of Motown to the craze of the British Invasion, River City will perform the top songs from this legendary era.

Travel even further back in time to the sounds of the 1950s with the River City Players in “Rock Around the Clock.” Bop to the beat of Elvis, sway to the sounds of the Shirelles, and dream, dream, dream along with the Everly Brothers.

Twist and Shout” runs Thursdays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and “Rock Around the Clock” plays Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m. River City Players will perform at the Shawnee Street Theater, located on the corner of Downing Street and College Avenue.

The 2008 Stars in the Summer Series is sponsored by the Tahlequah Area Tourism Council. Tickets for the shows are $12 for adults, $10 for NSU alumni and employees, $8 for seniors and groups of 20 or more, and $6 for students and children. In June, the Early Bird Discount of $1 off will be offered for all tickets booked for June performances. To reserve seats, call (918) 458-2075.

For more information on the NSU Stars n the Summer Series, visit


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