Rescuing Miss Daisy

Photo: Toledo Blade

The novel was inspired by my first real show as a stage manager, but before that, I co-stage-managed Driving Miss Daisy in 2004, with my sister, Cheri. I refer to it as “Rescuing Miss Daisy,” because we had to come in at the last minute, on tech day, after the original stage manager flaked. When she finally showed up, hours after call, we watched the director fire her on the spot.

They asked Cheri to step in because her husband was in the cast. She didn’t want to do it but she couldn’t say no, so I offered to help. I’d taken a Rep-Ed class in stage managing the previous year, and was ready to do more. This seemed like a good chance.

Cheri sprang into action the second we arrived and pulled everything together in the course of an afternoon. She brought in a crew, wrote up a prompt book, and ran a tech rehearsal for a show she’d just learned. By opening night, we were a well-oiled machine. It was all her — I just followed her lead and did what she told me to do. I don’t even count it as really stage managing.

Still, when I did my own show later that season, it was more experience than I let poor Emma have in the book.

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