We were talking about the audition processes for 42ND Street Moon and we heard from some Moon Actors.
Today, we’re lookin’ at things from across the table.
The first time the Director interacts with the actors is, of course, at the auditions. This is a monumental task. Directors will see dozens if not hundreds (in the case of a Broadway show or National Tour, possibly thousands) of actors before they pick the handful that will go in their show.
The Directors at Moon have to base their judgments on these auditions and a callback. Moon doesn't have the luxury of being able to call an actor or actress back four times—like Jerry Zaks did to Faith Prince for her Tony Award winning role in the 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls… because “he just wasn’t sure.”
In some cases, Moon Directors may have seen an actor’s work in another show. In most cases, the 3-5 minutes the actor gives for a song or two and some scene reading, or a monologue, is all the director gets.
Of course our resident Musical Director Dave Dobrusky loves the throngs of those auditioning. He feels like he's being serenaded, "Normally you have to pay for something like this."
Part II – The Directors
To recap the answers Greg left in the comments from last week’s blog:
1) Moon engages in colorblind casting and has had some wonderful non-traditional casts in the past.
2) Moon is an Equity house [that means we are a Union house] and casts about 1/3 of the season with Equity Actors.
3) There are times when a very talented performer is simply not right for a role. This happens most often when an actor's voice is in a different range from what's required for a part —imagine an alto auditioning for the role of Cunegonde from Candide… not gonna happen.
Well of course, ideally our directors want someone who can do both and maybe do a little soft shoe too! But again, different roles call for different strengths. Some roles require “legit” singing, generally this falls to the leading lady/man and usually the more dramatic roles. Other roles require “character singing” – think Buddy Hackett in The Music Man. Either way, the best singer in the world, if s/he can’t act, isn’t gonna make it onto Moon’s stage.
So, according to Artistic Director Greg MacKellan, Moon leans (ever so slightly) towards actors who sing, but “who sing with legit chops!”
Lisa Hensley mentioned there is a certain type of song that one should prepare for Moon auditions, but when I asked the directors, they had a slightly different take on things…
Greg considers “story songs that are strongly melodic” as being part of the “classic musical theatre” canon, no matter where or when they came from. Kander and Ebb, Jerry Herman, Jule Styne, The Producers, The Full Monty, Light in the Piazza are all ripe with good audition material.
But remember, auditioning at Moon isn’t “Broadway Night” on American Idol. Leave the vocal runs and pop arrangements at home. “We do need people to sing in a ‘straight’ style instead of the pop style that is needed for Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, most of Lloyd Webber's shows, etc.”
Also, Greg cautions, “bring a ballad and a comedy song. It's sort of amazing how many actors do not have a comedy song in their audition book!”
So if you’ve thought about auditioning for Moon, but haven’t yet… what are you waiting for? Send in your resume and headshot and maybe you’ll get an audition for next year's generals!
Leave a comment and tell us about your favorite audition material – even if you aren’t an actor, what WOULD you want to audition with?
Don’t forget Moonies, single tickets go on sale tomorrow! There is still time to subscribe for the season and get a great discount. And the last day of our very special Salon Series pricing ends TOMORROW as well.
Last week’s trivia answer: Congrats Clifford, you hit it on the ball. You get another concession coupon and another chance at our quarterly prize.
This week: No trivia question this week. Instead, I want everyone to comment on their audition material. I’ll randomly pick three responses for the prize.