At 28, Matthew DiCarlo is the youngest production stage manager on Broadway. After graduating with a degree in production and management from Rutgers University and earning his equity card at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Milburn, New Jersey, the Garden State native made the short trip to New York City where he got a gig as the production assistant for the Off-Broadway debut of Rock of Ages in 2008. He then followed the '80s party musical—which features music from glam-metal legends like White Snake, Journey and Poison—to the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway and has since survived a venue transfer (the show is now playing at the Helen Hayes), many cast changes, arena-rock guest stars like Dee Snider and Bret Michaels and countless renditions of “Don't Stop Believin'.”
What do you like about being a production stage manager? Matthew DiCarlo: It's like the center hub of the whole operation. The actors, crew, designers, producers and company managers—everybody meets at the stage manager. Basically, my job is to maintain the show each day and keep it as close as possible to the way it was when it was originally set. That means doing everything like giving notes to the actors; calling the light, sound and scenic cues; running rehearsal; doing the schedule; taking care of the actors; getting ready for press events; dealing with the crew. The company of a Broadway show is like a family and I'm the mom.
Where do you recommend people go to eat and drink before and after the show? MD: Many tourists don't know to head over to Ninth Avenue for good food. Some of my favorite restaurants are a little bit off the beaten path. Definitely get dinner at Yum Yum Bangkok or Nizza. Schmackary's Cookies on 45th Street is amazing—sometimes one of us at Rock of Ages will buy them for everybody and we'll have Schmackary’s Sunday. For something that's a little bit fancy, I love the Glass House Tavern on 47th Street. On Restaurant Row, I like the Bourbon Street Bar & Grille and there's this really small restaurant called the Hourglass Tavern that's quiet and intimate. There are also some really crazy dive bars like Rudy's on Ninth Avenue and the Mercury, a fun sports bar. There's also this new wine bar that opened on Eighth Avenue called L'Ybane that has great tapas and awesome wine.
Do you have any insider tips on going to see a Broadway show? MD: I encourage everyone to go see a show that you don’t think you'll like, because a lot of times that’s the stuff that’s actually going to change you. I know so many people who didn’t think they'd like Rock of Ages and I tell them, “Just come and see what happens.” And they've loved it! I feel like Rock of Ages is kind of the underdog show—everyone’s like, “It’s going to be so loud, it’s going to be so crazy.” But people have the best time.