Musical theatre workshops and productions

Casting and Auditioning….part 2

I have already written blogs about casting and auditioning, but I thought there was room for one more. I say this because we just held auditions for our production of NUMBERS NERDS to be performed at the New York Musical Festival this July.

We started with our first appointment at 9:45am.  A brave young man sang two songs and read from the script….all before 10am!  Throughout the day, we saw over 50 performers audition.  At the end of the day, I had a conversation with one of the panelists and we chatted about what we saw.  Here are some of our thoughts for actors who are audition.

BE PREPARED – Many of the actors who auditioned were very prepared, they came into the room, looked the panelists in the eye and gave us their picture and resume. But some were not prepared.  They entered the room almost apologetically.  They presented us with their materials, then went over to the pianist to discuss their song.  Knowing that their time in the room with the producing team was limited, they still took valuable time discussing the song with the pianist. (Of course you must discuss tempos, etc.  but not much more – your sheet music should be clearly marked.)

YOUR SONG SHOULD BE A PERFORMANCE – We want to see “performance” quality in your songs.  They must be memorized and they must be right for you.  Hire a director to help you if you are unsure of your performance.  They should “almost” be choreographed.  I am not suggesting that actors dance their auditions, but they should include basic staging and acting reference points.  Make a DECISION about where you will stand, whether you will move, what you will do with your hands, and so on.

HAVE FUN – We want you to be right for the role.  We want to have this casting decision made for us.  We are on your side.  So…..have fun with it.  Especially if the musical is a comedy – which ours is — make sure you do what you can to make us laugh.  We want to see your sense of humor.  And no matter what kind of show, we want to “meet” your personality.

GO WITH THE FLOW – If you are asked to do a cold reading – DO IT.  You can ask questions – “What is happening in this scene?  What are you looking for in this character?”  If you are asked to sing another song, ask the panelists “What do you want to hear?” or “What are you looking for?  Vocal range?  Acting ability?”  Help us to get to know you quickly.

Now, with all this said…casting is about many things in addition to talent.  How does the cast look as a whole?  Has anyone worked with this actor before – or who can we call to get a reference?  There are a lot of variables over which you have absolutely no control.  So accept that.  Let us see the best you. And then trust that, sooner or later, you will be “right” for the role.

Larry Little

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