Melissa Ruge is a Ventura County based freelance stage manager and the Production Manager at the Lehrer Vocal Institute of Music Academy of the West. Her love of storytelling through performance started at an early age singing, acting, and dancing at community events and producing small scale shows for her family and friends.
She is grateful for the college professors that recognized her passion for performing arts, love of organizing, and her leadership skills, encouraging her to follow the path of Stage Management. Melissa has had a fulfilling career working at companies across the U.S. including Santa Fe Opera, Portland Opera, and Opera Carolina. She has worked extensively at LA Opera in various capacities, including Stage Manager, Assistant Director, and as a member of the administrative team. In addition, some of her favorite events to stage manage are one day events such as Hilarity for Charity with Seth Rogan and Disney On Broadway at D23. Most recently, her experience expanded to include producing, managing, and show calling corporate events.
Her teaching includes the basics of stage management, as well as techniques to manage stress, develop interpersonal skills, and live a full well-rounded life. She believes stage management at its best is the facilitation of creativity and encourages her students to adapt their practices to the individual needs of each project. Melissa believes the best way to learn is by doing and enjoys mentoring young stage managers as they develop their skills and gain experience working on CalArts productions and beyond.