If I am able to pay the bills and be emotionally fulfilled by the project I'm working on, I'm satisfied by that."
Like so many others on Broadway, Sara Cox Bradley ’04 is an overnight success many years in the making. A decade after graduating from Bucknell, Bradley has built a steady career as a freelance theater production professional in New York City. Her credits include behind-the-scenes positions in Elf, South Pacific and The Importance of Being Earnest, among others. Most recently, she landed a role as assistant stage manager for The Book of Mormon at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre.
"It's all about networking and establishing connections, and doing good work so that they'll want to hire me again," Bradley says.
While she admits that luck and timing also play a role in procuring work, Bradley has done her part by being ready to capitalize on opportunities as they arise. Her road to the Great White Way began in high school when she "fell hard" for theater and discovered stage management. "I can't act my way out of a paper bag," she says.
At Bucknell, Bradley was active in campus productions and also found work on community theater projects, as well as internship opportunities. She added an MFA in stage management from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and moved to New York in 2008. She worked as a production assistant for various projects on and off Broadway, gradually moving into larger shows and taking on more responsibility.
Bradley joined The Book of Mormon production team in January as one of three stage managers who act as communication hubs among all the disparate groups that come together to produce a show — from actors, musicians and choreography directors to costume and set designers. Depending on the night, she may be "calling" the show — making sure all cues are executed on time — or be down in the trenches ensuring that scenery is in place, costumes are changed and actors are ready to hit their marks.
Big shows like this one can be exhilarating, but Bradley has also enjoyed working on more intimate productions away from the bright lights of Broadway. "There are so many different types of theater, you can fall into any of them. You just have to decide what you find satisfying artistically and financially," she says. "I guess I've always summed it up like this: If I am able to pay the bills and be emotionally fulfilled by the project I'm working on, I'm satisfied by that."