In the theatre, it’s the beginning of something wonderful: Royal Palm Players holding open auditions

February 12, 2016
By Marcy Shortuse

open auditions 1SUBMITTED BY THE ROYAL PALM PLAYERS – On Broadway, every Tony award begins with an audition. Here at Royal Palm Players, we begin every season with a general audition.
In the professional theatre there are two types of auditions: the “general audition” or “casting call” and the “callbacks.” The general audition, fondly referred to by professional actors as the “cattle call,” is an open call for actors to try out for a production, a series of performances or a full season.
Usually the general audition is arranged by one theatre company. But there are circumstances where one general audition will be held for a group of theatre organizations casting their entire seasons. For example, the Southeastern Theatre Conference hosts a general audition during its annual spring convention. Seventy to 90 companies are represented there, including summer theatres, cruise lines and theme parks. Thousands of actors will attend to perform for the various entertainment groups on hand.
Well, that’s not us. The Royal Palm Players have put a unique Boca twist on the audition experience to encourage everyone to come on down and have some fun. Onstage or backstage, just being involved with theatre production is an amazingly exciting experience. We’re offering everyone who may be interested in the theatre experience an opportunity to jump in.
No stuffy monologues, no memorized anything. The auditions have been arranged in a relaxed, nonintimidating way. Everyone will get a chance to meet the directors for next year’s productions. Anyone who would like to audition will get a chance to read scenes with other actors. Anyone who would like to work backstage may sign up with the backstage committees.
For those of you who would like to be a part of next year’s musical production, we’ll ask you to sing us a song. An accompanist will back you up to sing “Hello Dolly,” “Oklahoma!” or “Oh! What a Beautiful Morning.” Or you can sing “America the Beautiful.” We’ll provide you with lyric sheets for any of these selections. And naturally, everyone will be on their feet to learn a simple box step, or a grapevine. Anyone who is still standing at the end of the exercise is a shoo-in for the musical!
Meryl Schaffer (Director of the fall dramatic reading) and Kimberly Whipple (last year’s Laurey from “Oklahoma!) are organizing the auditions. Meryl spent lots of time “behind the table” in her career in New York and Washington D.C. as a professional stage manager. She sat with directors for theatre companies like Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights’ Horizons, Ensemble Studio Theatre and LaMama, Etc. Kimberly got plenty of experience with casting calls as the producer of “Oklahoma!” last season and “Hello, Dolly!” this season.
“As strange as it sounds, the directors really want you to do well,” she said. “We just want to meet you and see a little bit of what you can do. Are you expressive? Can you read from the page nicely?”
Directors Tad Ingram (the comedy), Todd Patterson (the musical) and Meryl Schaffer (the reading) will be keeping things light at the auditions. The directors are really just looking to acquaint themselves with the actors and volunteers. “It’s wonderful to see all of the available choices for casting our shows,” Meryl said. “Sometimes I’ll think that I know what type of actor would be great for a role. And then someone will show up at the auditions and take all my preconceived notions and blow them right out of my head. I love when that happens!”
Sometimes, even RPP’s backstage volunteers get into the spotlight. Stage Manager Sharon Sullivan found herself so comfortable standing in for actors in rehearsal that she began taking small roles. Kerrill Taylor, head of the props committee for the fall readings, appeared as juror #2 last season in “Twelve Angry Jurors.”
We are all looking forward to adding plenty of new faces to the roster of volunteers for the 2016-2017 RPP season. Each season includes a dramatic reading presented in the fall, a broad comedy in the winter and a spring musical. Recent staged readings include “The Curious Savage,” “Twelve Angry Jurors” and “Love, Loss and What I Wore.” “Moon Over Buffalo” is currently in performance. Other comedy productions include “Rumors,” “Lend Me A Tenor” and “California Suite.” Audiences loved recent musicals “Oklahoma!” and “Red, Hot & Cole.” “Hello Dolly” opens on Wednesday, March 9.
So grab your calendar and pencil in Friday Feb. 19, at 6 p.m. in the auditorium. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people, show off your talent and have a bit of fun. If you’re interested but can’t make the audition, don’t despair! Just send an email to merylschaffer@hotmail.com or call Kathy in the RPP office at 964-2670.