This time last week, I was heading to bed a bit earlier than usual for a Friday night – prepping for auditions the next morning. You see, this summer I’ll be directing a community theatre production of Godspell for M & M Stage Productions here in Central New Jersey.
Saturday and Sunday were long audition days, and man did they stress me out. I made it through the auditions – armed with a tall cup of bubble tea each day (original milk tea on Saturday and rose flavored fruit tea on Sunday – I’m a bit of a bubble tea addict.)
The biggest challenge the production staff faced those two days was determining what age range we were looking to cast. I’m choosing to set the production in a high school, and the audition notice stipulated that we were looking for ages 16 to 24 to play high schoolers. Well, we had people up through their late twenties showing up (and one man in his forties.) While a 26 year old may often play high school age onstage, when standing next to a 16 year old, there is a clear difference in both the physical maturity and performance maturity of the actors. We knew we needed to have a cast of either true teenagers or a cast of young adults to play teenagers, but could not have the performers’ ages span ten years. By the end of the day on Sunday (and after hours of debate,) we opted to call back performers who were truly age appropriate.
Tuesday evening was the callback audition, and let me tell you, if I have to hear the song Turn Back, O Man one more time, I might go crazy. Considering rehearsals begin in a few days, I’m sure I’ll be going crazy enough as it is.
By the end of the night, we had chosen a cast. I was more than surprised with the level of talent I saw at these auditions. I truly could have made five casts.
I sit here now, a week after auditions began, staring at my copy of the script. The real work is about to begin. Our first rehearsal is Sunday afternoon. Am I ready for this? Absolutely! (Am I ready to listen to Turn Back, O Man all summer long? …Not so much.)