The Springer Opera House To Hold Virtual Audition
Over a four-day period each May, the Springer holds season auditions to survey talent for the upcoming season. Traditionally these auditions are attended by local amateurs, educational theatre practitioners, along with professional actors. Many of the professional actors travel to Columbus from Atlanta, New York, Nashville, or other cities around the US to be seen in person by Springer Opera House directors.
This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Springer will restructure the entire audition process, shifting to a virtual format in which actors submit their audition by video. For actors who don't audition regularly, this provides an advantage eliminating the stress of an in-person audition with directors, choreographers, and other staff.
Because of the uncertainty of possible travel restrictions, housing challenges, and other logistical complications, the Springer is actively inviting local actors, singers, and dancers to submit a virtual audition for casting consideration. Performers can apply via a Google Form on the Springer website www.springeroperahouse.org/casting.
If artists have a prepared dance reel, they may include it, as well. But for those without any dance background, Springer guest directors, Keith McCoy and Shane Hall have created dance combinations that actor-dancers can rehearse, film, and submit to be considered for a musical.
The Springer has a long history of mixing local avocational actors, student actors, non-union professionals, and Actors Equity Equity Association professionals on its stages.
"We have found that the mixture of all these artists makes everyone better and provides variety and diversity in our shows," said Springer producing artistic director Paul Pierce. "There was a time when virtually all actors, singers, and dancers on our stages were volunteer hobbyists who did theatre for fun and recreation. But as the challenges of putting up fourteen productions a year put pressure on the schedule, it became necessary to cast full-time professional actors who could put in full days to keep production excellence high. In the coming season, we will still do that, but I have decided to make sure we give local actors a serious shot at leading, supporting, featured, and ensemble roles."
Springer associate producer Katie Underwood is the theatre's casting director, and she is eager to connect with young up-and-coming talent as well as experienced local artists that the Springer may not currently know. "In the coming season, we want to impact the community in an ever more meaningful way," explained Underwood. " We think we can do that by spotlighting area artists more frequently. The Springer staff will be taking a deep look at any locals submitting for lead and supporting roles in the 2020-21 season."
"We have heard during this unprecedented time, 'We are all in this together.'" Underwood continued. "As public gatherings become possible again, communities will need connections to the arts more than ever. The Springer's bond to Columbus runs deep with a rich history of highlighting the best talent. The upcoming 2020-21 season will continue in that tradition but with the added splash of more local artists."
While the Springer Opera House has been closed to the public this spring, some Springer staff members have been using this time to do some much-needed work in the Springer's historical archives. One of those employees is production stage manager Rebecca Gossett. "It's amazing how much great local talent we've had in our shows over the years," says Gossett. "I know a lot of the more recent ones, but it's incredible to see so many of the old hands in the archives."
Assistant stage manager, MH Harrison, has had her hands on the archives, as well. "The community support for the Springer has always been tremendous," she says. "Many of the local actors listed in playbills are still connected to the Springer, and it's exciting to see that they once played leading and supporting roles here. I'm struck with the cultural legacy this theatre has."
To be considered for a role in the upcoming Springer Opera House season, visit www.springeroperahouse.org/casting for more information.