Before the footlights

upon the stage; - hence, in the capacity of an actor.

See also: Footlight

References in classic literature ?
To be before the footlights,' continued the dismal man, 'is like sitting at a grand court show, and admiring the silken dresses of the gaudy throng; to be behind them is to be the people who make that finery, uncared for and unknown, and left to sink or swim, to starve or live, as fortune wills it.
It boasts thirty-two engaging dancers who all get their chance before the footlights in an imaginative repertory that would provide a remarkable history of European and American ballet if they were staged all in one year.