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Photographer Takes Public Behind the Scenes on Broadway in Exhibit

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One of photographer Chad Kraus’s images taken of the cast of “Jagged Little Pill.” An exhibit of his photos from behind the scenes on Broadway will be on display starting Sunday and running through Apr. 30 at the Radius Gallery at Arc Stages in Pleasantville.

Most of the work coming out of Chad Kraus’s Pleasantville photography studio are the images he captures for couples and families on some of their most special days – weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and other celebrations and parties.

Starting this Sunday and continuing through Apr. 30, local residents and theater lovers will get to see a different side of his repertoire.

A 23-photograph exhibit titled “From the Wings: Broadway Behind the Scenes” will open in the Radius Gallery at Arc Stages in Pleasantville. It’s a collection of both black and white and color photos that help tell the story of the process of putting together a Broadway production, from the first rehearsal to the final run-through, opening night, cast parties and other off-stage moments that most audiences don’t often see.

“Definitely the initial vision was to give the viewers a look inside the making of a Broadway show and all of the people,” said Kraus, who was introduced to the Broadway assignments through his younger brother who is a vice president of a New York City digital marketing firm that does work for many productions. “It takes a village, all of the people that go into it.”

Kraus was approached by Stuart Vance, the creative director of Radius Gallery who has curated the artistic exhibits at the Art Stages space since before the pandemic. For Vance, a painter and graphic artist himself, the main mission of the gallery is to bring professional-level work to local audiences.

Vance said it made sense for him to reach out to Kraus, whom he credits with having a great eye, along with the fact that the gallery is at Arc Stages, a professional community theater.

“In the case of Chad, it really was sort of a light-bulb moment for both of us, I think,” Vance said. “Literally, this is sort of a perfect fit for the content. It is a little bit unusual for what we have been doing. We’ve been more focused on what you would call traditional art forms, traditional content of art. But I think in this case it’s really great, it’s a great crossover because Chad has a really strong vision in the way that he approaches photography.”

Images that will be on display are from “Wicked,” “Pretty Woman,” “MJ The Musical,” which has had a postponed opening and is scheduled to debut next month, and “Jagged Little Pill.”

It’s also natural for Kraus to have an affinity for the theater and actors. A childhood actor who appeared in commercials, he is a graduate of the High School of Performing Arts in New York City and studied acting at a conservatory for the arts at Webster University in Missouri.

His photography work behind the scenes on Broadway has also highlighted the hard-working, yet famous actors he has interacted with, who have mostly respected everyone on the set. Kraus has worked with Tony Award winners Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Platt, Kristen Chenowith, Lauren Patten and Katrina Lenk.

The nature of a live audience where there needs to be give-and-take between patrons and the actors is likely a big part of the reason why that’s the case, Kraus said.

“I’ve witnessed some really well-known actors and actresses who give of themselves really beautifully and always treating everyone with kindness and respect, whether it’s the stagehand or the lighting designer or the costume designer or the photographer,” he said.

Kraus said that over the past two years he looks at his work differently with Broadway having been shuttered for about 18 months from the start of the pandemic. During the swift emergence of the Omicron variant through the holidays and into this month, a number of productions have closed temporarily but some have been shut permanently.

On Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m. there will be an opening reception at Arc Stages, although the program has been somewhat curtailed. There will be a viewing in the first hour and a Q&A in the theater during the second hour. The originally scheduled food and drink has been eliminated, but Kraus and Vance hope to have a closing reception in April when the virus is hopefully waning.

“After almost two years of COVID and people feeling a lot of isolation, it’s really refreshing to bring people together, especially around the arts, which has really struggled around COVID, the whole arts community, not just Broadway but artists in general and just that overall sense of coming together that has been lacking for almost two years, the more we can do with that the better,” Kraus said.

A portion of the proceeds of any of Kraus’s framed prints sold during the exhibit will go toward Arc Stages’ various programs.

Radius Gallery is located at Arc Stages at 147 Wheeler Ave. in Pleasantville.

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