Welcome Back BroadwayWorld Readers! We hope you had a happy holiday season and a great start to the New Year.
Well, the great work has begun.* (*Please refer all of Mr. Kushner's lawyers directly to the Goodspeed Legal Team) The 13th Annual Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals started as many of us boarded our 6:55 train out of Penn Station to East Haddam yesterday. After one breakdown, a small bout of crying and a Venti coffee from Starbucks, we sat back, relaxed and prepared for what would be a long, but exciting day.
The festival is structured so that there are three musicals being presented at once, and each team has a pool of remarkably talented college students from The Hartt School and Boston Conservatory from which to fill their casts. So from noon till about 4, we watched their auditions and jotted down our notes for the callback sessions (later that same day). Soon the callbacks began and that's where we were all blown away. These students were handed music and acting sides on the spot, given just a few minutes to prepare, then got up there and gave incredible callbacks. Deep, layered acting choices, beautiful voices filling up every nook and cranny of the rehearsal hall, and such flexibility in taking direction and rolling with the punches. Bravo teachers, you've trained them well!
Now here's the fun part...
After callbacks, the creative teams are brought upstairs for a discussion with the festival coordinators, as no actors can be in more than one show.
Let's translate that.
"Welcome Tributes to the 13th Annual Hunger Games! No one will have their entire desired cast, and you will fight to the death for the cast you want! May the odd's be ever in your favor."
In the end, the Capital didn't fall, all tributes survived and I was just standing on my chair doing the Mockingjay symbol like an ass while everyone ate pizza and lovingly traded cast members. We all eventually negotiated our way into casts that made all three creative teams happy.
Kudos Goodspeed, 13 years, no bloodshed and counting.
We are thrilled with the actors we have, as Passing Through is a tricky show to cast. Not only are the roles incredibly specific, but from the principals to the ensemble, everyone has a tremendous amount of featured material that they are responsible for. Since the show is about a young man walking across the country in search of answers, we have to be true to the rich tapestry of ethnicities across America...which is also very exciting as we get include even more representation on the musical stage.
So, our reading is cast, my coffee has run dry and we are off to start the first day of rehearsals. At the end of the week, I turn the blog over to my writing partner Brett Ryback so he can give you deeper insight into the music of Passing Through. If you need more of us before then (how could you not?) you can follow Brett and I on Twitter and Instagram (shameless plug) as we stumble along this journey together.
On Instagram at btryback and theulloa and Twitter @eulloa03 and @btryback