Good news! We have a new Baroness! Our casting director, Joy, did a fantastic job finding some super talented candidates. Some of our alumn and cast members also steered some people toward us - which means a great deal... especially cuz they knew how worried I was. Joy took our 'wish list' to heart and gave the actors super adjustments during the taped auditions to guide them in the right direction. We ended up casting a fabulous and sexy actress named Stephanie Cowan. Here's a peek :) Click the image to play the video.
So here's a little example of 'NYC theatre it's a small world'. FIRST our Justin Schuman, Rolf messaged me to let me know that he had found out that Stephanie was auditioning and he had a hunch we would love her. Justin is super-smart and knew exactly what i was looking for... He said she had a great work ethic, and knew she could be the kind of sophisticated power-house we were after. In addition to that six-degree of separation, apparently the gee-orgeous Becky Rosky (our Mother Abbess) was at an open-call for the Phantom tour the other day. Sitting in the 'holding room' was a girl looking over a set of audition pages (we call them 'sides') for Elsa. Becky, in her inimitable fashion, said "Excuuuuuuuuuse me... I'm terrrrrribly sorry. But are those for Different Stages". Well - turned out Stephanie WAS prepping her audition for us while she was sitting and waiting for the Phantom audition. She and Becky got chit-chatting, and Becky was able to give her the skinny on us. She also got the general sense that she wasn't some kind of evil crazy diva - which was good to know as well :) And Becky has pretty flawless taste:
Here's Stephanie telling us the story over Skype:
Now of course, that doesn't make a hill of beans difference if Stephanie hadn't given the best audition... but considering we weren't able to meet her in person... and I wasn't able to direct her audition in the room myself or make a personal connection - having two of our cast members express a positive vibe about someone makes the decision less nerve-wracking, you know? We skyped with Stephanie, got a great vibe, and she accepted the job :) Crisis averted.Joy had actually discovered her just that week at her Penn State graduating showcase in the city. So this is her first big job after graduation - the week that she moved to New York! Which made her feel great and us feel great.
Hilarious coincidence number 2... While we were chatting with Stephanie over Skype it transpired that last year, while she had been working at another Indiana regional theatre, she and the company developed a Friday tradition. One of their cast members was the daughter-in-law of a local farmer and every Friday in North Manchester they have Pizza on the Farm. Well - the farmers are Jeff and Kathy Hawkins. Kathy is not only the mother-in-law of David Moan who was my Harold Hill AND performed on our stage two Christmas' ago. Here is David helping out his in-laws on pizza night...
Kathy is ALSO an incredibly gifted actress (I directed her in Laramie Project last fall), and she's going to be chewing the scenery in October in our production of Full Monty. And yes, their Friday pizzas on the farm event is pretty much a Hallmark-card Indiana amazing way to spend an evening. (check out www.hawkinsfamilyfarm.com to plan a visit!) Here's Steph telling the story as we realize the wacky connection:
So - between Stephanie's taste in friends and farms... it seems like she's the perfect choice...
All right kids... one worry taken care of - back to building Austria.