(Clicking on a name bolded in blue will take readers to that actor's entry in the Playbill Vault.)
The first time I auditioned for Darko Tresnjak for his production of Carnival at Goodspeed. I came in late and pretty mussed. I had spent the morning at the hospital with my husband who had injured himself. That one was fun. Amber Petty
I went home for the summer after college and was looking for a job. I had to audition to work at Cold Stone Creamery. You had to be in there for an hour, where you'd tell fun facts about yourself, have to "bust a move" i.e. dance on command, then make up a little routine to go with one of their ice cream-based parody songs like "I've Been Working on the Coldstone" and "Drop It Like It's Cold." I was not cast.
They’re all crazy in their own way. Ben Davis
In 1997 I was working at Prudential Securities in Indianapolis and went to Chicago for a Les Mis open call. I was flown to New York for a callback, but when I returned I got a call at the office. They needed to hear if I could hit a high A. They told me that they would put me on the phone with the musical director in NYC and that I would have to do it over the phone.(1. I'd never hit a high A in my life, and 2. Seriously, over the phone?) Long story short, fate intervened and I hit the note twice over speakerphone. Two weeks later, I joined the national tour of Les Mis at 22.
Um… because it involves known and living persons… I'd better not… Liana Hunt
Probably my audition for the Mamma Mia! tour while I was finishing up college. I woke up that day at 6 AM sick, throwing up all over my bathroom. My audition was at 10:30. It was the only day the whole team was in town to see people, so I dragged myself to my appointment. I am really particular about my pre-audition routines, and always make sure I have plenty of time to get ready, etc, but that morning I basically dragged myself off the bathroom floor, threw on clothes and hopped in a cab with some saltines and ginger ale. In the room, I ended up having to do all these crazy physical exercises including running circles all over the room. I spent most of the audition on the verge of puking and felt like a delirious crazy person, and I ended up getting the job. Go figure.
How I was cast in this show is actually the craziest one. I was in London performing in Scottsboro Boys and it was opening night. About 40 minutes into the show we were backstage and Idriss came up to me and said, "Did you see that Cameron Mackintosh is out there!?" I didn't. When the bows happened I saw him right in the center. The next day I received a call from my agents. They said Cameron saw the show and wanted me to audition for Enjrolas on Monday. I had my audition at the Queens Theatre on the stage and was cast the next day. It was very surreal. Terence Archie
Had an abysmal audition for Dessa Rose at Lincoln Center. I was off-key, studied the wrong character and was late because I was running from work and anxious to get back on time. Ironically Stephen Flaherty was the composer. Stephen Flaherty is the composer of Rocky. He must've forgotten that audition. Thank God!
|Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann|
James Monroe Iglehart
I don't really have a crazy audition story but I do remember my first professional audition outside of college for American Musical Theatre of San Jose and finding out what "thank you" means in professional theatre. I was 19. I had just come off a successful run of Jesus Christ Superstar at my school where I had played Jesus. So I thought I was pretty hot stuff. I was auditioning for Once on This Island and I sang my song and then read my sides.The director said a "thank you," and I went back to the hall way to sit down. I waited for someone to tell me what else I had to do. No one did. I waited a good 15 minutes. Then I finally asked a fellow actor what was next. He asked what I had done. I told him. He asked what they had said. I told him they told me, "thank you." He just gave me a "oh you naive thing" look and said, "Well they said thank you. Sooo that means you're done. You understand?" I nodded then walked to my car and cried all the way home. I never knew what "thank you" meant until that day! Robert Petkoff
I was auditioning for Voices In The Dark for George Street at Pat McCorkle casting. The role was a killer with a split personality and in the audition scene the two personalities are fighting each other. I hurled myself around the room, fighting with myself and finally slamming into a bookcase. I hit it with such force that it started to tumble over on top of me. I caught it as many books and scripts fell on me and pushed it back into place, all while carrying on this crazy dialogue. Pat and the director and assistants all yelped as this happened but I kept going. Not sure how, but I got the job.
Marc Shaiman had contacted me via Facebook after he heard through a Google alert that I was singing a song from Catch Me If You Can while the show was still previewing in Seattle. I had sang the song in a cabaret I was doing it in L.A. after finding it on YouTube and my accompanist was able to put an arrangement of the song together from hearing the recording. So you would imagine my surprise/terror getting a Facebook message from Marc Shaiman saying, “So I heard you sang the song. Did you sing it well?” He ended up asking if I would send him an MP3 of me singing the song because they were going to be looking for stand-bys for the production when they took it to Broadway. So I ended up sending him an MP3 that I recorded at my friend’s studio and he liked it! Before I knew it, he forwarded the MP3 to casting and they contacted me about attending final callbacks in NY for the standby position. I ended up flying to NY for the audition, work session and dance call. It didn’t work out in the end, but Telsey Casting told me that they had other projects in mind that they thought I would be right for, one of which ended up being Carrie the Musical. Nicholas Rodriguez
Final callback for Tarzan at Telsey’s office. The entire creative team was in the room. We were asked to change into running shorts and go shirtless and bare foot while doing the scenes. As I was “aping” around I turned quickly on the ball of my foot and ripped the skin off the pad. There was blood EVERYWHERE! Poor Rachel Hoffman (who had just started) sprung into action, bandaged my foot, disinfected the floor, cleaned everything up and we continued. But I couldn’t put any weight on my foot. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I had to go straight to the Richard Rodgers Theatre to get into a harness so they could fly me around the set. I had to wear a sock over my foot so I didn’t get blood on the set.
