all the worldwide web is a stage The Official Website of Richard Reilly

The Official Website of Richard Reilly

Acting Naturally

Richard's Writings > Acting Naturally > Oliver! auditions

Synopsis of Oliver! auditions

My first paid role, for a production company that had a budget of a quarter million dollars for this one production. But first I had to go through an exhaustive audition process - all new experiences for me. I share what I did and what it felt like while I went through the Cattle Call and the call-backs.

Excerpt from Oliver! auditions

They call it the Cattle Call because the image that is brought to mind is pretty accurate. Imagine a tightly packed room of braying, swaying steers. Yep. First come, first heard (herd). They have you fill out a form, listing vital stats and experience. They take a Polaroid photo and have you wear a sticky with the number on the form (mine was 33). They call in groups of eight and you wait in folding chairs just off stage while one by one (in numerical order) they have you come to downstage center and sing the song you have prepared, followed by the 1-2 minute monologue.

The producers are sitting somewhere in the middle of the theatre, in the dark. The others of your group are sitting offstage, listening, and getting nervous. I chose to sing "Gethsemane" from Jesus Christ Superstar, a cappella; and for the monologue I did the tombstone scene from Scrooge (he asks if all this must be or might be, sees his own tombstone, falls on his knees and insists he's not the man he used to be...). Then - back to the chair.

The producers send a runner with a slip that either says, "Thanks for auditioning, try again next year" or says, "You are called back to read for:" and the appropriate box is checked. You don't audition for a particular part; they choose what part they want to hear you read. I was called back for Bill Sikes and Ensemble.


Click here to go direct to the next chapter.

Click here to email the author.