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Super Database Up and Running

Up to now, knowledge about Supers, their costume sizes and other predilections, has been an amorphous blend of neurons in the heads of current and former Captains, Excel spreadsheets, and hastily scribbled notes on scraps of paper. At long last, we have established a beachhead on the twenty-first century in the form of an up-to-date Access database.

Carrie can now get a set of requirements from the costume shop and immediately come up with a list of people who are in the proper range. She can then refine the search by looking at individual records, which have a lot of relevant data such as all the productions one has been in, whether you are available for daytime rehearsals, a picture and so on. “My job,” she smiles, “has become a lot easier. It is a fantastic thing that makes me incredibly happy and relieved. Unfortunately there won't be any need for it until next fall, as this spring is so sadly Super-dry."

Two people have by and large been responsible for getting this in shape: Randy Graham of the Opera's IS (Information Systems) department configured the Access database and converted existing electronic files; and Kara Coddington, an intern, did the great bulk of the data input, in the main from last July's Super “cattle call.” Then Carrie refined and pruned the data where appropriate. “Like if I had the measurements for someone, but no contact information and he hadn't supered for a long time, he was dropped.” Still, 468 Supers (including children) remain at this writing.

A lot of the performance data came from the Opera's new perfomance archive website, an amazing repository of information from the 1923 season on up, with complete casts (including all Supers!), schedules, and a nice search feature.

Stay tuned: when the site goes live (est: early summer), we'll be the first to know and we will include some tips'n'tricks for Supers. We know the first thing everyone wants to do is to look him- or herself up.

Kara (above) was here on a nine-week internship from Principia, a small Christian Science-oriented college near St. Louis. She is a native of Milwaukee, now a business major who loves to sing — Musical Theater — and, as a junior, is not quite sure which way her life will turn out with two such interests. She said she felt very fortunate to have found this merging of her interests here, loved San Francisco, but “now that I have been here, I probably won't be looking at singing opera as a career.”

But we Supers are most grateful for the fine work she did on our behalf.