...and this is why you have no good photos from me. I was too distracted to bother remembering my camera this weekend...
[Note: the stage was set for Menopause: the Musical, so no photos of the stage here]
It's always difficult for me to imagine Schenectady in its heyday as a thriving city growing up around General Electric and American Locomotive Company - with 95,000 people living there during its peak in the 1930's (methinks thinks could be worked into that Bonnie & Clyde party...). As a matter of fact, the skylights in the arcade are a testament to the prominence of Schenectady in times past; during WWII, it was such a big deal of a place that it was a potential German target! The lights had all been blacked out as a result, but are now restored.
We spent some time backstage talking to Keith, the production manager - which was a real treat. He showed us the load-in area, talked about the flexibility of the space, and the wide array of considerations a production manager must make for shows coming into town (ranging from technical requirements to catering). I did not take too many photos backstage, as the Menopause props/wardrobe were set up, but I could have listened to him talk all afternoon.
We were also able to tour the dressing rooms, both the larger areas and the star rooms. The large ensemble dressing room was full of tables - some bare and just waiting to be decorated, others designed to represent various touring shows (and signed by that cast). I cannot even say how much I love this idea (ok, it's even better than my Bonnie & Clyde party).
If you know me at all, you know exactly which table I made a beeline for (and if you don't, let's just say that I like Hair a little bit).
Of course, there's the theater itself, with over 2,600 seats (want an idea of how big this is? The Gershwin, the largest Broadway house which currently features Wicked, seats 1,933. Most seat 1000-1300.) and loads of original fixtures (from the bathrooms to the fireplaces).
As I noted during the last tour, I'm not alone in loving this huge historical theater. Every person we talked to obviously loves what they do and I couldn't help but wish I could hear every story that our guide alluded to being able to go on and on about.
If you've ever seen a show at Proctors, have any interest in the history of Schenectady, or are fascinated by what happens behind the scenes in the theater, go on a Proctors tour. They are currently free of charge and it's a wonderful way to spend a morning.