Casting a musical…..
I have to admit it…..I hate casting. I am not good at it and I loathe it.
Why am I not good at it? I don’t know. I think it is a combination of not really seeing people for who they are, not having the imagination to see what others can see, and probably a bunch of other things. I do know when someone is talented. I know if they can sing well, I know if they can act when they read the script, and I can see if they can dance. But I am not great at casting as a whole.
That is why I rely on my team – associate producers, directors, choreographers, and their associates, as well as casting directors. Together we do our best to select the best actor for the job. Of course, we must take into account schedules, fees, etc.
Oh, and one thing beyond talent: Is the person I’m considering responsible, professional and cooperative. I have been burned more than once by actors who thought they were divas (male OR female!), who showed up late, were not yet off book in time, refused to take direction and adjust their performance. I have suffered on the sidelines from actors who were rigid in their dealings with other actors and backstage technicians. There is nothing worse than a fight in the dressing room! This kind of thing can ruin a show. So I have an unbreakable rule: collaboration trumps talent. I will pick a team player before a more talented performer every time.
So I have learned to check references very carefully. If I am interested in hiring an actor, I will look at their resume, ask who they have recently worked with. Then I will call or email the director or producer of those previous gigs. Only after I have that input, will I make the offer.
For many years I was an actor. Because of that experience, I have great respect for those brave souls who “trod the boards.” And I, as a producer, want to treat them very well. But in return, I expect them to be prepared, respectful and collaborative. And, yes, make no mistake: I expect them to be talented and creative, as well. And when all this comes together, what a joy it is!
I am still learning about casting. Many of my colleagues tell me they know immediately if someone is right for a role….not me…not yet.