I finished my three rounds of auditions, then callbacks, and entered the deciding phase for both productions. Even though one of the shows isn’t happening for months, I hate leaving people hanging. I figure once they express an interest and willingness to be in a show, it is just common courtesy to give them an answer in a timely manner. Selfishly, I want to get a commitment from the ones I want to work with before they are snatched up by some other director for a competing show!
So, I just posted a cast list for Xanadu. Or at least a nearly complete cast list. I still have a few decisions to make. I also cast another show this past week, and started rehearsing it last night. It has been a whirlwind of callbacks, deciding, considering, planning. Hence, no posts for days.
Sometimes the whole process can throw me for a loop. I’ve had people show up at rehearsals who haven’t been cast, still feeling hopeful, I guess, or perhaps not really understanding the audition process. It’s bad enough to reject someone in an impersonal way (email: sorry, you didn’t make the cut), but to have to essentially do it twice? No fun.
I’ve frequently had people drop out very early in the game. even between auditions and the first rehearsal. It goes with the territory, and I sometimes even try to plan ahead for it. I once cast a group of 80-some people for a large theatrical/choral production, which was more than I really even wanted. What was I thinking? By the time we opened, dropouts had brought us down to 63 people, which is about what I had aimed for initially. It turned out for the best, as I didn’t need to replace those who quit. More often, dropouts are a problem that must be dealt with by the director, but they can also work to an actor’s advantage.
My first big role in high school, as Lucille in No, No, Nanette (a show that no one ever does anymore, but is really very cute) was the result of replacing the girl for whom I was the understudy. She got sick and had to drop out. My most recent role on stage, as Truvy in Steel Magnolias, was also a role that was initially given to another, who also needed to drop out for health reasons. I so appreciate people who are willing to jump in with a good attitude and not feel slighted for being a second choice. Xanadu’s Broadway star, Cheyenne Jackson, who was a perfect Sonny, took on the role after the initial lead was injured in a (wait for it…) roller skating accident. Only in New York!