Friday, January 21, 2011

Producers Spotlight: From the North Pole Straight to Raleigh

People are always asking about the process of casting and how it all comes together. The goal is always the same - to blend the best of Broadway with our fine local artists to create the best production we are capable of presenting. Our cast of The Producers tells that story well and is an exciting reflection of our direct link to the current Broadway community.

This winter, I had been working as the Associate Director of the new Broadway show, Elf. I was sitting in rehearsal one day at 42nd Street Studios, laughing at Michael McCormick killing his scene as Mr. Greenway and I thought to myself - I wonder if we could ever get him to come down and do Producers? Michael has been in over ten Broadway productions and is possibly best known for his incredible portray of John Adams in 1776, and most recently for starring in Curtains. You can imagine how excited I was when he said he was interested. Not only that, but he had been here many years ago, playing the Emcee in Cabaret, and had very fond memories of NCT!

Michael McCormick

Yet another Elf cast member seemed to be a perfect fit for our show - Stacey Todd Holt, veteran of the Broadway company of Producers, as well as Contact, Big and Crazy for You. We had a similar conversation in rehearsal and luckily, he too was intrigued by the idea of doing a show like The Producers again.

Cut to a few weeks later, Producer Carolee Baxter and I are in auditions with our director, Bill Burns. Bill has a rich history with the original Producers so great performers were coming out of the wood work, due to the integrity they knew he would bring to the show. Michael and Stacey graciously came in to audition for us and blew us all away. They had even been rehearsing their audition together in the dressing rooms at the Hirschfeld Theatre during the Elf run! I felt like we had been treated to a ten-minute private performance, more than an audition. We were laughing until our sides hurt and in that moment, I knew this production of Producers was going to be something special.

Elf opened on Broadway during the holiday season of 2010

Michael McCormick, on the far left, takes his bow at the Elf curtain call

Add to this, returning NCT favorites like Chris Sloan (another former NCT Cabaret Emcee!) and new faces such as rising star Lara Siebert as Ulla – and trust me, if that ten minutes was any indication, I can personally guarantee that you are not going to want to miss this one.

P. S. Also an alum of the Elf company. Matt Loehr will be joining us as Cornelius Hackl in Hello, Dolly! Matt's resume is as long as my arm (Broadway: Promises, Promises, Marry Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Movin Out , The Producers) and he is one of my absolute favorite performers. We are delighted to have him on our stage this spring!

-Casey Hushion, NC Theatre Artistic Director

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