Posted by Bruce Miller
Our first Open Call was a good learning experience for us. All in all, we were pleased and thought that the auditions went well. Many thanks to all who participated.
Our only significant problem, on the day itself, was that from the first auditionee we began to run late. Saturday was supposed to end at 4 pm. It ended at 6:15. There were a few actors (two or three, I think) who registered, arrived, waited for 60 to 90 minutes, and then had to leave to be on time for another commitment. We are very sorry.
A record-breaking 302 actors registered for the auditions. We saw 281. Most of the 21 we didn't see were no shows, due to illness or some other unanticipated complication. We know from past experience that 5% to 7% of all registrants won't show up. Most contact us with their explanations and regrets.
Directors in attendance were Anna Senechal Johnson (Blue Ridge Mountain Christmas, Cadence Theatre), Chase Kniffen (Seussical, Spring Awakening), Billy Christopher Maupin (The Stinky Cheese Man [that's his show, not his nickname]), Joe Pabst (Always ... Patsy Cline), Steve Perigard (A Year with Frog and Toad, Scorched Earth), Bo Wilson (God of Carnage), and Keri Wormald (August: Osage County).
Sandy Dacus played piano for almost everyone, with Kim Fox filling in when Saturday afternoon ran long. Kate Belleman, Katie Monfet, Caron Sinnenberg, Brittany Taylor and others whom, please forgive me, I'm overlooking provided invaluable support. I was there also, and Phil Whiteway was in and out as his schedule allowed. Again, many thanks to all.
We learned that it takes, at a minimum, 3 1/2 minutes per actor when actors are asked to prepare a 2-minute audition. For our next Open Call in January 2012 we will schedule 15 actors per hour, which should allow us a 7 minute 30 second break at the end of each hour. If we go 9 to 5, that should allow us to see 110 actors and still take a half hour break at lunchtime. Since we suggest that Richmond-based actors attend at least one audition per year, we do not anticipate more than 110 actors registering in January.
There were several of Richmond's leading players whose work we know very well who came to the auditions: Ronnie Brown, Larry Cook, Matthew Costello, Frank Creasy, Ford Flannagan, Jan Guarino, Michael Hawke, Audra Honaker, Tamara Johnson, Jackie Jones, Jennie Meharg, Adrian Rieder, Susan Sanford, Ali Thibodeau, Aly Wepplo and many others. We greatly appreciate their attendance. As we've stated before, we're trying to level the playing field, and we're asking all Richmond-based actors who'd like to work with us to come to at least one of our three Open Calls during the year.
The most popular playwright for monologues seemed to be Neil Labute, and the most popular musicals from which songs were selected were American Idiot, The Last Five Years, Next to Normal and Spring Awakening. We were auditioning for Spring Awakening, so none of this came as a surprise.
Of the 281 actors we saw, the majority were fairly or completely unknown to us. Virtually everyone presented a respectable audition, and quite a few people impressed us greatly. There were only a couple auditions that could be described as bizarre. That's sort of a record low, percentage-wise, and we were grateful.
We invite any and all comments regarding how we can make our audition practices and policies more effective. We thank everyone who joined us for last weekend's Open Call.