Shooting for stardom
Maine State Music Theatre’s local auditions for their summer 2017 productions kick off on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 10:30 a.m. MSMT is expecting a mix of new and familiar faces at their studios on Elm Street in Brunswick.
“We know some of the people who are coming, and some are veteran actors, but it’s also nice to meet people who are right next door who have talent,” said Carol Marquis, director of marketing and communications at MSMT.
The auditions feature mostly Maine actors. Marquis said all folks have to do is show up, register and then wait their turn to be seen by MSMT Artistic Director Curt Dale Clark and Managing Director Stephanie Dupal.
“There are hundreds of people who come to our local auditions,” said Marquis. “It’s just one day, so it’s a very fast-paced process. But Curt and Steph take their time to see each person. We don’t turn anyone away.”
“Local auditions are my chance to see the talent that is homegrown, and I am so happy that each year we see more talent,” said Clark. “We hope that our productions each year inspire people in the area to immerse themselves in the love of the American Musical.”
Taking the stage
Auditions begin with a children’s open call, at which MSMT is looking to fill two male roles for “Tommy.”
“We usually have lots of new kids,” said Marquis. “Some come all the way up from Boston. The children screenings usually make for a full house.”
Glenn Anderson of Saco has been attending MSMT auditions for 20 years, and said each year presents a new challenge.
“I remember seeing an ad in the paper for auditions 20 years ago (and thinking) I would give it a try,” said Anderson, who has taken on such roles as Maurice in “Beauty and the Beast,” Rose’s father in “Gypsy” and Abner Dillon in “42nd Street.” “It’s always somewhat unnerving to put yourself on the line, and it doesn’t get any easier. But the folks at MSMT are always friendly. They want you to do well. After you go through the process you always feel good.”
After arriving, signing up and getting called in from the lobby, Anderson said actors are asked to sing a song of their choosing. Actors are then given a few minutes to review selected scenes from the play that they’re reading for.
“You read it once to the staff, and then they ask you to read it again, doing something a little bit differently,” said Anderson. “They don’t want you to have a preconceived idea of the character. They want flexibility.”
After a break, actors are brought back for dance auditions in the afternoon.
“The choreographers put you through some steps,” said Anderson. “You’ve got to know something about dance for most plays.”
Once auditions are through, actors must wait to hear if they got the part. Anderson said he’s gotten results on the same day before, but that sometimes it can take up to two weeks to hear back.
A learning experience
While Anderson said that he has had his eyes set on a certain role going into auditions, he has learned to temper his expectations and put his trust in the MSMT staff to decide which role best fits his style.
“The directors know better than we do,” Anderson said. “I’ll get an offer to do a different role than I expected and realize how right they are and how wrong I was. Their judgment is better than mine, and it’s worked out very well.”
Anderson also stressed the inviting atmosphere of MSMT’s local auditions.
“They always have a welcoming and open approach, always friendly,” said Anderson. “Their treatment of the actors is always very positive. It’s very different than what you would see on the TV or movies.”
Above all else, Anderson said that auditioning at MSMT is a learning experience.
“I don’t mind putting myself out on the line and learning something new,” said Anderson.
MSMT’s local auditions begin with children’s open call at 10 a.m., followed by Maine adult and performance intern open call at 11:30 a.m. The day concludes with adult and performance intern dance auditions at 3 p.m. To learn more about MSMT’s Local Auditions, visit msmt.org/local.