Beware of “The Muscle!”  Know “The Muscle!”  Fear “The Muscle!”

If you are working on any sort of live performance production, it is important for you to know who, in the production, has “The Muscle.”

“The Muscle” is the decision-maker on the show.  Whatever “The Muscle” say, goes. 

“The Muscle” can sometimes be a producer because it is their money on the line.

“The Muscle” is rarely, if ever, the Author or Playwright — they are seen as easily replaceable by everyone in the production — even though they never are in reality.

“The Muscle” is never the set designer or the light designer or the stage manager.

“The Muscle” on most projects is usually an actor, a composer — but never a lyricist — or a director.

People do not argue with “The Muscle.”  When “The Muscle” speaks, everyone gets in line and follows.

Challenges to “The Muscle” usually end in the blood of the challenger. 

Sometimes “The Muscle” from other shows come together to work on a whole new show and there is a fight between former “The Muscles” to see who will be “THE Muscle” on the new show. 

The winner of “The Muscle” fight is usually the one with the most recent success — and by “success” we do not mean award or accolades.  We mean:  Money.

Know “The Muscle.”  Accept that you are not “The Muscle.”  Hope “The Muscle” is on your side — if not, you can quickly find yourself quashed and on the street wondering what happened — even if “The Muscle” just twitched your way by accident.


  1. I know all about muscle. Problem happens when everyone thinks they have it when nobody really does. Can be a real mess. You do make a good point that nobody is equal. People like to think so but never. There are always power players to deal with both real and not so.

  2. Hoo boy. Muscle, to me, is one of the most intimidating aspects of theater.

  3. That’s excellent advice, Anne. You’re right that everyone thinks they have the muscle. The person who gets their vision on stage or in performance is The Muscle, though.

  4. It can be a good thing, though, Gordon — because The Muscle has found previous success and earned that power. The unfortunate thing happens when The Muscle doesn’t realize or want or exercise that power and the entire production shrinks and dies. Sometimes the wrong person is given The Muscle and the same disastrous results happen.

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