I once was directing a show that featured a lead role which one could describe as “a bucket list” type of role. After auditions were finished, I had exactly 67 men to choose from. Some might call that a blessing, some may call it a curse.
As we wrapped callbacks, I agonized over two actors for the role. However, I noticed that one of them had checked off on his audition sheet that he would accept any role offered to him. I had also called this actor back for another role because of that. So, thinking I had the perfect situation to have two strong actors in this cast, I called this actor and told him while I had offered to lead to someone else, I really wanted him to play this other role.
“But you said you would be willing to accept any role in the show?”, I replied.
“Well I just don’t feel that giving up that much time for this role is worth it,” he said.
“Then why did you check off that you would accept any role?" I annoyingly asked.
“I didn’t want to seem like a diva if I didn’t check that box,” he replied.
Cue me banging my head on the table repeatedly.
Needless to say, I wasn’t happy. I was reminded of this the other day when a director friend of mine said the same thing happened to her. She’s in the midst of casting Legally Blonde and has had three women decline roles because they weren’t cast as Elle, despite checking off that they would accept any role on their auditions sheet.
Folks, most of us in community/school theatre know this, but please be honest when letting a director know that you’ll accept any role. It can be a huge help in casting a show and throw an enormous kink into it if someone is lying about that.
Directors (who know what they’re doing) are not going to hold it against you if you don’t check that box and are only auditioning for certain roles. Especially in community theatre realms, when these shows take up a lot of unpaid time, I completely understand if an actor doesn’t want to do that for a role they don’t necessarily want.
Not every audition process has multiple contingency plans, casts are put together like puzzles and when it can’t be solved because of someone’s dishonesty before auditions, that can cause some real issues.
Yes, it does help your chances of being cast if you check that box, but doing so dishonestly can also be irreparable in the eyes of that director.
So please be honest.