Mr. Semon, a 38-year-old native of South Carolina, initially attended the University of Cincinnati to pursue an acting career.
“But then they kicked me out,” he said with a laugh. “I was a bad actor.”
And it was in the required classes on theater production where he found his calling. He transferred into a stage managing track.
One of his earliest Broadway gigs was as an assistant stage manager for “Wicked.” Since then, in a nearly two decade career, he’s been behind the scenes for shows including “A Chorus Line,” “Cirque du Soleil Paramour” “Sunset Boulevard” and, most recently, the revival of “Angels In America,” starring Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield.
But he’s never been in a show where he’s become a character, complete with name, Ricky, and a costume, a lime green button-down shirt, baggy bluejeans, beat-up shoes and a tie — which is exactly what a technical director for a cable news show at the time might wear. “I have my ’70s glasses, which is sort of exactly what I wore when I was six years old,” Mr. Semon said. “I’m totally part of the newsroom.”
While he doesn’t have a line in the show, Ricky is referenced by an actor to give him a cue. And Mr. Semon needs to be very conscious of his comportment on stage. Early on in the show, Beale, Mr. Cranston’s character, says he is going to commit suicide. If the entire cast in the booth is in shock save one, the aesthetic is thrown off.
“It kind of gives the game away a little bit,” Mr. Raggett said.
In some camera angles, Mr. Semon is clearly visible behind Mr. Cranston, making his reactions all the more important.
“I’ve written through the calling book: ‘Look at Bryan.’ ‘Duck.’ ‘Move your chair,’” Mr. Semon said.