The series has been established by Omar Sangare, Chair and Professor of Theatre.
This event was made possible, in part, thanks to the Lecture Committee and the Oakley Center for Humanities & Social Sciences, and to
Professor Dorothy Wang, Chair of the American Studies at Williams
The third session of “The Green Room” — a series where acclaimed theatre professionals share diverse viewpoints, experiences, and lessons with the Williams College community — featured Yale Professor and Stage Management Chair Narda Alcorn. Professor Alcorn shared her journey from attending college in Chicago to entering the Yale School of Drama, where she engaged in meaningful collaborations with Kenny Leon and August Wilson. Leon taught Alcorn the importance of the individual in theatre; she learned to adopt a person-first management style rather than one that focuses on hastily producing a final product. In what she describes as the “ethics of care,” Alcorn realized that this theory had great potential for application in stage management. From prioritizing the safety of cast and crew members to valuing every member of the performance and crew teams — putting people first — Alcorn’s post-graduate work was essential in teaching her how to create an environment of mutual trust and equity. Alcorn’s 10-year collaboration with August Wilson furthered this sense of care. Later, in her more-than-a-decade-long work on the Broadway production of The Lion King, Alcorn described how she met the challenge of working with a company of cast and crew of nearly 150 individuals. This experience heightened her appreciation for recognizing those individuals working “behind the scenes” to ensure that a show runs smoothly. Finally, Professor Alcorn took part in an engaging question-and-answer session with Green Room attendees where she elaborated on stage management as a career path; her work across multiple genres of theatre; and responding to challenges of equity on and off the stage.
–William Titus ’23 and True Pham ’23
Narda E. Alcorn is a Professor and Stage Manager who has worked on Broadway, Off-Broadway, regionally, and internationally. In 2019, Narda was appointed Chair of the Stage Management Program at Yale School of Drama. She has been Head of Stage Management for New York University, DePaul University, and State University of New York at Purchase. She received DePaul’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2015 and The Robert Christen Award for Excellence in Technical Collaboration in 2017.
On Broadway, Narda has had collaborations with the Tony-winning directors Lloyd Richards, Kenny Leon, Bartlett Sher, and George C. Wolfe. She premiered four of Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright August Wilson’s Century Cycle plays and stage-managed two Broadway revivals of his work. Her New York and Regional credits include productions with Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Billy Crystal, Kevin Kline, Annette Bening, Phylicia Rashad, David Schwimmer, and Richard Foreman. Narda was a long-time stage manager on the Broadway production of The Lion King, and she has collaborated with the celebrated MacArthur Fellows, composer George E. Lewis, playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, and playwright Sarah Ruhl. She has recently co-published, with Lisa Porter, Stage Management Theory as a Guide to Practice: Cultivating a Creative Approach and the essay We Commit to Anti-Racist Stage Management Education for HowlRound Theatre Commons.