When you’re out for a night at the theatre, first you hit up the box office for tickets, then make your way to the concessions. After that, you mingle in the lobby before entering the house to search for your seat.
If you’re working on the show, however, this is not the route you take. The last thing actors want is to navigate through hordes of people between the entrance and their dressing rooms. This also goes for the run crew, wardrobe crew, and stage management team, who likely prefer a direct shot to backstage.
Enter the stage door.
No, it’s not the main entrance, nor is it a door from the house to the stage. Rather, it’s an entrance from the back alley or street that opens directly into the backstage area. Only the people working on the show may use it. Think of it as the “employees only” entrance to the theatre.
The stage door is usually locked from the inside once the actual production begins. This is why Michael Keaton’s character in the film Birdman accidentally found himself locked out of the theatre, forcing him to dash half-naked through Times Square.
The stage door is also where many super-fans wait after curtain call in the hope of catching a glimpse of—or better yet, nab a selfie with—their favorite performer. If you see a throng of folks gathering outside a seemingly innocuous steel door around 10pm, chances are it’s the stage door. Or a speakeasy. You never know…
— Kelly Kerwin
This video was made by TDF