News in Cortland NY

Cortland Rep Makes the Cover of Southern Theatre Magazine

A photo from Cortland Repertory Theatre’s 2009 summer production of “I Hate Hamlet” is now appearing on the cover of the spring edition of Southern Theatre Magazine. The photo, taken by Cortland photographer and CRT Board Member David Blatchley, was the winner of the magazine’s annual Cover Photo Contest. It features actor Robert Boardman as John Barrymore and CRT regular Dustin Charles as Andrew Rally in a scene from the Paul Rudnick comedy. The contest was open to members of the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC), which is the largest regional theatre organization in the country. Now in its 61st year, the SETC holds regional auditions for actors twice a year in various cities in the south eastern United States. CRT attends the spring auditions, which will be held this year in Lexington, Kentucky on March 4 - 6.

CRT’s Producing Artistic Director Kerby Thompson explains that even though Central New York isn’t likely to be considered “southern United States”, CRT was eligible for the contest because of their membership and attendance to the conference. “The SETC Audition Conference is very beneficial for both theatres and actors. Over 65 theatres attended last year, and we’ve been informed that nearly 900 actors have signed up to audition in March.” Thompson said. Actors have a minute to a minute and a half to audition for all the attending theatres at once in a large ballroom in a hotel conference center. “It’s a great chance for an actor to be seen by a variety of theatres at the same time. From a theatre’s standpoint, we see nearly 900 actors in three days. That’s a lot of people!” Most attendees are college age students; they are given the opportunity to prepare a monologue or sing a song. If a theatre is interested in the actor, they are then “called-back” to speak to the casting director in a separate room, to read particular scenes from a play or sing more of a song. Musical Theatre actors may be asked to learn a dance combination which they perform in front of all the theatres as well.

“It’s a jam-packed three days! Fortunately, we found some very talented people there in the past.” Thompson says. “It’s perfect timing that we’re on the cover of the magazine, because copies of it will be everywhere at the conference.”

CRT also attends a similar conference, the North East Theater Conference (NETC), in Natick, Massachusetts the following week, from March 13 - 15, where Thompson and other show directors will see approximately 600 people. Following that, CRT has five days of auditions in New York City from March 16 - 19 and one day in Cortland County on March 27 at Homer High School.

“When all is said and done, we see nearly 2,000 people for approximately 70 available acting slots and internships.” Thompson said. “A lot of different factors go into casting, and I always get input from the show directors as well. It’s actually very fun and fulfilling to get just the right person for a role.”

CRT invites all local talent to the Cortland auditions. Interested people may call CRT at 607-753-6161 for an audition time slot on March 27, and should visit www.cortlandrep.org for more information on what to prepare.