A local community theater actor offers advice on hearing


GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Here’s the come-on: “What’s on your to-do list?” Ever wanted to audition for a play but weren’t sure? »

Evergreen Productions Community Theater in Greater Green Bay has a follow-up to help answer questions.

On the troupe’s Facebook site is a series of posts in which local actor Doug Landwehr takes readers inside the process.

The series isn’t reinventing the wheel, but it does come amid a pandemic when theaters — including Evergreen Productions — are looking to add value to their online venues. Another example is Calumet County Community Players which has a series on the process of putting together a summer musical.

Evergreen Productions says it is looking for men and women to audition for upcoming virtual productions. It would be by video audition. His information on virtual auditions: https://www.evergreentheater.org/uploads/2/2/7/0/22702990/virtual_audition_form.pdf.

The generic title of Doug Landwehr’s writing is “Waiting in the Green Room”.

Here is a substantially edited sample, by date, of his thoughts:

+ February 1: “Hearings: what could be worse?”

Before the audition, I do some homework. For me, the script is key… Help YouTube or Google… I’m looking for a role that matches my age, type and range, of course. And, since I could spend the next three months on this project if chosen – NEVER a sure thing – I want the script/story to be interesting and worth telling…

The typical audition routine is easy. At Evergreen, you fill out an audition card, have your picture taken for the director to remember you, read lines multiple times with different people. Sometimes you prepare and read a monologue… In 2021 we will be auditioning via Zoom and video submissions for the time being. Same idea, but not quite as fun….

A word of advice for people auditioning in person for the first time: be clear, be heard, breathe!… If you have an inspiration for a character from your pre-assignment, go ahead and give it a try. What could be worse?…

I love to audition. It’s a chance to play pretend with friends and show off a bit without real consequences.

Doug Landwehr. (Evergreen Productions)

+ February 8: “Auditions to cast a photo: how long? »

As a volunteer actor, my time is my biggest “cost”. But what does that really mean in hours and minutes?

The calendar duration of a play is nine weeks: one week of audition (one or two evenings), six weeks of rehearsal and two weeks of performance…

Local managers vary, but generally rehearsals are 7-9pm Monday-Thursday… Let’s say 50 hours of rehearsal… If you have less time on stage, your rehearsal time might be only 30-40 hours…

The first week of performance is the most intense. At Evergreen, we move set, costumes and props from our build shop (on Morrow Street in Green Bay) to the Webb Theater (at St. Norbert College in De Pere) on Sundays starting at 8am. Everyone is needed. It can be a 12 hour day…

This Sunday evening, the first technical rehearsal is scheduled. During technical evenings and performances, actors must be in the theater one hour before curtain time and approximately 30 minutes after. If the show lasts 2.5 hours, that’s four hours… This Sunday to Sunday is the longest week of the race, 32 hours over eight nights…

How much total time do we have? About 100-140 hours not including travel… But you WANT to try it just once, right?

+ February 15: “Benevolent dictators of the scene.”

“Benevolent” in that the director needs the people skills to keep everyone happy and focused on the end goal of applause from a grateful audience. “Dictator” in the sense that the director is the deciding vote on all matters relating to a production. There may be discussions with others about casting, blocking, character development, costumes, set, makeup, lighting, technology and more, but the FINAL decision must be with the director. Without a strong company-backed director, a show is chaos.

+ February 22: “Director’s call: do you want the part?”

A director likes a lot of people to try, so there are a lot of choices for casting. Sometimes a director makes a quick decision on the casting… and sometimes extra readings are scheduled which delays everything…

When players are contacted depends on the director. Usually the lead roles are cast first as this casting affects the supporting roles…

Hearing nothing at first doesn’t mean you don’t have a part, you might not be in the lead…

But if you’re ONE person cast in the role, that’s a great feeling. It’s not exactly a sense of accomplishment since you haven’t done anything yet. It’s more like receiving the secret clubhouse password from the cool kids in town.


In each of these segments, Doug Landwehr goes into much more detail. The information comes from the horse’s mouth and from a local person.

In his last opus of “Waiting in the Green Room” from March 1, Doug Landwehr touches on emotion by returning to the last production of Evergreen Productions mounted in March 2020.


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