Auditions at Hume-Fogg Academic High School are very competitive. We cast students that do the best on the day of the audition. Not every show has roles that fit every student. One of our former students who has appeared on Broadway, did not get the lead in the musical his senior year. He was clearly our best singer, but he was not right for the lead role in the musical. Several times, our best performer has gone from being considered for the lead to not making the show at all. This is hard to explain and even harder to deal with when it happens to you or your child. Putting together the cast/crew of a show is a complex puzzle. You have to fit the pieces together in a way that will help all of the students shine in each particular production. Sometimes you get the lead, sometimes you are in the ensemble, sometimes you are on crew, and sometimes you don't make the show.
This can be difficult to understand for students and parents. It is the worst part of a theatre teacher's job. Casting students is exciting, but cutting kids is painful for everyone. Unfortunately, dealing with rejection is part of theatre. If you want to be involved in Hume-Fogg Theatre, you need to be excited to audition for any role, and willing to be a part of the crew.
Learning how to endure the rejection, continuing to work, and coming back to audition are the way to succeed in theatre.
Michael Shurtleff was a legendary Broadway and Hollywood casting director. He wrote the book, Audition, to help other people learn about the audition process. The following are two short passages from the book that deal with not being cast. We share these passages with students, but we think they are also important for parents to hear, as well.
Why Didn't You Get the Role?
"Actors must not worry about why they don't get a role; they should only concern themselves with doing the best ... audition they know how to do. ... Many times I have heard directors say about an actor: 'That is the best audition we'll ever see of that role. Too bad we can't cast him.' Their regret is genuine. But there has to be a balance in casting-the parts must fit like a jigsaw puzzle-and there are times when the best auditioners don't 'fit.' An actor cannot concern himself with that; there lies madness. Just go ahead and audition well, cry a little when you don't get the role you want, but never ask why. The why is usually a series of imponderables over which the actor has not control."
How Do I Find Out Why I Wasn't Accepted?
"There is no value in finding out why you weren't accepted; you'll rarely learn the truth, anyhow. Since all the considerations in casting are relative, what good will it do for you to find out you're too short for the leading lady or too tall for the leading man? The solution would be to go home and cut your leg off or put on a pair of stilts; neither will help you. Casting is a very subjective process for the auditors, naturally, no matter what objective criteria they use. Given readings of equal excellence, they are more likely to decide because "I like her." There's nothing you can do about that, so it's better not to concern yourself with it. The reasons for not choosing you are likely to be myriad and complex, from the fact that you look too like another actor already cast to their subjective reaction of not liking your looks or the timbre of your voice to the fact that you remind them of their first wife-reasons you can do nothing to control or alter."
We hope that if you like theatre, you continue to audition. There are lots of ways to get on stage. Just keep auditioning and don't let anyone stop you from achieving your dreams.