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Interested in people's opinion on shows being pre-cast
It is something that's been talked about a lot recently.
Personally if someone has done something to help the show actually exist, ie put in work behind the scenes or be the reason why a company is putting on the show in the first place, I'm fine with it; as long as it is advertised that the role is pre-cast and not available.
Hi Catherine, I agree that pre-casting is okay under certain circumstances, however I feel it somehow defeats the purpose of "community" in community theatre, so I guess it also depends on the company? In any case, if a production team is going to pre-cast for whatever reason, they should be honest about it and not advertise pre-cast roles as available to be auditioned for, which unfortunately does happen.
I definitely do not agree with pre-casting.
Sure, a director might have an idea of WHO they want in particular roles but are they silly enough to disregard the 'unknown' who might blow their socks off at auditions?
I do not agree with pre casting at all. Yes, a director (or MD) might have an idea of people they know who they might like for a particular role but surely they are not silly enough to discount the fact that there might be an amazing 'unknown' that walks in the door and totally blows their socks off?!
Having said that, I realise that it has happened in the past and will not doubt happen in the future so, its only fair that if any role has been cast before auditions then this must also be shared with auditionees, preferably on the audition notice.
I see no problem with pre-casting, as long as you're up front about it.
In this day and age where Companies are struggling to fill male ensembles, put bums on seats and keep themselves financial - I think if you can secure the right person for the right part, then it doesn't matter if its pre-cast. You've gotta do what you can to get the show happening!
Just think about every performance that you do as a kind of audition for the next show you want to do and the standard of performances should raise significantly!
This has just recently come up for me in the last couple of days. I just cast Little Shop of Horrors and before the auditions we had a couple of people complaining (behind my back) that the show was "pre-cast" because I was on the panel and ofcourse my partner is going to get the role of SEYMOUR and of course (lets call her Penelope)will get the role of AUDREY... These people I thought were my friends. At no point was the show pre-cast and no one on the panel had the show pre-cast. Being my first time on an Audition Panel I was surprised to hear that people were accusing us of pre-casting and some of them still are. Ofcourse a Director, Musical Director and Choreographer will have someone in mind to be cast in a particular role because you think about who would audition for the particular show and think about who would be best fitted for the role...
At no point in the audition process did I have one particular person in mind for a role, all of my previous thoughts on people went out the door and as it turned out, with the calibre of Auditionees, we were all stunted with who was to be cast in one of the roles. I do agree that Pre- casting is a huge nono, especially if the role is advertised to be auditioned for. As long as it is advertised as being pre-cast I say pre-casting is a huge NO WAY JOSE...
The only people who disagree with pre-casting are people who aren't being sought out by directors/MD's before the auditions. Clearly if the shoe was on the other foot these opponents would change their tune.
in three times directing (soon four times, with new auditions starting this week), i've never pre-cast. my reasoning is exactly what was said above -- i don't want to rule out a stranger "blowing my socks off".
however, i have several "theoretical" projects waiting to go that i'll mount someday, and some of them are pre-cast, because i've conceived the project with a certain someone in mind, and the whole PURPOSE of putting on the show is to do it with a certain actor or actors.
you're naive if you have a blanket rule against pre-casting. there's nothing wrong with it if the part is not listed as open.
I have auditioned for roles that were supposedly "in the bag" for someone else and knocked them off.
I have also been given a "very strong hint" by a director that they haven't found someone for a role and I should audition at the last moment.
A company, community or otherwise, is silly if they schedule a show with a big ticket lead role, like LA MANCHA, FIDDLER, MUSIC MAN, HELLO DOLLY, FUNNY THING, COMPANY, and not have some idea who in the company might play it.
A director is also silly if they are blinkered to the possibilities of someone out of the blue blowing them away.
my issue is....
...maybe it is okay and fine to pre-cast if that's your cup of tea....but should i then support the company and go see the show even though I know they may have not had open auditions and thus the best people for the show?
I want to get my money's worth, can I then say I don't want to see that show openly instead of passive avoidance, coz i only want to see shows that have the best choice for the roles? Should the company and the people in the show then get annoyed with me (even being my friends) coz i choose not to support a show that I feel may be substandard...
