Occasionally we are lucky to cross paths with cast and crew in Broadway and Off-Broadway productions who have significant ties to Long Island. In the case of Stranger Sings! The Parody Musical, an Off-Broadway show, which has just been extended through the end of April, we were fortunate to meet, not only one of these people, but two. Alex Dash of Jericho and Kaitlyn Meriam of Farmingdale are holding down the stage management of this lively creation by Jonathan Hogue that is packed with talent.
Dash, the production stage manager, is super excited to be a part of this incredible team in the Upside Down. He most recently was the assistant stage manager for the Emojiland (national tour).
We had a chance to chat exclusively with Dash, originally of Jericho.
Here’s What He Had To Tell Us:
Q What is the best thing about this show?
A The best thing about this show is how consistent but also how constantly evolving it is. I am truly always on the edge of my seat to see how the show will go. It’s fun because I’m always ready when I am supposed to be but because this show is so based on the audience that we can go off the rails and get a really fun and special moment. But that’s live theatre.
Q Did this show teach you something new?
A This show taught me more about working on the fly. I love problem solving and making quick fixes. So, this show as small as it is, is so massive. I’ve had the privilege of starting on the show in an assistant stage manager track backstage and now calling the show each evening from the booth. They’re so different but both come with new fun tasks every day. Being backstage and a prop breaks, how do we fix it on the fly or in the booth being on headset and trying to problem solve over headset while still watching and calling the show.
Q Why do you do what you do, professionally?
A What’s funny is I went to school for stage management but because of COVID, I shifted gears and went the corporate route into advertising. While I absolutely have learned to love that too, theatre was always still on my brain. Now I like to tell people I get to live my Hannah Montana dreams and have the best of both worlds because I work corporate 9-to-5, Monday through Friday, and do Stranger Sings at night. While I am so tired and sacrifice my free time it’s so worth it because there is nothing like working on a show. I do it because it makes me smile, and when I am tired, I just remember I know what it’s like to have jobs that you hate but you have no other choice. This is 100 percent my choice to do double duty but I go home and feel fulfilled each night and that is what’s important to me.
Q How did you get involved in theater?
A I started theatre when I was in fourth grade. I had originally wanted to do sports, but my mom didn’t think it was a good idea (and she’s definitely correct on this). But I started theatre because my cousin Sam was doing it and I saw the love and praise she would get from our whole family showing up and I was like, I can do that. So, I started taking classes and performing at The Cultural Arts Playhouse (CAP) and it became my everything. I would later spend the rest of my time on Long Island at CAP. I would perform and work in the booth, would usher, etc. I was with my best friends getting to do something I loved. I was even given the title of “Major Domo” by the owner Bruce Grossman. I have them to thank because if I didn’t stick to it who knows what childhood friends I’d still have today. It’s great because this is the first time since leaving CAP six years ago that I get to work with Kaitlyn again. She has been one of my best friends for almost a decade now and getting to hang out with her as much as I do has been the cherry on top for this whole production.
Q What advice do you have for aspiring professionals in a similar role?
A Know your worth and that your time is valuable. Also don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and speak up for what you want. I worked on a showcase almost four years ago. I was so green, and it was my first real show in New York City. But I was feeling bold and on opening night I walked up to Chase, our general manager, and said you’re going to give me a job on Emojiland (then, his upcoming show). He thought it was funny and he did. Here we are now, years later and I am still working on projects with him all because I spoke up for what I wanted. Another piece of advice is to enjoy your free time when you have it. You’ll miss it when you don’t have it.
Dash is a recent graduate of Marymount Manhattan College (2021) and is a 2017 graduate of Jericho High School. He would like to thank Meriam, his parents, as well as his friends and family for all their support.
Stranger Sings! The Parody Musical plays through April 30, 2023, at Playhouse 46 at St. Luke’s (308 W. 46th Street). Tickets are $49 to $99 for all performances. A limited amount of VIP Bean Bag chairs are available for $149. All prices included $1.50 facility fee.
Weekly performance schedules vary. Visit StrangerSings.com for more information and to purchase tickets.