All Good Things Come To Those Who Can Wait
By Deena Cassady
THE PRODUCTION TEAM- Producing a show is a labor of love; equal parts stress and exhilaration. A production staff will identify their next big project well over a year before it will come to fruition and then, in what seems like a blink of an eye, it is time for auditions. The director has analyzed the script and visualized the show. The set builder has started designing every square inch of the stage. The choreographer has begun meticulously planning every count of eight. The public relations manager has called every radio station, newspaper, and magazine in town. A countless number of people have begun tirelessly working in their area of theatrical expertise to ensure that a high quality production is underway. At the pre-audition production meeting, panic sets in. “Will people audition for our show?” “Will we find the right people?” “Will we have enough men?” “What if men don’t sign up?” “Do any of you have any brothers or husbands who can audition?” The production staff of any show will inevitably worry before auditions and then someone at the table will inevitably say, “We have to wait and see who shows up.”
THE ACTOR PREPARES: Across town in living rooms, cars, and showers, actors and actresses are rehearsing their audition pieces for the hundredth time. They have analyzed every lyric and line of dialogue, decided their character’s objectives, and spent a great deal of time selecting the perfect outfit that would suggest the character for which they are auditioning. It is the day of the audition and panic sets in. “What if I’m not good enough?” “What if I’m not the right type?” “What if the director saw me in my last production and hated every acting choice I made?” Actors will recite their own monologue of self-deprecation to their non-theatre person spouse or family member (who clearly doesn’t understand any of this show-business speak) who will inevitably say, “You will just have to wait and see who shows up.”
CONFLICTS: Sweeney Todd is the next big project for Acting Out Theatre Company. A year ago, when the show was announced, I was beyond excited. Mrs. Lovett has been a dream role of mine ever since I watched Angela Lansbury in the recorded Broadway production on PBS when I was little. The content went way over my head but I knew I wanted to “be her.” I could not believe that after so many years of performing, the opportunity to audition for this show had finally presented itself. I immediately looked down and realized I couldn’t audition. I was seven and a half months pregnant at the time and I didn’t think I would have the time to perform for the next 18 years. My friends and family tried to persuade me throughout the months to come but I firmly responded, “No. I can’t.” My beautiful baby girl was born and I didn’t seem to mind so much that my dream role would go to someone else. After the shock of new parenthood dissipated, my new little family had developed a routine, and sleepless nights were a rarer occurrence, I began to entertain the idea of auditioning for Sweeney Todd again. After serious consideration and a lot of persuasion from my husband, I added my name to the sign-up list.
PREPARATION: I worked with a vocal coach and analyzed the lyrics. I was as prepared as I could have been. I went in, did by best, and went home. It’s that time again! Time to sit and WAIT! After some time, the callback list was posted and I was granted the opportunity to read for Mrs. Lovett. My husband and a group of our friends, who were all called back for roles, came over and we hit the books. We offered each other constructive criticism, played the piano for each other, and served as each other’s counterparts in scene readings.
CALLBACKS: Callbacks are the final process in the audition process. They are the most nerve wracking aspect of the process for both the actors and the production staff. This is the day when the puzzle is completed and the vision can begin to come to life. We all auditioned again and my group of friends all came over to “wait together and eat our feelings.” Over plates of carbohydrates, we all analyzed the day- what we did well and what we wished we had done differently. We had moments of confidence and moments of self-doubt. When the cast list was posted and I saw that my husband had gotten the role he wanted and my friends both received the roles they wanted, someone screamed “You’re Lovett!” and I couldn’t believe it. A year of waiting was over. It was literally a childhood dream come true.
ACTING OUT THEATRE COMPANY’S PRODUCTION OF SWEENEY TODD: In a few short months Sweeney Todd will come to Kankakee. The rehearsals will be intense and the memorization will be a huge undertaking. There will be moments of confidence and moments of self-doubt. The stage will be built, the costumes stitched, the set painted, and the vision will come to life. The audience will bring their lawn chairs and settle into 1800’s London. Then….well I suppose I could tell you more but as Mrs. Lovett would say, “all good things come to those who can wait.”