Sunday, September 8, 2013


Getting Cast in a CVFT Show

We had our beloved vocal coach over again yesterday...she said we are doing better with our songs and may even be ready for tomorrow. We are still nerve-wracked a bit because you just never know. I was digging around on the website again and found the CVFT Casting Guidelines..thought you might find this interesting too. I cut it down for your viewing pleasure.

MISSION of Organization: provide quality, affordable live theater for our region, in an environment where families can participate together.

Super talented participants, cool sets & costumes, gorgeous facilities
and filled with wonderful grandparents, kids, moms and dads.
My take on how CVFT casts a show:
Im not saying these are weighted equally but I do know first hand they all come into play.

1. Talent
In effort to "produce the finest theatre possible, we do so in a balanced effort, ensuring that we continue to build our core of talent, improve the quality of our productions..."

2. Family Participation  
Brother & Sister learning their lines.
Whether on stage or behind the scenes, CVFT is looking for families to work together, play together and grow together with other families in our community (see #3). 

"We try to avoid casting a child without his or her parents involved in some way."

Father Daughter Duo

Onstage and behind the scenes family.

3. Community
As a community theatre, CVFT produces these shows for the community BY the community. And because the quality of these productions is so/has been so good -the community has expanded. If you were to ask me -I would say our community is comprised of the South and South Western suburbs of Minneapolis.

"We are a community-based theatre, and as such, in the case where multiple persons are qualified for the same role, we may give preference to persons who live in our immediate region."

4. Commitment
Theater is time consuming. Let's just get that out there. Rehearsals can be three times a week -more if you are cast in a lead role. Then a week or so before opening -it's nearly every night -sometimes late. Plus, those cast are required to be at every performance.  

"We set a clear expectation for regular attendance at rehearsals."
"A preliminary schedule is published at the time of auditions."

Hope this helps. Here is the full document: Casting Guidelines...and here is to a great theater season! 

(and sometimes) Ensemble Cast

Monday, September 2, 2013

Inside Scoop: AUDITIONS!

Audition Notes From The Directors

Chaska Valley Family Theatre’s “Annie” and “All Hands on Deck” auditions are just around the corner - (September 9th & 10th).  It’s an exciting time for CVFT Directors as well as for those of us coming to the audition.
As I prepare my own family for this sometimes scary/exciting and always nerve-racking endeavor, I remind myself there is never a bad audition experience. Get out there and do it, I say…it is all a learning experience whether you land the role or not. However, let’s be honest, a house full of tears is not fun either.

So, this time around, II decided to tap into our delightfully seasoned network of CVFT Directors to ask for a bit of audition advice. Here is what they had to say:
Jim Lund
Start strong! Directors generally make a decision within the first ten or fifteen seconds. Establish your character before you begin to sing or speak.”
Jim Lund, Director CVFT’s Laughingstock –Summer 2014

"The first audition is so terrifying you may swear you will never put yourself through it again, but don't worry, first-timers.  The veterans and professionals are just as terrified as you are.  And you will probably do it again."
Paula Atkins, CVFT Founder/Director CVFT

"As a director across the table, actors sometimes feel like I'm the enemy. But, what actors have to know is that I'M ON YOU'RE SIDE. I want you to do your best and to succeed (maybe even more than you). It makes the job I have much easier and way more fun.”
“Be kind and professional. 100% of the time I will cast the person who will be the best work with over the person who is the most talented."               
Kyle Thomas, Director of CVFT ‘s “Annie” 2013

Bill Coldwell
“People often ask, after not getting cast for a role they wanted: “what could I have done differently in my audition?”

If you prepared yourself mentally, chose a song that best reflected your vocal range and ability, read or danced well, and did everything else you could do, then the answer is:  “probably nothing.”  It really all depends on who else is competing for the role.

We can learn a lot of things by participating in theater, and unfortunately, one of these is that things don’t always go our way. Learning how to bounce back from disappointment is valuable skill that will last a lifetime.”
Bill Coldwell, Board of Directors, President/Director of CVFT’s “All Hands on Deck” 2013 & “It’s a Wonderful Life” 2012

Kevin Spencer
Be prepared: Know the show. Know the music. Have all of your conflicts for the rehearsal period available for the director.
Exude confidence - make eye contact and smile.
Show that you have a lot of energy.
Show that you have a positive attitude and a willingness to do whatever is necessary to create a positive experience for everyone.”
Kevin Spencer, Director CVFT’s “Frog & Toad” 2014, “Cinderella” 2011

"You need to realize that the people behind the table have already spent long hours on the show just to get to this point. It is only courteous for you to put in some effort yourself. 

Some auditions require bringing a piece to perform in front of the creative staff. For this, prepare a song ahead of time. Don't rely on someone else in the room to provide music for you. If you show up unprepared for an audition, it reflects badly on you, and shows us you may not be a person to depend on in the future. You don't need to bring music for an accompanist, though almost always there will be someone who can play along for you. If you have sheet music, realize that you will only sing a verse of the song. If we let everyone perform their song in whole, auditions would take weeks! Think ahead of time which section of the song you want to perform that showcases your talents (consider your vocal range, how you project and enunciate your voice, etc.)

Guthrie Horgan & Jenny Boothroyd-Director,
CVFT's "Wizard of Oz" 2014
But the greatest asset you can bring into an audition is confidence. If I see someone who gets up and sings with verve and gusto, even if they make mistakes in their song, I am more willing to remember that person than someone who meekly muddles their way through a song. Practice in the shower, in front of friends, even in front of strangers (which is its best option, since you would be doing that for a show anyway).

And never forget, in the end we are here to have fun through it all, so don't take it too seriously."
Guthrie Horgan, Director CVFT’s Music Man 2013

I hope these words of wisdom help you as much as it has us. In addition, we found a great online database to help us prep for our 16 to 20 measures. allows you to search songs based on your vocal range and interests. We also found our sheet music at the beloved Chan Library as well as online at Looking forward to seeing you on the stage, behind the scenes or in the theater!

P.S. I would also add that one of the key attributes of the CVFT mission is family participation –either on stage or behind the scenes. The family that auditions and/or volunteers together does have a better chance being cast in a Chaska Valley Family Theatre show. Please be sure to check out the volunteer signup sheets at the auditions!