McCarter Stage Managers Receive Award of Excellence
STAGE MANAGERS HONORED: Alison Cote, left, and Cheryl Mintz are being recognized for their many years of work at McCarter Theatre Center. (Photo by Matt Pilsner)
Princeton residents Cheryl Mintz and Alison Cote will be honored with the Award of Excellence at New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s virtual Curtain Call on November 16 at 7 p.m. This honor celebrates their tenure with McCarter Theatre Center, where for the past 29 seasons Mintz was the resident production stage manager, and for the past 24 seasons Cote was a production stage manager.
Their combined body of work spans over 400 productions and developmental workshops with McCarter Theatre and theaters across the country, including Broadway, off-Broadway, Lincoln Center, the Spoleto Festival, and the Kennedy Center. They also take great pride in the scores of emerging stage managers and theater makers they have mentored in their time with McCarter.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting suspension of production activity at theaters around the country, including McCarter, Mintz and Cote have demonstrated their resilience and creativity in response to a rapidly growing need in their communities. Leveraging their theatrical management skills, they have combined forces with Princeton residents Seth Mellman of SMP Video and IT Manager Peregrin Jones to produce virtual events using a combination of live camera work, pre-recorded segments, visual montages, and live participants joining by Zoom. Organizations who have benefited from their services include The Jewish Center Princeton, The Suppers Program, Theater J (Washington, D.C.), the Stage Managers Association Del Hughes Awards (New York), 12.14 Foundation/NewArts (Newtown, Conn.) and McCarter. Independently, Mintz and Cote are production stage managing virtual theater projects for Broadway and off-Broadway companies.
“This honor resonates deeply as a bright spot during this exceedingly difficult time,” said Mintz. “The theater industry is devastated due to the pandemic, and work opportunities for stage managers have disappeared overnight. Stage managers do not get to propose the productions we want to do, but we can choose what theater community we want to commit to, and through that commitment be artistically fulfilled. Many of us being honored by the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, who could balance our careers between New York City and Philadelphia, have made an extensive commitment to our New Jersey theater, which we are passionate about collaborating with as theater makers and artists.”
“The work I’ve done for the past 24 years has shaped me into who I am today, not only from the many professional relationships that have been fostered but by the wide variety of stories and topics presented onstage in plays, particularly new works,” said Cote. “Being in the rehearsal room, helping to ‘birth’ a world premiere production that will bring a fresh story to thousands of others is exhilarating. While most of us may not be creating live theatre at a venue, we are still finding ways to use the traits of organization, communication, resourcefulness, and creativity to respond to what is happening in America today.”
The 2020-21 season was designated “The Year of the Stage Manager” within the industry. This year marks 100 years since the first stage management contract was signed with the professional theatre union, Actors Equity Association.
As well as honoring stage managers, this year’s New Jersey Theatre Alliance Star Award will be presented to Mills + Schnoering Architects, in honor of their commitment to universal design and access. This event is open to the public but requires registration. Register to attend, make a donation, or request raffle tickets at njtheatrealliance.org.