There are really 2 major issues with foundation for stage makeup: 1) not wearing any at all and 2) wearing the wrong shade.
1) Not wearing foundation
This is a common mistake as some folks don't like to wear foundation. Let me tell you, though, that it shows when you're not wearing any foundation. The purpose of the foundation is to even out your skin tone. Under the bright spotlights of the stage or even with distance, while you'd think that the little flaws in your skin would disappear, they tend to actually come to the forefront (for example, the red spots on your face will be even more prominent).
There are a number of foundation formulations available so, surely, you can find something that you'll like better. The key is finding it. If you go to Sephora or MAC, they can apply foundation for you and you can see whether you like it or not. Otherwise, you can take a chance on some products.
Foundation is definitely not something that you want to skimp on: good foundation goes a long way and you'll like it much better than a cheap one... and it will be better for your skin too.
2) Wearing the wrong shade
There are a few things about this. I think that, nowadays, most people know to check the exact foundation color on your face vs. the back of your hand. The latter used to be how people were selecting foundation but the exact shade of the skin is different between the two.
The little known fact, though, is that you should use a foundation color that's one shade darker than your skin shade. This is especially true if you will be under bright spotlights. The thing is that the brightness will make you look a shade paler... so if you're using your regular shade, you'll look a bit ghostly. I personally play with that: I often want to have an eerie look on stage so using my regular shade (or one shade paler) will have the ghostly effect without needing to use any actual white. ;)
So if you're looked at pictures of yourself from stage and thought that you looked oh so pale... that's what happened: you needed a foundation that's one shade darker. While you may think that a darker shade will look odd, it actually won't if you truly go just one shade darker. A good foundation brand will have minute variations that will allow you to choose something that will a drastic contrast to your natural shade.