I love the tradition of opening night gifts for the cast. I think it rewards them for the hard work they’ve put in up to that point. I always try to include a personalized card with something I’ve appreciated about their personality through the rehearsal process, but I really like to include a little something else. On some shows the schedule gets so hectic it winds up being a piece of candy slapped onto the card, but when I have enough time, I like to do a little better.
That being said, I also don’t want to spend a mint on them because stage management salaries are what they are. Even cast size can really alter what I wind up getting for them. With that in mind, here are 5 of my favorite opening night gifts.
Stickers are really underrated because they don’t really ever stop being fun. They also have the benefit of being gluten, vegan, vegetarian, Paleo – whatever the heck else your cast can’t eat – friendly. There are also stickers for everything. I found these cute vintage 1920’s-esque stickers that would’ve worked well for opening night at the Midnight Frolic.
An isle that should not be overlooked in the dollar store is the toy isle. If your show has an animal theme, this is definitely a place to check out. A great Charlotte’s Web opening night gift can be a Dollar Tree tube of farm yard animals parceled out with your note cards. I’ve found brain teasers that would work well for Proof. You really never know what you’ll find there.
These adorable theater themed buttons from Etsy pair well with a personalized opening night note. It’s also really easy to find inexpensive buttons on Etsy that might better fit the theme of your show. I found cute dinosaur themed buttons that would’ve been perfect for the opening night of Dinosaur Train. You can pick up a box of blank note cards from the Dollar Tree.
If you have a lot of singers in your cast, pick up a box of throat coat and then hit the Dollar Tree for mugs. Sometimes they have really adorable ones, but if they don’t, pick up a white one and personalize them with a sharpie. If you’ve got artistic skills, try to draw the show logo. If you’re artistically challenged like me, go with their name or one of their character’s lines. There’s a real easy tutorial on how to make dishwasher safe sharpie art on mugs here.
Sometimes you have a gigantic cast and even $5 per person isn’t realistic. Honestly, even $1 can be pushing it. Times like these call for even more creativity. You can still provide an opening night pick me up with some cardstock, ribbon, a big bag of bargain chocolate and personalized show pencils (because they never seem to have their own, amiright?). Cut the cardstock into strips and write a little opening night note on it (or even print it out before cutting to save severe writers cramp) and tie the pencil and piece of candy to it.