The Director's Chair: Adam Shankman's Hairspray Diary #13

July 23
9:16 AM 2007

BroadwayWorld.com has an exclusive look into the making of the movie musical HAIRSPRAY with this special Director's Diary written by Adam Shankman. Check back daily for new entries!

 TWENTY-TWO HUNDRED DANCERS IS A LOT OF DANCERS 

After an exhaustive search, I think that we have found pretty much, our top 150+ dancers that we are going to be using in HAIRSPRAY.  We auditioned in Los Angeles, New York and Toronto, trying to hit everywhere we possibly could.  It was an open call. We saw agent submissions and walk-ins off the streets during the open call.  Oddly enough, I have really been liking a lot of the walk-ins.  I'm really very, very happy with the Council Kids that we have found. They look really young, Nikki's age.  Age-appropriate and clean-scrubbed looking were obviously the most important qualities to me. I wanted them to be squeaky clean (I'm sure none of them are squeaky clean in real life, but then again, they are dancers).

Zach, Jamal, Joey, myself and Mama didn't really debate on anybody. I just really can't believe how many people turned out for the calls.  We made them really fun.   I wanted to see personalities just as much as I wanted to see technique. In the New York auditions particularly, it was hysterical.  Everybody was cheering for each other by the time it got down to the final fifty.  It was like "So You Think You Can Dance" on steroids, but all they're really doing are dances from the sixties.  Casting the dancers is of utmost importance to me because they are actually the ones that I will be spending most of my time with ultimately.  We are spending, I believe, five months together. That's a long time. I'm still marveling at the fact that we saw twenty-two hundred dancers.  That is a lot of dancers.

In New York, the first dancer that I found that I knew was going to set the tone for every other one of the Council Kids was a guy named J.P. Ferreri.  He was exactly that scrubbed look that I was looking for. Once I had found J.P., I knew what all the rest of the Council Kids had to look like.  How old they had to be, what their smiles had to look like, the twinkle in their eye, etc.  My favorite piece of dancer casting was when I decided to cast twins for female Council members; Tiffany and Brooke Engen. How funny would it be to have twins on the council? 

I am going to use 20 Council Kids instead of 10, because ten on screen wouldn't do very much, but twenty should do nicely.

More tomorrow with entry #14...

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Adam Shankman Adam Shankman is a master of comedy yet is still able to capture the sensitivity of each story, making him one of the most loved (read more...)


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