Two years ago, rockers, squatters and theatre people alike stood on 5 block-long lines to audition for the New York and U.S. national companies of the Broadway hit Rent. And now, a national search has begun to cast the forthcoming Australian production of the Pulitzer-Prize winning musical, opening at Sydney's Theatre Royal in October 1998. Auditions begin in March and will be overseen by casting agent/manager Amanda Michaelson.
The immediate aim is to create awareness and to explore non-traditional avenues to seek talent such as the nightclub and "pub/rock" scenes, in an effort to discover new talent who will bring a raw quality to the story of New York street life. The need to establish a cast with a varied ethnic background will also mean opportunities for Australia's developing community of Asian entertainers.
Initial publicity has also sought to reach out beyond the theatre world through placement of ads in music magazines and going 'on-line' with a Rent website. One televison network has agreed to run commercials for no charge as a community service .
At the end of the Sydney season the show will transfer to Melbourne's Comedy Theatre in March 1999. Rent is being coproduced by the Sydney Theatre Company and the Cameron Mackintosh Organisation.
--By Peter Ford