Well if you asked me 12 months ago if I would be writing this post I would have said you were mad, but here we are again! I don’t think I’ve actually shared this with you all yet but I am back doing my old role as musical director again for my musical theatre society as we perform ‘The Wedding Singer’ in May! As a result, this weekend was spent watching some super talented people audition and ultimately putting the cast together for our performances.
Firstly, I feel like I need to address being back doing the whole MD thing as this was never the plan. If you’ve been reading these blogs for a while, you’ll know I had an amazing (and challenging) year as MD last year but had truly put the role to bed and was excited to start the new chapter as chair person of the society.
However, after exploring every option as a committee it ultimately came down to me taking the role being what is best for the society and we all know I tend to put Loco above everything else because I love it so much. I think I’m the first person to ever be chairperson and a member of production team so we will see how this pans out!
Technically my role is just ‘vocal director’ this year as someone else is handling the band side of things. The audition panel this weekend consisted of myself, Alex (director), Leanne (choreographer) and Shantai (choreographer) who were given the ultimate task of watching all our members audition, deciding how to cast the show, allocate dances and timetable for the first part of the semester. I won’t explain the audition process too much as it is pretty much the same as last year – I’ll just include last year’s casting a musical link here.
This audition process felt totally different from casting Grease last year. Firstly, for Grease we had nearly 40 people audition and this year we had 27 which meant the weekend was a little less intense. I’m also now on a completely new production team and the newbie so getting used to the group dynamic was important. The Wedding Singer is also a totally different show – it’s a big sing and is technically a lot more difficult than Grease so I definitely have a lot of hard work ahead.
I was so impressed with everyone who came along this weekend. One thing that I stressed within the audition pack was to be prepared. I made sure that as much information as possible was included to aid everyone with their singing auditions and it was so nice to see everyone take that advice on board.
The most important thing for me is potential – it doesn’t need to be perfect just something that I can work with. Other factors I keep in the back of my mind are who demonstrates a great attitude, capability of harmony singing and pitching (that one’s a biggie). Loco auditions are always acapella so it’s really important for me to listen carefully and try and distinguish if pitching problems are inherent or a result of nerves/no accompaniment.
Our last audition was at 5pm on Sunday but we had the dance studio booked until 10pm in order to cast and timetable etc and it’s a good job we did! It took us almost 4 hours to decide on a final cast which is something I had never experienced before. All of the other shows I have been on production team for pretty much cast themselves for me, with one of two roles taking a bit longer to deliberate over. However, this show could have gone so many different ways and I cried in the end out of frustration and uncertainty about what was the right thing to do.
I’m always really weary when it comes to casting because I want to be as fair as possible. Mainly because I was part of some societies in the past where politics have meant that myself and others often missed out on roles for questionable reasons and it really effected my confidence growing up. As a result, I just feel so guilty when people miss out on roles they wanted. It was particularly heart wrenching this year because we were truly spoilt for choice. Everyone gave amazing auditions.
However, the great thing about The Wedding Singer is that, aside from the nine main leads, there are tonnes of named characters that have lines and parts of songs etc so it means everyone gets to do something alongside their ensemble roles.
We had cast reveal yesterday, which is my least favourite part of this role, but I have to say that I am so proud of everyone for their reactions towards each other and towards us. Everyone came for feedback that wanted it and although people were disappointed they took it well and seemed to want to make the most of the show regardless which is something that was definitely lacking from last year’s cast.
We’ve got a hell of a lot of work to put in over the next few months to get this show ready. Alongside dissertation, four jobs, lectures, assessments and the graduate job hunt it is going to be challenging but I really have a good feeling about this one.
I just hope they all like me as vocal director – wish me luck!
Let’s do The Wedding Singer