What to Consider When Two Actors are Perfect for the Same Role

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  • Nikki Scamuffo

When casting a show, it’s a great feeling not to have a shortage of talent. However, that can get a bit stressful when multiple people are right for the same role.

As actors, we’re well aware of when we’re up against another person for a role. Usually, the director and/or casting director will keep switching between the same two people to read for the same role. This puts a lot of pressure on the two actors being evaluated over and over again. In the end, someone needs to get the role, and all the actors can do at that point is their best.

As directors, how do we choose between two people who could do wonderfully in a role? When two people are perfect for the same role, it’s time to start nitpicking. Directors may feel uncomfortable being in this position because it makes them pay attention to every little detail of an audition; they may feel shallow or too judgemental. However, it will help them find the perfect actor for the role.

Nitpicking can mean many things when a director is choosing between actors. First, it should be most helpful to nitpick the audition. Did one of the actors trip up a line in their monologue? Did one actor nail a note while the other cracked? Was one actor more responsive to criticism than the other? This may sound judgemental, but it can help a torn director make up her mind.

Let’s say both actors did just as wonderful in their auditions; then the nitpicking has to go even further. Does one actor look more perfect for the role? What in their resume sets them apart from other performers? Does this actor have a reputation in the theatre community, whether it’s good or bad? Maybe the director has enjoyed working with them before? When auditions are equal in quality, digging deeper and considering every possibility can help a director cast the best choice.

Actors, though it’s always valid to be disappointed when you don’t get a role, try to remember that it’s not personal. Most of the time, no one is plotting against you in the casting room; the casting puzzle just needs to fit together in the best possible way. So many factors go into casting the perfect show, just try to trust the director’s vision.

Directors, choose wisely! It’s OK to be torn in the audition room, but when it comes to officially casting a show, make sure to cover all your bases. No matter what it takes, try and make the best, most informed decision on which actor plays what role.

Overall, this is an excellent problem to have! Having multiple actors that could be wonderful as leads will create a strong ensemble. No matter who ends up getting the role, the rest of the show will drastically improve with the talent from the other actors.