White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Monday, January 30, 2017

Stand and Deliver - the Audition, Priscilla Beach Theatre, Priscilla Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

It is cold and the stage is quiet at Priscilla Beach Theatre (PBT) in the middle of winter when there are no scheduled performances.

However, the owners, directors, producers, and staff are hard at work preparing for the coming performance season.

Director Theresa Chiasson, Director Danny Bolton, Musical Director Chris Ricci, and Owners Bob and Sandy Malone (left to right) are seated at a long table situated in front of what will be a sequence of actresses auditioning for the first two shows of the Summer 2017 performance season on the Barn Stage at PBT. The two shows are "The Marvelous Wonderettes" in May, and "Nunsense" in June.

They sit in a classroom at the Boston Center for the Arts where, in a tightly orchestrated sequence, a steady stream of hopeful actresses approximately one every five minutes over a five hour period will stand and deliver before the panel hoping to secure a part. Imagine if you will, having just a moment to demonstrate a snippet of your talent to strangers and hope you are "good enough" to be selected for a part.

Casting is a magical and amazing process to me - these experienced directors must assess talent, skill, background, and demeanor and decide if the candidate is right for the part and whether their selection will fit the ensemble of the entire cast. Each performer has about 90 seconds in which they sing 32 bars of a musical selection of their choosing to demonstrate vocal ability. They may also be asked to read lines to demonstrate role playing. They are all talented and experienced and trained but there are few roles available.

Each candidate confers briefly with the accompanist and then perform 32 bars of music and perhaps reads a brief scene before the panel. The pianist must be able to receive the sheet music from the prospective performer and instantly sight-read the selection to provide the accompaniment - what a skill.

Some performers are pitch-perfect, some are flat, some are sharp, some are nervous but, none has more than a few brief moments to make a winning impression on the directors.

It is a stark environment - an empty classroom, florescent lights glaring overhead, empty walls and a shiny linoleum floor reminiscent of elementary school - only the performer and accompanist break the silence.

The directors are sharply focused on the brief displays looking to see that special something.

The performers pour their hearts and souls into the brief display. They've spent much of their young lives working on improving and perfecting their craft. And now, at the audition, they have literally seconds to stand and deliver and hope the producers select them for the part.

Some of you may remember the wonderful 1988 movie, "Stand and Deliver." It's about focus, hard work, and motivation which can sometimes make it possible to accomplish the seemingly impossible against insurmountable odds.

There is some levity but, this is serious business and they all know that going in.

Imagine putting it all out there on the line to be judged by strangers and then being either selected or rejected. It's a challenging life these young thespians have chosen. It is no wonder humans so enjoy the performing arts. It is no simple thing to stand and deliver each and every time - live before a critical audience. It is no wonder we exalt our performers - they compete regularly, are rejected often, but still come back for more. They have skills worth enjoying and applauding.

Come out to the PBT Barn Stage to enjoy the following adult cast performances in the 2017 Summer Performance Season - plan to be there and be transported and transformed by the experience:

"The Marvelous Wonderettes" in May,

"Nunsense" in June,

"West Side Story" in July,

"The Producers" in August,

"All Shook Up" in September, and

"Little Shop of Horrors" in October.

For tickets and information, contact PBT either online at PBTheatre.org or by phone at 508-224-4888 - you'll be glad you did.

There will be neither snow nor bitter cold when the curtain opens.........be there. There is a reason we so love theatre regardless our culture or national origin - it transports us to a magical place, a place of our dreams, a place of our youth, the land of creativity and make-believe. Come enjoy the dreams!


  1. Your perceptions of this daunting process, from both sides of the table, are astute and inciteful. Your photos are as awesome as ever and clearly demonstrate the depth of concentration required from the directors table, as well as the intense hope in the eyes of the auditioned.
    Thanks again Joe!