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  • Scott Carter Cooper

Over the Edge -- Casting

We had more than 200 actors submit resumes for 50 audition slots to be heard for 15 roles. The amount of experience ranged from more than 30 years in Chicago non-Equity theatre to one actor coming in with her mother for her very first audition. And we could have cast this project three times over with the talent we heard on that day. And we were incredibly fortunate that every actor who was offered a role, accepted and committed to giving up part of their holiday weekend for this project.

Actors were asked to come in with one minute of dense text, preferably verse. I was listening for vocal quality and flexibility as well as preparation. A note to actors: don’t assume you’ll be able to read cold if the audition notice says you’re reading. You have to prepare just like you would for a memorized piece. Some very talented actors stumbled badly thinking they could simply pick up a text and read it almost cold. As in life, preparation was key.

What was important was finding a variety of voices that not only were interesting but fit the characters and contrasted with the other actors. I listen to a lot of podcasts, and there’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to tell who is talking! What you’re hearing are some of the most beautiful voices in Chicago. Some of these artists have budding voiceover careers, and those that don’t should! I hope that as you listen, you’ll find them on social media and give them a bit of encouragement.

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