A couple of years ago, I was holding auditions for a play I was set to direct. A young man came into the room and handed me his resume. Sticking out among his long list of experience was a production of Bat Boy at a certain theatre company in 2010, where he played the role of Thomas Parker. It stuck out to me because I had actually seen that exact production, except this young man did not portray the role of Thomas Parker, because my friend did.
After calling my friend, I found out that this young man was in fact in the cast, but in the ensemble. Needless to say I didn't cast this person.
Lying on your theatrical resume may have worked before the internet and social media, but it amazes me that today, people still do it. For such a small item, it's something that could get you cut from an audition more than your talent, because if you're dishonest about your experience, what else are you being dishonest about? How trustworthy are you if you were cast? Directors don't have time or patience to deal with these questions, so they'll cut you and move on. Even worse, it's something that can ruin your reputation, which will never be repaired.
What's even more ludicrous is the thought that somehow it actually helps your chances. I, along with every director I've known, have never cast someone in a role based on whether or not they played the lead or ensemble in a previous show. If you have the talent, a smart director will cast you, plain and simple.
Now I do understand why people do it. A resume, along with a lot of other things, is just another item for an actor to be insecure about. But what some don't realize, is that being 100% honest can actually secure a job because you were being honest.
For instance, I was auditioning for a role in a musical years ago. I handed the director my resume and after looking at it, he asked me about one of the shows I had done. Apparently he was friends with the director of that show. After a minute of telling fun stories, I finished my audition. A week later, I found out I had gotten the role and also found out that this director had called his friend who had directed me years before, apparently nice things were said and I got the role. Being honest helped me in this situation, this was a college production where I was on stage for about five minutes, I could have easily lied. But then I would have been caught the moment this director had called his friend.
As big as this industry is, people know people, so being 100% honest on your resume can never hurt. So stop lying, be proud of your previous work and build on it.