Dan Eckert: Backstage at Cinderella
Dan Eckert is the current Stage Manager of Cinderella and has been involved behind the scenes on the show for 20 years! He has served as Stage Manager and ASM on over 30 RLT productions in addition to backstage and production staff roles on more than 120! We caught up with Dan to learn about what makes Cinderella so special…
- RLT: When did you start working on Cinderella & how did you get involved? What is your current involvement?
- Dan: 2000 / Cinderella 17 — I was a member the deck crew. I am currently serving my second year as the Stage Manager. Over the years, I’ve also served in the roles of Assistant Stage Manager, Deck Crew Chief, House Manager, and Usher — in addition to helping with load-ins, set construction, and strikes.
- RLT: What is your favorite Cinderella memory?
- Dan: Running the “E” position on deck crew the years we produced Cinderella at the Fletcher Opera Theatre — this role was the catch-all for a variety of tasks including moving a huge Christmas Tree and several actions that had to happen onstage, hiding behind the Coach and other set pieces with the risk of being seen by audience.
- RLT: Why do you think audiences continue to love Cinderella year after year?
- Dan: The story RLT tells is catchy and breaks from other more traditional versions of the tale. Also, RLT puts tremendous work into keeping the content and appearance up to date with changing times — including adding exciting lighting and video effects that were impossible when the show was first produced in the 1980s.
- RLT: What is your favorite part about working on Cinderella?
- Dan: The traditions — there’s something special about coming into the space every year, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones as folks join the show and experience the magic for the first time. Also, keeping up with changes to technology, staging, and venues over the years means there’s always work to be done to refine and improve the production in a way that is simply impossible for other shows where you only get one shot.
- RLT: What advice would you have for someone wanting to get involved behind the scenes at RLT?
- Dan: Please do! Whether on-stage or backstage, it’s a fun way to meet new people and learn new skills — and there’s always something to do year-round.