I have sung all three daughters’ parts of "Matchmaker"… with different voices for each daughter, plus played all the dialogue… with myself. I have had someone say: “See we're gonna need you to create the physical comedy of the donkey yourself…” I have faked being English (in London), only to book the job and have to film it for three days… in New York… trapped in my English accent lie the whole time. I have mimed a blind girl being eaten by a werewolf. But this one takes the cake: When I auditioned for Master Class I—in utter seriousness—ACCIDENTALLY LOCKED MYSELF IN A UTILITY CLOSET at the studio. I might have missed the audition altogether had the casting director not come to GET ME OUT. True story. Luckily that embarrassing tale of Sophie De Palma has a happy ending. Mine. Katrina Lenk
Well I haven't got a crazy story but here's a stupid one: auditioning for a spy in a dramatic film. Eastern European director, with accent and utmost seriousness, in a black leather jacket: "Can you move eyes more like spy, move them left and right, like this?" (moving his eyes left and right, like a Felix the Cat clock). And I DID.
I haven’t had any crazy auditions yet! *fingers crossed*! Desmond Richardson
For the high school of the performing arts, showing up to the dance call in a 3-piece suit and the faculty assuming I was a hoofer and, umm, far from it.
I have two crazy audition stories: First, when I auditioned for the brother in Billy Elliot in Toronto I was shooting a film at the time and told my agent I didn’t have enough time to prepare. This was Billy Elliot- there were a lot of lines to learn, the Geordie accent, and all the music. She called me back and said that they didn’t care and still wanted to see me. So I went in the room and they asked me to sing "He Could Be a Star." I told them that I didn’t know it and didn’t have time to learn it. They said to go and learn it at the piano. So I did with the music director. After learning it I went up to sing it but still didn’t know it very well (not to mention the fact that I was butchering the accent.)They told me to stop, sing it again, but not to worry about the accent, the notes, or the words. And I thought: huh?? No words, no notes, no accent? What does that leave you with? So I half made up the melody, half made up the words, and acted the intention of the song. I got a callback. When I went back for the callback I was extremely prepared and got the part! Second, for my final callback for Spider-Man on Broadway, after I did the scenes and sang, I was told that they needed to see me fly at the Foxwoods Theatre. (????????!!!!!) They strapped me in the harness and told me to land on the first balcony, spin around, and then land on the second balcony. The flight they had me do was very safe, however I had never been in a harness in my life. I completely missed each landing.They told me after that they needed to see if anyone was scared. Even though I probably looked like the farthest thing from Spider-Man in my audition, I was never scared. And I got the part. Peter Bradbury
Auditioned for a commercial once where I had to sit in a chair and act as if my face was being subjected to a G-Force. Like to get the tape of that.
I auditioned for Woody Allen. Never imagined in my wildest dreams that would happen. Sean MacLaughlin
Well… I am not a dancer, but I would like to THINK that I move well. Anyway, years ago at an audition I was to go to a "Movement Call." I had made it through a majority of the callbacks and this was the dance portion. Well- I didn't know there was ANY dance in the show, but I thought, "Hey it's a 'movement call,' it won't be that bad." This "Movement Call" ended up being Ballet taught to me by the choreographer in front of the creative panel in one of Ripley Grier's smallest studios. I gave it my all for what seemed a good 15 minutes, pretending I was graceful and DON'T have size 13 feet. Well, while pretending that I was freaking Baryshnikov, I KICKED a waste paper bin filled with what seemed to be ALL of Ripley Grier's trash. I'm talking juice boxes, banana peels, tons of balled up paper, you name it. At that point, I politely thanked them for their time and quickly left the area.
Ellyn Marie Marsh
Okay. Four days before my wedding, I'm going in for a production of Hair. I tell Rachel Hoffman I'm a little stressed and out of it (last minute wedding details, family starts flying into town-mayhem) and she assures me it will be fine. The room totally has a sense of humor about it; in fact, the piano player played "Not Getting Married" from Company as my entrance music. It was hilarious.I get ready to sing my go-to song "Think" which I've sung 876 times and I go, "what you want...baby I got it..........” Seriously? I start singing "Respect." I have NEVER sung that song in public, let alone an audition. I died laughing. So did they. I didn't get the part. Jonny Orsini
When I walked out of my audition for The Nance having met Jack O’Brien and felt like I met an artistic genius, mystical understander of human beings, and soul mate. He is a guardian angel and dream come true, for many people and animals alike (namely, his adorable dogs).
Having to go to the writer's apartment to retrieve an iPod from a gym bag to learn a new song for a call back the next day. CRAZY! Charlotte Parry
Probably the one for Winslow Boy! In the annex of a library in Covent Garden Hotel that looked like something out of "Downton Abbey" on a Sunday afternoon. I left thinking, "If I get that job I'll eat my cat." My friend Will who was in the room as my reader took me to get drunk in Regents Park and told me, "Sweetheart, there's not a hope in hell's chance you booked that."