Monday, January 12, 2009

Miss Saigon: NYC Auditions

Two weeks ago (January 6-9), I went to New York City with Carolee Baxter, our producer, and Tricia McCoy, our business manager, for Miss Saigon auditions. We got there on Tuesday morning and had a few hours to get settled into the city before we headed over to the Actor's Equity Association Building for the Equity Principal Auditions, or EPAs as they are called in NYC. There we met Miss Saigon director Richard Stafford, music director Eddy Robinson, choreographer Marc Oka and Jonathan Stahl, Richard's assistant.

From 1:30 to 5:30 we saw around 90 actors, and they came in to audition for any one of the principal roles in the show. In Miss Saigon's case, these roles include Kim, Chris, John, Ellen, Thuy and a few others. For four hours we listened to the same songs over and over again and heard some talented people. Some of the songs you may know - "Movie in My Mind," "Bui-Doi," "Why God" and several others!

On Wednesday we held the Equity Chorus Calls, or ECCs. This day there were over a hundred actors who showed up. This was pretty much the same drill as the day before, except they are auditioning to be a part of the ensemble. Since Miss Saigon has a lot of dancing in it, we held a dance call on Wednesday as well. The ensemble is made up of mostly men, who are soldiers in the show, and they do most of the dancing. This was probably my favorite part - watching everyone learn the routine that choreographer Marc Oka taught them! They learned a section of the dance in the song, "The American Dream." Since so many people showed up to the dance call, Marc had to split them up into smaller groups and teach them the choreography and then have them do the dance as their audition. After they got through all of the dancers, Richard, Eddy, Marc and Jonathan called back a smaller group to sing for them. It was definitely an interesting process to watch!

Thursday we held appointments for the roles of Kim, Chris, John, Ellen and Thuy. On this particular day I was the audition monitor for most of the day. The day started at 10AM and as the monitor I had to make sure that everyone who showed up to audition for Miss Saigon had checked in with me, and then send them in to audition for Richard, Eddy, Marc and Jonathan. It was a bit hectic that day because other theatres were holding auditions in other studios in the building and it was very crowded, but almost everyone who scheduled an appointment showed up for their appropriate time!

I was so glad that I was able to go be a part of the process to see how it all works! Casting a show does not seem to be an easy task...I don't know how they pick the perfect people for each role! Right now they are in the process of choosing the cast, and once it is finalized check back for a post!

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