How to Do a Curtain Call

By Contributor ; Updated September 15, 2017

How to Do a Curtain Call. The curtain call means everything to the production of a play even though it isn't staged until the last rehearsal before the start of the official dress rehearsals. The timing and sequence of a curtain needs to be followed exactly in these steps, so the spirit of the theatrical performance is never lost.

Bring the ensemble cast out on to the stage and align them, so they all can be seen. If it is a large production, like a musical, then bring them out in two or three groups both from right or left stage, coming center and moving downstage for group bows. Immediately they go upstage without turning their back on the audience as they applaud.

Present the supporting roles from right and left stage. They come center stage and move quickly where they take center downstage and bow to the audience. Immediately move up stage toward center stage while the audience is applauding.

Have the lead actors enter from right and left center stage. Each actor, by themselves, move quickly down center stage, singly take a bow, applause from the audience and move either to the right or left of the stage, making room for the next lead to come down stage and take his single bow. Continue until all leads have done their individual bows.

Take a moment to have the whole cast bow together for one final applause. Keep smiling.

Captivate the moment, after all the actors have bowed for the curtain call, if the play is a musical, the actors gesture to the orchestra for the audience to applaud their brilliant work.

Draw the attention to the special effects or lighting as the actors on stage gesture for an applause from the audience.

Bring the curtain down immediately or bring the lights down to black. Actors leave the stage quickly. Music up. Bring the lights up to "preshow" or "post-show".

Tip

All actors should enter evenly from left and right stage together. They should arrive together at center stage, smiling with high energy, and then moving quickly downstage for their bow. If there is a superstar of the play is based on an individual character, like in Annie or Phantom of the Opera, the actor who plays the lead part is the last one to bow for the curtain call. Curtain calls must be very quick and to the point. Short and sweet is the operative word. You don't want to drown a great production by a long and boring curtain call. Curtain calls need to be upbeat or at least a notch above the overall tone of the play, so you don't bring the audience down. Instead you bring them up to a fantastic performance. If the curtain call is for a musical, have the orchestra play music throughout the curtain call. The music should be upbeat and appropriate.

Warning

Do not bow until the whole ensemble is together downstage. Time it like a dance step, choreography, where everyone bows together.

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