A Day in the Life of Stuart Landon: Guest Feature
The following is a guest post by Stuart Landon, Open Stage of Harrisburg
In 2007, Donald L. Alsedek, co-founder of Open Stage of Harrisburg, cast me in their annual production of A Christmas Carol. Ten years later, I find myself not only directing that show but knee-deep in my first year as Producing Artistic Director at Harrisburg’s oldest professional theatre company. For nearly half that time, I have also served as Director of Community Engagement at Midtown Cinema, a place I adore, full of films I love. Every day is full of quirky twists. And lots of art. And coffee.
So, welcome to a Stuart Landon Day.
7:00 a.m. — Wake up.
7:01 a.m. — Go back to sleep.
7:22 a.m. — Wake up again. Begrudgingly.
7:36 a.m. — Coffee. Cats have been fed and watered. Still ungrateful. Dog seems to like me fine.
9:00 a.m. — Meeting at Midtown Cinema yields an exciting list of to-dos for our first-run films and upcoming screenings of holiday classics. I love Jimmy Stewart.
10:36 a.m. — Stop by Broad Street Market, where I pick up my Spiral Path CSA, along with groceries from Dusty and Julia at Radish and Rye. I grab a cup of coffee (with cardamom!) from Andrea at Elementary Coffee and a bite from Lil’s Pretzels. Yum.
10:58 a.m. — Phone call on my drive downtown: Midtown Cinema’s film buyer, a fantastic character named Steve (who I imagine sits in a smoky office, yelling into three rotary phones). We book Loving Vincent for a run at the cinema to complement the runaway hit Lady Bird.
11:15 a.m. — Arrive at Open Stage. I greet my sister, Rachel, who is working on Open Stage’s Facebook Page. Rachel recently joined the company as Market Manager.
11:27 a.m. — Matt Golden and Jennie Adams, who I get to sit next to as part of Midtown Cinema’s Down in Front! team, discuss our annual screening of Santa Conquers the Martians. I truly love riffing with these gooms every second Friday. It’s a great way to never get hours of your life back.
11:52 a.m. — Sarah Adams, the Office Manager, and I discuss dressing room organization for the 34 actors in A Christmas Carol, opening this weekend. As we clean up, we discover a strange array of lost items from shows past: an old wig, one shoe, styrofoam mermaid, a bottle of soy sauce from 1998, and a basket of candy with questionable origins.
2:22 p.m. — A cast member drops by to pick their script for Akeelah and the Bee, which we have just finished casting. I text Sharia Benn, Akeelah Co-Director, a longtime company member, and Managing Director of Sankofa African-American Theatre Company.
3:06 p.m. — I try to face down the pile of scripts on my desk I am looking at for next season. There are so many amazing shows out there, and OSH has a history of seasons packed with brilliant, awe-inspiring and thought-provoking plays. I get another cup of coffee instead. There’s a lot to do, and this will have to wait for another day.
3:16 p.m. — The spring semester calendar is decided on for the newly named The Alsedek Theatre School. Our class schedule for kids, teens, and adults requires a lot of juggling.
4:45 p.m. — I chat with Nick Hughes, who plays Scrooge and is a Board Emeriti, about the future of the theatre’s layout. For over 25 years, Open Stage has had one venue here on Court Street; I dream of adding a second studio to the space.
5:10 p.m. — Exchange texts with Harrisburg’s man about town, Adam Porter, who manages Midtown Cinema, runs st@rtup Harrisburg and is co-owner of Provisions. We are hitting record numbers this week at the Cinema. After a slow summer in Hollywood, it seems some indie hits are rolling in.
5:15 p.m. — Quick dinner at McGrath’s with my awesome boyfriend. I order the Reuben.
6:30 p.m. — After popping some Rolaids, I mentally prepare for tech rehearsal. One more cup of coffee.
6:41 p.m. — Usual rigmarole occurs as actors pour in and I am inundated with questions regarding costumes, entrances, and the location of the fake turkey.
6:49 p.m. — After a sweetly nudging reminder text from Sammi Leigh Melville, our resident movie reviewer at Midtown Cinema, I shoot an email to a film distributor to acquire a screener copy of a film next month.
7:13 p.m. — The run of A Christmas Carol begins. I sip my coffee and smile. The Angino Family Theatre disappears into a blur of haze, fog, snow and dazzling lights as the ghosts swirl across the stage in a danse macabre.
10:17 p.m. — The actors have all left, and the last of the staff members are closing up Open Stage. We sweep, turn off the lights and lock the doors. Once again –not for the first or last time– as I check the front door on my way out, I find myself grateful. Grateful that I auditioned for A Christmas Carol 10 years ago. Grateful for the hours spent answering the phone at the box office, grateful for the dozens of shows, hundreds of actors and designers and directors and students who have been a part of my time at the theatre. I’m so grateful for the hectic days and sleepless nights, and grateful that the Alsedeks created such a beautiful theatre company. And I’m grateful for coffee.
Meet Stuart Landon
Born an Okie, reared a Texan and schooled a Sooner, Stuart has been a proud resident of Midtown Harrisburg since 2007. He also directs the musical for Capital Area School for the Arts (CASA) and has also worked at Allenberry Playhouse, Millbrook Playhouse, Lyric Theater of Oklahoma City, Findlay Summer Stock, and Houston’s Theater Under the Stars.