It's Opening Night! Now what?
Congratulations! You made it to Opening Night! You deserve a big sigh of relief, you did the best you could and brought another story to life. However, there are a few more tasks you need to make sure are taken care of before you can start to celebrate.
Send thank-you notes to the team and/or give them small gifts.
You can get custom company to thank you cards at Staples for pretty cheap, which is great for donors too. Thank you's don't have to be extravagant, people just want to celebrate and feel appreciated
An opening night gala/party is a great way to celebrate the show, thank donors/investors. Even if it is just you all meeting up at a restaurant, bar, or someone's house after opening.
Pay everyone! Most final installments for designers and production teams are paid on opening since their work is "done."
If you hand out checks it's a best practice to make people sign that they received them. If you would prefer to mail checks make sure you keep track of when it was sent out.
Make sure you have backup plans to know what maintenance is needed for the show. Each show will have specific needs to keep it going, but below are some examples of questions to ask yourself. It's best to have a plan of how to fix or replace something before it breaks so that you don't have to waste time trying to figure out a plan B mid-run.
Front of house
Do you have enough programs?
How far ahead of time do you need to order more programs?
Who is picking up concessions?
How do you deal with VIP guests?
If you can't be there, who is the go-to for emergencies?
Who is picking up and maintaining perishable props?
Who is managing laundry for costumes?
What happens if something breaks or needs to be replaced? (Set, Costume, Prop, Lighting, etc.)
Do you have a plan in place if anyone calls in sick or has a conflict (understudy actors/musicians/house staff/tech team etc.)
Do you have a plan if someone has to leave the run early?
Do you have a plan for a potential extension?
Double-check if it makes sense with the budget to do an extension. Do you have enough money to cover the costs of extending rental equipment, the extended hours of staff and performers, there are things that add up quickly to an extension budget so make sure it makes sense with your profit margins.
If you are interested in extending, you would need to start early! Ask your cast/crew their availability at the first inkling that an extension might be in the cards and check with the venue’s availability (and check with equipment rental houses etc too)
Make sure the whole team has as much notice as possible.