Auditions for TPP’s final two shows of our 20th anniversary season are just around the corner. We thought we would help auditionees out by asking our directors some questions about auditions and the productions themselves. Take a glance at the interview below for direct access to the casting team’s brains!
Hey Alex and Oliver! Thanks for joining us. So, give us the lowdown, who are you and how are you involved with Cinderella & Grease?
ANW: I am Alex Newcomb Weiland, I am TPP’s Production Specialist & Education Coordinator and I am the stage director of Cinderella!
OM: I am Oliver Mayes, I’m the Managing Artistic Director of The Premiere Playhouse and I am directing Grease!
How exciting! Tell us more about auditions and the process. When are they and what do we need to know?
ANW: Auditions for Cinderella are on Sunday, February 5th from 1pm-5pm in the Schulte room at The Washington Pavilion and Tuesday, February 7th from 6pm-10pm with callbacks on Saturday, February 11th from 1pm-5pm taking place at The Orpheum Theater Center.
OM: Grease auditions are on the same schedule except the dates are a month later: Sunday, March 5th from 1pm-5pm and Tuesday, March 7th from 6pm-10pm with callbacks on Saturday, March 11th from 1pm-5pm with all of these being at the Orpheum Theater Center. Auditionees only need to attend one audition night for each show and only those invited to callbacks need to attend those days.
What are the audition requirements for each show?
ANW: A minimum of 32 bars (1 minute) of a song from contemporary or classical musical theater. Find a song that shows off your vocal strengths and gives us a good idea of your vocal range (how high and how low you can sing).
OM: For Grease, we are asking for one 32 bar cut (1 minute) or two contrasting 16 bar cuts (30 seconds) of songs in the style of pop/rock. Songs can be from the musical theatre or commercial music catalog, but if you are auditioning with two pieces we ask that one piece be from a musical and/or the pieces differ in tempo and vocal approach.
How can one best prepare for their audition(s)?
ANW: Come to our upcoming workshops! Tiffany Koppes and myself are hosting a Dance & Callback Workshop on Feb. 4th from 10 AM to 2 PM. We will be teaching a portion of the Cinderella dance audition as well as providing tools for dry reads and acting callbacks. This FREE workshop will take place in The Schulte Room at The Washington Pavilion and is open to anyone ages 10 and up! Register for this workshop here.
OM: And then on February 25th from 1PM to 4 PM Matt Nesmith of University of South Dakota and myself will be hosting an Audition & Vocal Workshop in preparation for Grease auditions. This is a FREE workshop for anyone 18 and up interested in auditioning for Grease and will take place at The Orpheum Theater Center. Registration for this workshop will open on February 3rd and will be open to both participants and auditors.
What is the rehearsal schedule like?
OM: Both shows rehearse on a Sunday through Thursday schedule! On Sundays, what I fondly refer to as “Sunday Fundays”, we rehearse in the 1pm to 5pm time frame. On Mondays through Thursdays, we rehearse in the 6pm to 10pm time frame.
ANW: Through the audition process we pull actor conflicts from audition forms to help us structure our rehearsal schedules around actor and production team availability as much as we are able.
When are the performances?
ANW: Cinderella performs on April 20th-22nd & 27th-29th @ 7pm as well as April 22nd-23rd & 29th-30th @ 2pm, all on the mainstage at The Orpheum Theater Center.
OM: Grease performs on June 15-17 & 22-24 @ 7pm as well as June 17-18 & June 24-25 @ 2pm on the Orpheum stage!
It sounds like the production processes may overlap. Can we audition for both shows or should we choose one?
OM & ANW: YES!
OM: Please audition for both if you are interested.
ANW: We are working hard to make sure that community members have the opportunity to be a part of both productions. Further information on this will be communicated on an individual basis and as needed.
Where and how do we sign-up to audition?
OM: Filling out an online audition form here registers you for an audition. Our auditions are open so anyone who fills out a form may audition, but if a show has age restrictions due to content, only those age appropriate will be considered for casting.
ANW: Previously, TPP asked for one audition form for the season. This season, we are asking auditionees to fill out a form for each production they audition for. This allows us to ask specific questions directly related to each individual production.
OM: Audition forms for both Cinderella and Grease are available now, but the audition notices with all casting notes related to each production will be released at a later date.
ANW: The casting notice for Cinderella will be released next week, January 25th for those who want to know more about the characters in this version of the script. For Grease, the casting notice will come out by February 21st with the information and vision of this iconic show.
Oliver mentioned age restrictions for shows; are there any age restrictions for these shows?
ANW: Great question! The age range we are looking to cast for Cinderella is 10 years and older. For this production we are hoping to have multi-generational casting to tell the story.
OM: For Grease, we are inviting everyone 18 years and older to audition! We are entering auditions without a concrete idea of what age range of folks will play the high school students in this production. We have received interest from a wide range of people, from college students to working professionals, so we have decided to see who shows up and let the majority win!
That is some really interesting insight into your casting process. Do you mind sharing one word or phrase that describes your artistic vision for your shows?
ANW: Bold, Brave & Beautiful!
OM: Rock n’ roll party queen!
Sounds like Sioux Falls is in store for some theatre magic. Anything else you’d like to share about auditions or the shows?
ANW: This show is going to bring back the essence of community theatre, why we all love it, and why it is so important! Relationships among people of all ages are priceless and necessary to share stories and experiences and to learn from one another.
OM: I’m excited to bring Sioux Falls a production of Grease that will not only be visually stunning and totally rockin’ — but a production that celebrates everyone and sends an uplifting message to our audiences!
Thanks so much for sharing this insight! If anyone has any questions about auditions, how can they get in touch with someone?
OM: All questions related to our auditions can be sent to [email protected]
ANW: Please don’t hesitate to send questions our way!