Community Theatre League auditions get underway next week

PHOTO PROVIDED Members of the Community Theatre League perform on stage. Auditions for the league’s upcoming season will be kicking off next week.

Those in the community who have been bitten by the acting bug won’t have to wait much longer to get on stage and show what they can do.

The Community Theatre League has announced audition dates for its upcoming 2018-19 season. With an ambitious, 19-show lineup ahead of it, the organization will be hosting tryouts with regularity over the coming months.

The first audition, for CTL’s season-opening mainstage rendition of “Romeo and Juliet,” will be starting at 6:30 p.m. on July 29-30. That will be followed up with auditions for all five Studio Series productions on Aug. 19-20, before the Sprouts children’s theatre has its auditions for “Thumbelina” on Aug. 26-27. The league will then host auditions in eight of the next 11 months for shows including “A Christmas Story: The Musical,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Noises Off” and “Guys and Dolls.”

“We are incredibly proud to be able to offer a wide variety of shows this year — for our audiences and everyone involved in the productions. There is something for everyone,” said Phillip Vonada, who will be directing some of CTL’s shows in the upcoming season. “From Shakespeare to shows that are only a few years old; from Disney classics to deep dramas, anyone should be able to tap into the material and find a connection to many of the productions.”

Seth Sponhouse, who serves as educational coordinator and also directs for the league, is equally thrilled for the eclectic season on the horizon and for auditions to start up.

“There is seriously something for everyone in this upcoming season,” said Sponhouse. “It is so exciting kicking off a new season with titles that have not been done in the area for decades, it is going to be a great time.”

Last season, CTL saw nearly 40 new actors make their mainstage debuts, with almost every main production having someone brand new to the theater in it. With new roles to fill in the coming season, CTL’s directors would like to see that trend continue.

“We are always looking to expand our family and encourage ‘freshman’ to come out,” Sponhouse said. “You never know what you could be the perfect fit for. It’s all about finding that perfect fit in each role.”

The league even wants to see people with no formal acting training whatsoever try out for new roles. As long as the desire’s there, something positive can be taken away from the experience regardless of whether or not an aspiring actor makes the cut for a show.

“For most productions, we do open auditions, so everyone auditioning gets the chance to watch other people sing and act in their auditions; so, there’s a great deal of learning that happens right in the room,’ Vonada said. “There’s nothing to lose by putting yourself out there and auditioning. We’ve even had people come just for the experience of the audition, not wanting to be cast — some of whom have found themselves in productions for the very first time anyhow.

“We encourage everyone to have fun and just do their best,” added Vonada. “Each audition gets easier, as people get more comfortable performing in public.”

For a typical play, CTL tends to see the number of actors at auditions range anywhere from 10 to 30 people per night. Musicals regularly draw in about 25 actors each audition. With that many people coming out, it can make the job of director an extremely difficult one.

“The process is far worse for directors than those auditioning,” said Sponhouse. “But always remember that directors want that hard decision; they want everyone to succeed that auditions, so their life is hard.”

“As a director, this is my least favorite part, because the talent that comes through auditions always blows me away,” Vonada said. “Directors are looking to not just put the best actors in the roles, but making sure to have good pairings and a nice mix of actors to support the lead roles. As much as we would love to cast every person that comes into the theater, it’s just not always possible to put all 40 or 50 people who auditioned into a show. We just can’t create roles.”

Though it is always tough for those who don’t get chosen for a show, the lucky ones who do make the cut immediately become part of the CTL community.

“Each show becomes its own little family during productions, and everyone gets to participate in the larger CTL family,” Vonada said. “We are not exclusive by any means, and are always welcoming people to join us on the journey.

“When you’re working on a performance, you get very close to the people around you, because you’re working with them four to five nights a week, for several hours at a time,” he added. “And when shows finish, there’s always a sad moment of ‘this is the last time we’ll do this together,’ until parts of the cast are put together in another production.”

As for advice, Vonada said auditioning is all about not getting in your own head.

“Breathe and don’t be afraid,” he said. “Everyone in the room is incredibly supportive and wants everyone there to succeed. From other auditionees to the production team, we are all there for the same reason, which is to make the best production possible! If you have questions about auditions, we are always happy to field them and send auditionees in the right direction.”

For more information on auditioning, visit