Another reason we realized we had to start the blog again is that we had this weird slightly Twilight Zoney experience that reminded us how much it helped to reach new people. Apparently the concept of two totally inept gays attempting to play’This Old House’ in the MidWest with two wiener dogs held a certain schaudenfraude appeal.
THESE DUDES TOTES STOLE OUR REALITY SERIES THUNDER:
K So – here’s the fun story:
Last week, two days before my unfortunate attempt to defy gravity (and subsequently learn how painful a sneeze can be), we learned that one of our actors, a brilliantly talented actress named Megan Buzzard, was breaking her contract. She had signed on to play Elsa two months ago. She had auditioned for us in the past, and seemed very excited about the chance to be part of our first MainStage season. But, another job came up that conflicted with ours, and she informed us that she was taking it. Of course in show biz sometimes the person you first intended to play the role doesn't always end up in front of the audience:
But, for us, this was kind of awful on a number of counts. First of all, you get attached to people in the casting process – and it hurts to lose someone. But ALSO – it was now two months after our auditions. We had offered Megan the job very early in our search for Elsa. We knew her from before, and her audition had been beautifully prepared, witty and really solid. She had signed before we even went to NY for the in-person auditions. So we didn’t even see candidates for that role. And anyway, at this point, any of the really strong performers we had seen at those summer auditions were now likely booked. (Summer casting is kind of like the Hunger Games –
"Ladies first...CARRIE UNDERWOOD"
....You have to work quickly within a very tight window of time because all the other companies are trying to cast their summer shows in the exact same window for conflicting contract dates). So we were now at a loss for potential replacements. We didn’t have the time (or money) to fly back to NY to see people in person. So, for the first time, we considered hiring a casting director for a Huntington show.
Good Casting Directors are amazing. But casting, (and I know because for six years, we’ve done it all), is a great deal of work. So they are not cheap. Plus you have to pay to list the job in the trades, for an audition room, for a piano player for that room, and, sometimes a reader for the auditioner to perform with. Because the listing, the audition rooms, the piano player etc. are all the same whether your casting one role or 20 – the base fee for a casting director just to find ONE role isn't that much different than finding multiple roles. When actors back out of a contract, they don’t realize how much they are financially hurting a company – and when a company like us is just starting out it can be a real blow . Rich and I were wary to make that kind of investment – but the cast we have is soooo amazing, and Elsa has to be a powerhouse – a real contender for the hand of the Captain. In my casting description I had originally said we wanted "a soprano Kim Catrall type age 30". And so we asked some of our favorite perofrmers the casting directors that they thought were really well-liked and worked for regional houses like ours. And Rich started putting out feelers.
And he made contact with a casting director in NY named Joy Dewing. She casts all kind of super stuff like the recent tour of Joseph starring Ace Young('s abs) that we saw in Chicago:
she also cast our Katie Reid in the national tour of South Pacific.
WASH THAT ELSA RIGHT OUT OF YOUR HAIR....
So we already knew Ms. Dewing an eye for the kind of talent we love. But she began this really great, down to earth correspondence with us back and forth. She was very sensitive to the situation we were in, she is clearly smart as a whip… and has a great sensibility. She watched some of our videos, looked at our website and really understood what kind of work we strive to do. Working with a casting director also, to be honest, adds yet another feather in the cap of a company's reputation. It’s kind of like telling a first date you’re taking them to a nice restaurant… the actor makes assumptions about the company based on the way they find their talent.
CASTING BY JACK....IN THE BOX.
So we had talked about a casting director being on the horizon in the long run anyway. Also – when an actor backs out of a contract they booked with a casting director – they are not just damaging their relationship with one little theatre in Indiana – they know they are soiling their reputation with someone who is regularly considering them for jobs in NY on a weekly basis. Rich said “Even though we don’t really have the money to do this, maybe this mess just happened so that we got a chance to start this relationship.”
We bit the bullet and hired Joy. She is setting up auditions with candidates this coming Thursday which we will then review (and possible set up second appointments over skype so we can meet them). And here’s where Joel got a "start the blog up again" hint from the universe. Anyway – after we took a deep breath and made the commitment Rich got another email from her… she said “Wait a minute… a few years back did you guys have a blog about renovating an old theatre? Is that you guys? A friend of mine had sent me the blog and read it religiously – I loved it.”
And so… Someone upstairs was telling us that
a) we made the right decision and
b) the blog is important.
Not just as a marketing tool… but because it makes people care. It makes y'all feel connected. And the fact that we still don’t know what the heck we are doing will hopefully entertain you as we plummet towards the opening night we’ve dreamed about for years. And which now haunts me nightly like a Wes Craven remake of Summer Stock.
And then it's time to wake up and build just a few more thousand set pieces.
THE BEST LAID PLANS...