CR Opera’s college intern Maggie McClellan helps out behind the scenes


Maggie McClellan is a senior at Cornell College and an opera and theater enthusiast who volunteered to help the Cedar Rapids Opera’s staff with some projects that needed doing. We’re so glad she stepped up!


Since February, Maggie has worked on a props inventory, a master list of eastern Iowa venues for performances and gatherings (including lighting specs and seating), and a detailed orientation manual to help opera Production Managers get their bearings quickly before a performance.


Opera props are stored in the Cherry Building in the NewBo District, and Maggie had fun creating the inventory document. “There were two giant bins of fake food, and I had to count how many oranges and how many bananas,” she says. “It’s been interesting!”


Maggie also served on the Production Team with the Opera in 2020 during Madama Butterfly at the Paramount Theatre. She was an Assistant Stage Manager in charge of the care of the two young boys who shared the critical role of Sorrow, Butterfly’s son. Maggie enjoyed getting the boys ready for their scenes and finding ways to keep them quiet while waiting in the wings.

At Cornell, Maggie is majoring in Theater with a minor in Economics and Business. A resident of Waukee, IA, she will graduate in May. This summer, she will work at Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan, where she will help campers produce a play.


In the fall, Maggie plans to begin graduate studies in a three-year stage management program. Her top choice is Columbia University, but she is also looking at the University of Iowa and Virginia Tech.


“When people ask me what a stage manager does, I feel like it’s a hard question to answer because we do so much,” says Maggie. “We’re sort of the center of communication; we bring everything together.”


We do not doubt that Maggie will “bring everything together” in her career as a stage manager. Thank you, Maggie!


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