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Casting at NBYT

September 7, 2016

With auditions for Elf the Musical Jr coming in less than a week, we’d like to let actors and parents know some of the factors that we do and don’t take into consideration when we’re casting a show.

Whenever possible, we try to cast every child who auditions. (The exceptions have been when an overwhelming number of children come to auditions, and when an actor’s conflicts would mean missing too many rehearsals.) The auditions then are used to determine which actor will get which role. Here’s a closer look at what we consider as we’re casting.

First, things that don’t matter are:

  • previous roles with NBYT or anywhere else
  • professional credits
  • donating to or volunteering for NBYT
  • actors’ “type,” looks and age (although we’ll get back to this one)

All of this goes to say that anyone can audition for and be cast in almost any role.

Things that do matter are:

  • the audition (both preparedness and cold readings from the script)
  • commitment, attendance, and behavior in prior programs (which is the only time we consider prior programs)
  • availability and conflicts (unfortunately, a large number of conflicts with rehearsal days will affect the role that we can offer)
  • how the actors fit as an ensemble (often, an actor may be right for more than one role, and the determining factor is how everyone fits into roles as a whole)
  • actors “type,” looks and age—sometimes a certain role just requires an actor of a certain type or age range to tell the story correctly, and that’s the only time that we’ll consider these things

At NBYT, we’re always willing to give feedback on an audition—although we won’t discuss individual casting or other actors’ auditions of course. Remember too to not measure a role by the number of lines or time on stage. In some shows , some lead roles—even title characters—have few or no spoken lines. (Our “Frosty the Snowman” didn’t speak; the “Wizard of Oz” himself is in only a few scenes.) Some professional actors have been awarded for roles that are only a few minutes on stage or screen. Whatever your role, do your best, be an important part of the ensemble, and have fun!

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