Many people ask, “Where do you find your actors?” (i.e. “How do you cast the show?”) And the backbone of our casting is our New York auditions. For Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys, we put out an online casting breakdown in New York for four of the supporting roles. We received over 300 photo and resume submissions, which we then go through and choose who we’d like to see in person, so we can find the perfect four actors for these roles. Just the process of culling the resumes takes the better part of a day–we look at every single one we receive.
In the case of The Sunshine Boys auditions, we did this first round of auditions all in one day in New York. There are 60 audition slots. We notify the actor’s agent, or sometimes the actor directly, that they have received an appointment.
On Friday, April 28 the actors we selected for appointments come in and read “sides” (excerpts from the script) that we’ve made available to them in advance, at the time we booked them–usually 5 or 10-minute slots.
We take detailed notes on every audition we see. We have a record of everyone who has ever auditioned for Judson Theatre Company. Sometimes we cast actors from the West Coast (a lot of our headliners have been Los Angeles/Hollywood based) or regional actors who live in various places around the country. If it is impractical for the actor to attend the in-person NYC auditions, we occasionally accept a video audition. We may also use local actors with professional training and experience if they are able to make the time commitment to a full-time work week of rehearsal and performances.
While we do cast actors who have done excellent work for us in multiple shows, we are also aware that any theatre company can fall into the trap of “the same faces all the time.” So we seek a balance between having the best people return when there is an appropriate role for them, and constantly bringing new talent to the area.
We had some wonderful talent at the auditions for The Sunshine Boys!