“Front” and Center with Front of House Manager Melody Moore
By A Noise Within
December 15, 2016
When you arrive at ANW, you are often greeted by Melody Moore’s smiling face. She has countless stories to tell, and a particularly unique experience of our plays. Read on to learn more about A Noise Within’s incredibly talented Front of House Manager and Volunteer Coordinator!
How long have you been working for A Noise Within? How did you find yourself here?
Four years. I started September of 2012.
I actually started out as an actor. I probably acted until my mid-thirties. And then I was producing plays in Hollywood, smaller shows and such, and I found I really liked that. So I decided to try to find a job at a big theatre to see how the big guys do it. The only job I could find at the time was assistant house manager, and I said fine, I’ll take it! I got the job and loved it. Acting took a back seat from there and I did that for 12 years. I was house managing all over town and finally ended up here. Finding this place, I just immediately felt “oh, this is exactly where I’m supposed to be now.” Here’s what I say about this theatre- it’s big enough that it’s professional, but small enough that it’s family.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love working with the patrons, getting to know all the people. I like being with people who are like-minded to me. Everyone is here for one reason, right? They’re all here just to see a play and be entertained. No matter how different we all are, we have that one thing in common. That one thread makes all 283 people focused on the same thing for just a couple of hours.
And my favorite moment every night… I don’t know quite how to describe it. I get the house in, the lights are out, and depending on which side of the theatre I’m on, I walk through in the dark… I make sure everybody is in place, and I pause. Then I come up and do my work. For that moment of pause, I feel like a mom who has tucked everybody in and they’re ready for their bedtime story!
What’s the hardest part of your job?
The hardest part of my job is from 10 minutes before curtain. Those 10 minutes right before the show, I have to do a million things at one time, and it has to be done looking like I’m calm- which I don’t always look. It’s the most intense part of the evening. I have stage managers asking if we can start yet, and guests running to the bathroom.
I’ve learned to always expect the unexpected; there has been lots of crisis management over the years!
It seems like you are always prepared for any disaster- what is the most useful tool you have in your office for saving the day?
It sounds really corny to say, but honestly, my good sense. That’s the most useful tool. I’ve got band-aids, we have a defibrillator, cold water, ice packs… but really it’s the quick response and the experience of having seen everything before. When a guy falls, you don’t wait. I have the first aid in a fishing tackle box so that it is so easy to grab and go. My wits are my best tool, and keeping them when things happen.
What has been your favorite show A Noise Within has produced? Why?
Grapes of Wrath. It touched me; it moved me in so many ways. The acting was brilliant. The production was brilliant. I grew up in the country, so maybe that’s part of it. There’s something about those people that just moved me. I would listen to it every single night when it was playing here! The language is incredible, I just loved the poetry of it.
Can you share a favorite story or two from working here? (anything crazy ever happened before or during a show?)
One day we had a group of senior citizens coming on a bus, and they were all in house right, and they didn’t get here on time. It was raining, so I had all of my ushers ready and carefully positioned to whisk them into the theatre as quickly and quietly as possible. When they arrived, all of our plans went out the window- half of them went to the bathroom, and a group of them went down the stairs, and a third group had to take the elevators down (took four trips!). It was a very loud and long commotion during the show. I guess the moral of that story is that even best laid plans fall apart.
Every night something happens! We had a raccoon run across the patio two nights in a row. I named him Septimus. That’s something I love about doing this work, it’s different every single night.
What do you love about A Christmas Carol?
Oh, I love this show! People are just so happy to be here, they’re just having fun. I’m not tired of it even after four years. I love the language. I listen to it a lot, Geoff has made it so much like the book.
Our season’s theme is Beyond Our Wildest Dreams. What show do you dream of seeing on the ANW stage?
Tennesee Williams! He is probably my favorite playwright – I would like to see Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I really like the American playwrights in general; I’m really excited for O’Neill’s Ah, Wilderness! this Spring. I performed it in college!
What is it like to be the volunteer coordinator?
When they first asked me to be head of the volunteers when I originally got the job, I was nervous. I don’t like to ask people to do things for free. But, it has turned out to be one of the most gratifying things. Our volunteers are so great, I don’t have to ask people, they come to me! People love to come and bring their friends. I’ve gone out to dinner with these people! I had to work on my birthday, and they came in with presents for me. My volunteers are just sweet, sweet people, all of them. It’s one of those things that I am so glad that I got the opportunity to do.
Next time you see Melody at the theatre make sure to say hi!