Carl Pasbjerg (pronounced pass-byairg) is the company manager for Steel Pier. Most of the time that means he's busy taking care of the logistics, payments and general business end of the show. "Steel Pier started previews with a $2.6 million advance," Pasbjerg told Playbill On Line, "and still have a remaining advance of $1.9 million. Hopefully the reviews will go well, because it's such a busy season with so many openings competing for the same basic market, we may need it. Of course, we're not alone in that -- which is a cold comfort, I guess."
For opening night, a company manager's duties expand to incorporate seating and the big post-show party. Pier marks Pasberg's fourth opening night on Broadway, with previous events being Victor/Victoria, Taking Sides and National Actors Theatre's Inherit The Wind. Asked if he had any blazing memories of first night triumphs or travails, Pasbjerg replied, "Everybody wants a seat right in the center orchestra, and obviously, you have a very limited capacity. But you have to take care of the author, stars, director, choreographer, designers. It's like trying to put a huge jigsaw puzzle together. You've got the party, as well as money and funds for tickets, as well as transportation logistics for bringing the correct staff together. There tends to be a lot of hoopla on opening night; it's like trying to throw a royal wedding. At Pier we'll have about 1,000 guests. On Victor/Victoria we had close to 1,800 at the party. Just keeping that under control, and stopping gate-crashers is a job. I'm kind of the middle-man who everybody goes through, and all the problems come back to me and need to be solved immediately."
Playbill On-Line asked Pasbjerg if he has any special ritual for getting through an opening night. "You mean besides prayer?," he replied. "My ritual starts ten days to two weeks ahead of time when you're finalizing all the lists and invitations and planning. It ends by the end of the party that night. The day of opening I take an hour and fifteen minutes, take a shower, throw on my tuxedo and get relatively dolled up. It's when you can take a second and think about what you're doing instead of being in the midst of doing it."