If a company promotes itself as one that acquires its cast by way of an open audition process (and I would think most community theatre companies fall into this category) then I disagree with pre-casting, regardless of whether it's for one role or five. As mentioned in posts above, pre-casting eliminates the opportunity to explore all options and attract the best possible cast for each show, not to mention reducing the opportunities for talented performers to be on stage.
However, I do think it’s acceptable for companies to invite particular individuals to audition - alongside everyone else who could be equally as suited to a role.
I am rehearsing for a show at the moment and the pre-cast members are the ones who are consistently late to rehearsals or just don't turn up at all! Because they have been looked after at the audition process they believe they can do what they like during the rehearsal process. Our director believes in non-transparent pre-casting as he ran a well constructed response to critics on this blog a while ago...
I agree with Catherine that if individual has SUBSTANTIALLY contributed to getting the show on in the first place, they would deserve a role.
The resentment really comes from the deception in the audition process when the pre-cast roles are listed as open positions for auditionees. It is paramount to be completely transperent in casting calls and the entire audition process when someone is precast.
Theatre is art and art can never be guaranteed to be good/perfect, which is only a subjective perception, when the artist has a particular vision in his/her mind, then they are entitled to realize it. The audience is there to judge for ththeir own sake.
It is irrelevant to say "pre-casting keeps the best candidate out of the door" because "having the best cast" may not even be part of the artistic vision (although even openly auditioned casts are seldom the "best" combination that came through due to a myriad of factors e.g schedule conflicts/drop-outs/etc.)
This translates to "If you have made the artistic decision to "have the 'best' cast", then don't precast anyone.
As for pre-cast people being slackers, it is important for one to make an effort in letting everyone know that NOTHING should be taken for granted. When someone is not behaving, warning/punishment is given, or even worse, elimination.
Those slackers are really damaging their own careers.
This subject often comes up as a way to remind people that this kind of practice is often used and less often admitted to. I have no problem with anyone who is undertaking the process of community theatre, as a producer, stage director or MD, utilizing the best available talent. Very good performers are hard to pin down and need the certainty of valuable roles being on offer in local theatre circles to challenge their talents and also fire a desire to perform for no financial reward. If awarding a reliable leading lady or classic male lead with an offer of headlining a show with many chances to shine is poo-pooed by others- who gives a rats. If I have put my hard earned into getting a project to the stage, with all of the requisite streams of costly necessities, I would want to be front and centre giving everything I can to make 'my baby' a success. Anyone hear of a guy called Al Jolson? How about Gene Kelly? These guys plugged away with heaps of their own dough, for years, promoting themselves! I say, "Let those who are prepared to commit the time, the funds and also their abilities to the furthering of the arts the room to take their bows!" this also includes those whom they may pre-cast in their endeavours. My opinion. Just saying is all. ;)
Community theatre is too often about who you know, not what you know. Production teams will always have pre-conceived ideas for casting. If a role has been pre-cast, naturally this should be made perfectly clear long before auditions are scheduled. Casting should be determined on pure talent, but friendship, politics, ego and blatant jealousy will occasionally derail your dreams of securing that role!
I'd be interested to know how many of the 'pre-castings' are legitimately pre-cast, as opposed to someone being told to audition because they suit the role, then being the most 'right' auditionee.
Precasting is absolutely the worst thing about amateur theatre. I understand professional theatre choosing to do this, as people are managed by agents and go to the ends of the earth to get work. But in amateur, we do it simply for the love of performing. We pay to be in shows whilst maintaining our day jobs and personal lives.
Sure, Leah, you can say that the only people who care about precasting are the people who don't get precast. You are wrong, but you can say it. I know I have been in both positions-the person with the luxury of being precast, and the person who has worked SO hard for a role, preparing for hours and putting my soul into it-just to be crushed with that tiny bit of information that the company failed to tell us before the auditions began.
There are the divas and bitches in the community who don't want to have to sift through the "bad" auditionees. But you have to give them a chance to dream and to work towards that dream. And besides, there's always that diamond in the rough!
I don't really see an issue with pre-casting, dispite it's unfavorable position for hardworking audition candidates. It just doesn't really change what you are up against. Any theatre production will do anything they see fit to find the cast they are comfortable with. There is little that can change that in my opinion.
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