You know, going to the stage door after the show can make for a very pleasant and social 45 minutes or so, as you wait for the actors to emerge. My experiences, for the most part, have brought me some really interesting conversations with fellow stage door "waiters." Some folks that wait have never come to a stage door before; they've come to the show to see their very favorite actor and would love to at least see the actor up close and maybe, just maybe, get a photo or an autograph. Others are pros at the stage door experience and can give you tips or tell you great stories about the times they met this star or that star and what that actor was like. It also doesn't hurt to be gracious and pleasant to the person beside you; they may make room for you up closer, lend you their felt tip marker, pass your Playbill forward for the actor to sign, or take a photo for you of you with the actor if you're by yourself.
I've talked to all manner of fans: senior citizens who are theater geeks and spend their retirement going to the theater (unlike me who isn't waiting, and won't be able to afford to retire because I spend so much time going to the theater now :)); musical theater students who are quivering with excitement to just be there and dream of their future; and shrieking teenagers who didn't even see the show but whose life will be complete once they glimpse Daniel Radcliffe :).
I have also been shown great kindness by people who allowed me to press in closer to get that signature on my Playbill. I remember many of them; and though I may never see them again, for that "brief, shining moment" we were comrades armed with markers and Playbills :).
Stage Door Tales
Every stage door has a story.