Broadway Q & A with Dr. Meagan Robichaud
As the Broadway season finishes up for summer, we sit down with the Director of Dance Medicine and Avon Clinic Coordinator, Dr. Meagan Robichaud, PT, DPT to get the inside scoop about Broadway and backstage coverage in CT! She answers all the questions that may have crossed your mind after seeing our updates about our Broadway Tour this year.
How are you able to provide coverage for all these shows?
The dance medicine team at Magna including myself, Dr. Laura Fetko, and our CEO Dr. Brian Magna are all contracted through an amazing company called Neuro Tour. Neuro Tour has offices in Atlanta, New York, and London in which they provide specialized services for performers on the Broadway stage. But, when traveling shows come through CT, Neuro Tour calls us out to provide coverage for those shows that don’t have a traveling PT with them. Our therapists each spent a weekend with the staff of Neuro Tour to get our certification to provide backstage PT.
What is each PT session like for the performers?
Each session for the performers is only 20 minutes long. We are typically there for 2 hours at a time which means we see roughly six performers during that time. The time can go by very quickly so when the performer arrives the first minute or so is spent checking in and seeing what we will be treating. Then we jump right into our quick assessment which lasts no more than 3 minutes. Yes, that's right, 3 minutes. The rest of the time is spent treati
ng and doing anything we can to affect the problem and reduce the performers pain to get them back on the stage that night! It is fast paced but that's what makes it so different from our daily jobs and SO fun!
What shows have you done so far?
This season we have done Rent, The Band’s Visit, Dear Evan Hansen, Waitress, Pretty Woman, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fiddler on the Roof, and Kiss My Aztec. We will be wrapping up this season with Hairspray this weekend!
What theaters and venues have you provided PT coverage at?
This season for theaters we went to The Bushnell in Hartford, CT, the Fox Theater at Foxwoods Casino, The Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, CT, the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT, the Shubert Theater in New Haven, CT, and Hartford Stage. In the past we have also provided coverage at the Warner Theater in Torrington, CT.
What is your favorite thing about working with performers through the shows?
My favorite thing about this coverage is absolutely the people you get to meet. It has been such a treat getting to know so many different performers and learning what their past journeys were that allowed them to have the successes they have had so far. On top of that, it is very refreshing to really feel like you are making a difference in their lives and having an impact on their performance in just 20 minutes. It is easy to feel burnt out as a physical therapist from time to time, but it is moments like those that really make you step back and realize that you are making a difference and it’s not small.
What is your least favorite thing about working the shows in CT?
On the back end of what I just said, there are definitely times where 20 minutes does not feel like enough to be able to make a difference. That can be a very hard thing to grasp because when working in the clinic at Magna, we don’t have time limits. So, having to be strict on time management can be tough when there isn’t time to do everything you think may be applicable for that performer. The fast pace can be overwhelming sometimes but I am loving what it is doing for my career and what I can bring back to my patient’s in the clinic from what I am learning.
How long have you been doing this for?
I started working at Magna two years ago and unfortunately during that time, Broadway was shut down due to the pandemic. Last year, around this time I flew out to Atlanta to take the weekend course with Neuro Tour to get certified with the hope that Broadway would open back up finally in the fall…and it did! So I have been working these shows with Neuro Tour for just over a year now.
Check out our most recent reel on Instagram to catch a behind the scenes look at what goes on during our coverage through Neuro Tour as I closed out with Kiss My Aztec at the Hartford Stage!