What The Phantom of the Opera‘s Open Casting Call Means for Broadway’s Return
The Broadway production is searching for a Christine Daaé, and accepting video submissions.
When a casting call for Christine Dáae in The Phantom of the Opera was issued earlier this week, the industry took notice of two minor but telling changes. While video submissions are nothing new in the COVID-19 pandemic, few have been expanded to open calls (to include non-Equity performers), and even fewer have been for a Broadway production. In addition, the casting notice states the character can be “Black, Latine, MENASA, API, Indigenous, or white.”
So what’s the big deal? Imagine a line of performers, somehow fresh-faced despite having just gotten off the bus/subway/train to NYC, waiting to sing 16 bars in a tiny room for strangers sitting six feet away. Now send them all back from where they came and give them the chance to audition from their home. That’s essentially what’s happening—the requirements are all the same, but the accessibility pool is much wider.
On top of saving money and time because of travel, the virtual process “affords the auditionees time to prepare and work on the material at their convenience,” says Peter Van Dam of Tara Rubin Casting, who is heading the search alongside Xavier Rubiano. “Of course, nothing replaces the excitement of hearing someone sing live in a room and getting to know them face to face.”
Broadway productions are required to hold Equity Principal Auditions once a year, and Equity Chorus Calls twice a year. Depending on the project, Tara Rubin Casting tries to hold open calls on a regular basis where anyone, regardless of their union status, is welcome to attend.
While nothing is set in stone, the casting directors hope this open call is a sign of things to come with Broadway’s reopening on the horizon. “One of the most exciting and gratifying aspects of our job is meeting and encouraging young and upcoming performers of all backgrounds. Holding open calls is key to discovering the next generation of artists.”