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From Peter in Rhode Island:
I was wondering how you went about getting people to be part of your staged readings, etc.

Thursday, 4 December 2003

Dear Peter,

Unfortunately, being cast in something is sort of a Catch-22. Normally, people will not appear at auditions unless they are sent there by agents, but agents usually won't take you on unless you've already done something, so it's a mess. There are Open Auditions for every musical (and every play? Don't know) and these are days in which anybody in the world can get a chance to audition in front of some members of the creative team. However, typically, there is only one day of Open Auditions, the actor usually gets somewhere between 30-60 seconds to show their stuff, and the writer is almost never there, nor the director or composer. It's usually a casting person and a member of the music department. If it's clear after 20 seconds that your voice isn't strong enough, they will just say "thank you" and send you on your way. The whole thing is a miserable cattle call process, but at least it exists. There would be no possible way to let an unlimited number of unknown actors audition for 5-10 minutes apiece. If that were so, Open Calls would go on for weeks and weeks, and the budget simply doesn't allow for that.

That's the long answer. The short answer is simply: get an agent. For all staged readings and produced shows, 99% of the people auditioning for the creative team have been sent by agents. Just to offer a glimmer of hope to all those out there without agents, usually 3-5 people are selected from the Open Calls to come and audition for the creative team. Hope this gives you a good idea of the process, and thanks for writing.

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