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East September 08, 2005

Play by Play
Getting Cast in This Season's Dramas and Comedies

For our Spotlight on Acting Schools and Coaches, Back Stage looks at the plays scheduled for the 2005-06 New York season and what it takes to get cast in them. Ten commercial productions and 18 not-for-profit theatres have been surveyed to find out what they're looking for, with words of wisdom from casting directors and artistic directors discussing a total of more than 60 scheduled works, along with their general philosophy about audition technique and company styles and preferences.

Commercial Productions Off-Broadway


Off-Broadway opening: Oct. 21, 2004.

An open call was held in June for the Florida production. To be considered for future productions or as a replacement, send a photo and résumé to Attn: Jewtopia, Mungioli Theatricals, 207 West 25th St., 6th floor, New York, NY 10001.

Although being Jewish is not a requirement, anyone auditioning for the show must understand and enjoy over-the-top, bawdy, ethnically Jewish humor.

"This is a specific type of outrageous comedy. We need funny actors who are not afraid to go out on a limb and can deliver what we need," says casting director Arnold J. Mungioli. "It's a 'Saturday Night Live' kind of sensibility with great comic timing."

The production employs four male and three female actors, and "three and a half understudies" -- two males and a female who are under contract and another male actor who is hired only when needed. Two of the males and two of the females are in their 20s to 30s, while the others are in their 50s to 70s. Five of the roles are meant for seemingly-Jewish Caucasians, but a young gentile-looking male and a young Asian female are also needed.

According to Sam Wolfson, who co-wrote the show and originated the role of Adam Lipschitz, physicality is important but not necessarily vital. "You walk in the room and half the battle is out of your hands, but there have been times when people have surprised us," he says. "It's the kind of thing where either you click and you're funny, or you're just not. It's not something that can be taught or learned. When you audition, do what makes you funny and special."

There have been previous stagings in Los Angeles and Chicago, and a new one just opened in Florida. A national tour will begin in March 2006, productions are being developed for London, Sydney, and Israel, and a film version is in the works.

-- Matt Windman

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