Sharon delPilar: Interview With A Theatrical Stage Manager
Sharon delPilar is a professional stage manager for live theatrical shows. With over 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry, she began her career working at Walt Disney World. After 3 years in Orlando, she made the move to New York City and worked for a Broadway producing office, working on award-winning shows such as The Producers (starring Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane), Hairspray (starring Harvey Fierstein and Matthew Morrison) and Flower Drum Song (starring Lea Salonga). She also toured the US with productions of Flower Drum Song and Legally Blonde.
3 years later, Sharon relocated to Las Vegas, where she currently resides. She has worked on numerous large-scale musicals on the Las Vegas Strip such as Phantom of the Opera, Jersey Boys, We Will Rock You, Spamalot, and Rock of Ages, as well as Cirque du Soleil, America’s Got Talent Live, and most recently with Channing Tatum on Magic Mike Live.
Hi Sharon, thanks for talking with us at TheatreArtLife! How are you doing, and how are you coping with the pandemic at the moment?
Thanks for having me. It’s been quite a year and a half, but considering all the challenges, I think I’ve managed to be quite productive. The time off gave me the opportunity to take time to work on projects at home that I had been meaning to take care of for years, reassess what I want out of life and career, learn new skills, find ways to improve both personally and professionally, and network. I’ve just recently returned to work, so I’m rebuilding my stamina and implementing some new ideas I’ve come up with over the last several months.
Your career has spanned across theatre and entertainment, so how did you get your start in the industry, and what first inspired you and drew you to the Arts?
I got my start in entertainment through the Disney College Program. While I loved theater growing up, I didn’t ever consider it as a career path. The College Program gave me exposure into theme park entertainment with parades and shows. After some time working at Walt Disney World, I took an internship in NYC with a Broadway producing company and learned about the business side of professional theater, while volunteering my time with non-profit theater companies to learn about and gain experience in stage management.
Like I mentioned, I enjoyed theater growing up, having participated in shows in high school (ensemble, orchestra, and tech crew), but at that time, I didn’t consider it as a career path for me. It wasn’t until my time at Walt Disney World that I realized entertainment could be something to pursue professionally, and my time in NYC sealed the deal for me.
How did your path progress from starting out in the industry to where you are now, and what did that journey look like?
While I was interning in NYC and volunteering with non-profit theater companies, I gained a lot of knowledge about the business and production sides of professional theater. Through these opportunities, I really took to stage management. While I gained a deep appreciation for each aspect of theatrical productions, I really gravitated towards stage management and made the decision to pursue that avenue.
I am grateful to the many people who gave me opportunities to learn and grow and those who gave me a chance and have supported me over the many years in my career.
You’ve worked on so many fabulous shows, is it possible to choose your favourite moments or highlights so far?
It’s tough to pick just one, as each production I’ve had the honor of being a part of has had their special moments. Hairspray Broadway was an incredible experience for me, in that I was a part of a few readings of the show as well as the out-of-town tryout in Seattle before it moved to Broadway.
Witnessing firsthand the evolution and creation of the show and hearing the audience’s reaction for the first time is indescribable.
Another moment would be when Brian May, guitarist of Queen, made a surprise appearance in We Will Rock You in Las Vegas, playing the Bohemian Rhapsody solo – the audience went crazy!
But for all shows I’ve worked on, a highlight is collaborating with many wonderful people from all over the world bringing spectacular and memorable experiences for guests, audience members, and fans.
And conversely, what has been the biggest obstacle or challenge you’ve overcome in your work?
An ongoing challenge in our industry is finding a balance between our personal and professional lives. I think the last year and a half has forced many of us to reassess what’s important and find ways to improve our mental, physical, and emotional health. It’s a continuing challenge for me, but it’s an important one to keep working on because I love what I do and also value time with my family.
What advice would you give to your younger self if you could go back in time? What do you wish you knew then that you know now?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Despite what you may feel, you aren’t expected to know everything and have all the answers. Lean on your colleagues, and don’t try to do everything yourself.
And looking to the future, what can we look forward to next from you? Are you currently working on anything?
After a year and a half away, I’m so happy to be returning to Channing Tatum’s Magic Mike Live in Las Vegas. We are currently in pre-production and will be starting rehearsals very soon. We have a brand-new venue and will have some changes to our original show when we begin performances in late August. We’ll also be filming an unscripted series for HBOMax, which will air later this year.
Aside from Magic Mike Live, I’ve also expanded into the professional sports industry in game and event presentation. I’m looking forward to working for the Las Vegas Raiders NFL team this upcoming season as we welcome fans to the stadium for the first time.