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Interview with Audrey Cobbs

Nevaeh Brown ’25

 This past fall, the AFS community was transported into a world where scarecrows could talk and lions could show fear in the magically weird world of The Wiz. The Wiz was a large success, especially amongst parents who remembered watching the original movie from 1978. One of the people largely responsible for the production’s success was stage manager Audrey Cobbs ‘24. Cobbs had no previous experience in stage managing a show but took the opportunity as a way to be more involved in her fourth show. The following is an interview that I had with Audrey about her experience managing her first show. 

This interview has been edited for clarity. 

Jean: Have you ever watched The Wiz before and if so, who’s your favorite character and why?

Cobbs: I watched the movie with Diana Ross and Michael Jackson before and I learned that they would play it all the time in my preschool for my parents when I was doing the show which was really weird. But my favorite character is probably the Scarecrow because watching the movie–like watching Michael Jackson–for example he does such a fantastic job and he really embodies the character and I think in the production that we did, Jess did a fantastic job doing the same thing.”

Jean: Is this your first time stage managing a show and if not, what other shows have you managed ? 

Cobbs: “So it’s my first time stage managing a show but I’ve been on stage crew. This is my fourth show being on stage crew. It was definitely a jump but really fun.”

Jean: Can you highlight any struggles that appeared while directing the Wiz?

Cobbs: “I think one struggle was learning like the pace of the show. Like when we got into tech, and I had to learn all of the cues for lighting and sound and all of the set changes and the show moves really fast so there’s a lot of moments where I have to like call a bunch of cues and tell everyone what to do at the same time, so I think learning the pace of the show was definitely the hardest part.”

Jean: How do you handle logistical aspects such as scheduling rehearsals, coordinating with other school activities, and managing the overall timeline to ensure a smooth and well-executed production?

Cobbs: “That required a lot of organization so Rainy Flack (‘24), my assistant stage manager, was really on top of all of the organizing. We had a ton of spreadsheets and google documents. We had a google form that everyone in the cast and crew filled out before we even started rehearsals that was like ‘do you have any conflicts with rehearsals?’ and ‘what day of the week would that be?’ and then we would put that into a spreadsheet so that we would know when people would be gone. If someone was gone, we would take notes for them so that during the next rehearsal, they could get those notes.”

Jean: Were you involved in the set design of the play and if so, what was your vision to transform the stage and bring the audience into the world of The Wiz?

Cobbs: “ I wasn’t that involved in the design. All of it was Seth Schmitt-Hall. But building the set sometimes we would talk and he would often talk about what his plans were to me and Rainy and the ramps were honestly like a brilliant idea of his.”

Jean: Do you plan to be involved in the Three Sisters play coming up for the spring? Like directing it or being on stage crew?

Cobbs: “I was thinking about being on stage crew for Three Sisters–I’m not totally sure yet if I want to do it but it seems like a really cool production.” 

Jean: Is there any other show that you would like to stage manage? 

Cobbs: “I do love Mary Poppins and if I were to like stage manage the show, I think it would be so much fun.”

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