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Stage manager spotlight: John O'Neil

Meet, John O'Neil! He is joining us for The Hunchback of Notre Dame June 30, 2022 - July 10, 2022 as our wonderful stage manager!

What is your favorite song in this show and why?

There are so many great ones, but 'Out There' is just so beautiful. Quasimodo longs to know what is outside the bell tower he's always been in. Adding this version with Rey's signing just adds to the feeling of that song.

What have you loved so far about working with SART?

I've loved the community that is created within the shows. We only have a small amount of time to put together every aspect of the show and watching the folks in the show support each other and create wonderful pieces of art is amazing to see from my Stage Manager's rehearsal table.

Tell us about your role in this production.

As the Stage Manager, I am the Director's right-hand person. I help run the rehearsal, keeping us on track and being the hub of communication to the designers about what happens in rehearsals. When we get into tech rehearsals, I help connect everything that has happened in the rehearsal room to the wonderful tech that all the designers have been working on. Then when performances begin I take on the role of the one in charge. I call all of the cues. I help guide all of the people involved, both actors and crew, to put on the wonderful art that you see as the audience.

How did you get into theatre?

I started acting when I was young but got involved in tech theatre because of my sister. She needed a stagehand for a show when I was in 8th grade and I've been hooked ever since. I started stage managing in college and just fell in love with it.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the area?

Theatre is pretty much all I do in the area. I do like to go throw around a baseball with one of my great friends and eating at all the great restaurants.

What about this production are you the most excited about?

I'm just so excited to see this production in this space. All the versions I've seen have been in theatres that have much larger stages and bringing it down to the size of the Owen stage brings a level of connection between the audience and the cast that just isn't as prominent in those other versions. It's like everyone in the room, both cast and audience will really be transformed into the story.

What’s your favorite part about stage managing?

My favorite part of Stage Managing is tied between Tech rehearsals and calling cues during the show. I love watching the show come together with the lighting and costumes really help tell the stories we all love. I also love calling cues. There are not many things that feel better than a well-called lighting cue that makes the show really pop.

Do you have any upcoming projects we should check out?

I am also the Stage Manager for The Wedding Singer (after also Stage Managing Sisters of Swing). After that, I will be heading back to Grad School at UNC School of the Arts in Winston Salem, NC where I will start my 2nd year in the Production & Project Management program where I will be the Production Manager for Fall Dance, Drama 4, and Spring Opera.


John is incredibly grateful to return this summer and is proud to be the second in his family to work for SART, following in the footsteps of his incredible big sister (only in age, not height)! After being the ASM for "First Date" last year, he is excited to put on his bow tie and take the booth as the Stage Manager for "Sisters of Swing" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." Other Stage Management credits include "Into the Woods" (UNC Asheville), "Little Women," "Alice in Wonderland," "The Groundling" (Asheville Community Theatre), and "The Ballad of Romeo & Juliet" (American Myth Center). During the school year, he is in the Production and Project Management Graduate program at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. As always, John thanks his wife, family, and friends for their continued support in everything he does!

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is showing at Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre in Mars Hill, NC June 30, 2022 - July 10, 2022! Grab your tickets here:

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