Auditions were held this morning for the role of Young Zack in the highly anticipated world premiere production of An Officer and A Gentleman.
A pair of studios in Sydney's ABC Ultimo Centre are clearly set up for the hive of activity required for rehearsals for a major musical, but today none of the actors are to be seen. None of the adult actors, that is. Sunday usually means a day of rest for the production but key creative personnel are on hand to select four 11-12 year old boys for the key role of Young Zack, who grows up to be an officer and, hopefully, a gentleman.
The role of Zack is described by the producers as follows: "Zack was raised by a single mother who wounds him deeply when she commits suicide. The boy is an innocent, but when he discovers his father is uninterested in raising an illegitimate son, he quickly learns how to survive and beat the system at its own game." Adult Zack, the title role in the show, is to be played by dynamic music theatre star Ben Mingay.
The boys clearly need to be triple threats, as they are put through their paces in singing, acting and movement.
Musical Director Dave Skelton teaches a few lines of music to a group of auditionees, who have the words and music down pat in no time.
Choreographer Andrew Hallsworth teaches a fight, which is blocked out in a series of counts.
The creative team encourage demonstration of toughness more than dance ability.
Hallsworth keeps the mood light with a touch of humour: "Imagine you're fighting someone big and tough – like me."
Each boy runs through a dialogue scene involving Young Zack and his father.
Associate Director Dean Bryant is highly experienced in auditioning boys, having cast the role of Tick's son Benji in productions of Priscilla in cities such as New York, Milan and Rio. Bryant has a calm, reassuring manner in auditions, avoiding the cattle call feel by calling the boys by their names.
Stay tuned to Theatre People for an announcement of the lucky lads chosen to join the cast.
An Officer and a Gentleman opens at Sydney's Lyric Theatre on 18 May 2012, with previews from 10 May 2012.