Over the years, we’ve received questions about how ATP finds the talent it brings to Whitefish. In the beginning of each year, Artistic Director, Betsi Morrison, places audition notices in Backstage, Playbill, and with Actors Equity Association, letting actors know what roles are being offered. These notices also get sent to theatrical agents in NYC. Soon, agents begin sending submissions to Betsi of their clients whom they would like to have considered for an audition - around 800 submissions. Betsi then selects about 300 actors from this group and schedules auditions in New York.
After an audition space is reserved and pianist is contracted to play the auditions, Betsi heads to NYC for 3- 5 days of auditions. Audition days begin at 9am and last until 5pm. During that time, actors are brought into the audition room every 3 minutes to perform what they think is the most appropriate song for the roles being offered. That’s a different actor, every 3 minutes, for 8 hours a day, for at least 3 days. In addition to the 300+ agent submissions, Betsi usually also has open calls for actors who don’t have agents. That’s a total of 500+ actors.
ATP has garnered a reputation in New York City for having some of the most fun auditions in the business. It may have something to do with the fact that we hand out chocolate to everyone and it’s not uncommon for past ATP artists to sit in the room, creating almost a party-like atmosphere. Auditioning is tough. We want to make the experience of auditioning more fun.
Betsi then returns to Whitefish with a suitcase full of headshots and begins the arduous process of casting. When the cast list is finally determined after a few weeks, Betsi puts out contract offers to the actors or, if the actor is represented by an agent, the actors’ agents. Once contract negotiations are concluded with agents, contracts are sent to all artists.
This year’s cast arrives June 16 to begin rehearsals on June 17. After a process that is 6 months in the making, rehearsals can finally begin on the 2014 season!