Although it’s still months before the lights go up on the 2022 Tuacahn Broadway season, the teams behind the scenes are already busy with show selection, design concepts and, of course, curating just the right cast.
With audiences already eagerly anticipating the opening of Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins, along with Wonderland, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story this summer, and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical in winter, actors and actresses from around the country are equally excited by the possibility of taking their turn on Tuacahn’s iconic stages.
…David Archuleta will play the title role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat….
“It’s a really exciting process,” says Zoe Baird, company manager. “Right now we’re setting up the dates and cities where the casting tour will go; getting studio space, scheduling an accompanist. It’s coming up quickly.”
As company manager, Baird has the unique responsibility of being the first face potential cast members see as she greets them on audition day. She is also the last contact they have with Tuacahn at the end of their contract when she sees them off to the airport.
“I’m the person who arranges their travel and accommodations while they’re here and I serve as their main point of contact for anything they need,” Baird says, then adds with a laugh, “Some of them think I’m Google or Alexa or Siri, or their mom. I play a lot of roles for a lot of people.”
Considering everything she does for the cast while they’re at Tuacahn, Baird says she enjoys having that connection with them from day one at the auditions.
The casting tour kicked off Jan. 10 and will include auditions in Salt Lake City, Provo, Los Angeles, New York City and St. George.
“We do give ourselves a couple of days off between the bigger cities, but it really feels like we’re gone for five or six weeks straight,” Baird says.
The audition team includes Scott Anderson, Tuacahn’s artistic director, along with Shari Jordan, assistant artistic producer and casting coordinator, as well as the creative teams for each of the season’s musicals. Casting actors who can tackle roles across each of the season’s productions takes an extra dose of talent, and some creative collaboration among the directors and choreographers.
“It does get a little complicated because all three creative teams have to agree on people,” Baird says.
However, one role that has already been decided is that David Archuleta will play the title role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat through Sept. 3.
“This will be a great vehicle for David,” Anderson says. “People are going to love it!”
The decision to cast Archuleta in this popular role has been in the works for a while, and is just one piece to the puzzle when it comes to determining which productions to include in the season.
“The final decision always rests with Scott Anderson and the Tuacahn Board of Directors, but we also listen closely to the input of our patrons,” Jordan says.
One of the challenges is securing the rights to the shows that patrons are excited to see.
“It’s a family show with a lot of great hits. I think it’s going to delight audiences.” ~ Frank Wildhorn of Wonderland
“Sometimes people wonder why we aren’t bringing in things like Wicked or Les Miserables in a certain year. That’s where the patron survey results are a little tricky,” Jordan says. “We put things on that survey that we are hoping to get the rights to, but if that show is on Broadway or part of a national tour, they’re not available.”
The process is often multiple years in the making and the decision is based on a myriad of factors.
“We’ve been pursuing the rights to do Joseph for a couple of years,” Jordan says. “We also love to present a Disney Theatrical production and we haven’t done Mary Poppins since 2013. And after seeing the monumental success of The Count of Monte Cristo this summer, the chance to produce another Frank Wildhorn piece like Wonderland made a lot of sense.”
“It’s a no-brainer for the Tuacahn audience,” says Frank Wildhorn of Wonderland. “It’s a family show with a lot of great hits. I think it’s going to delight audiences. I hope the community will embrace this production as its own.”
Inside the Hafen Theatre, audiences can expect Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story to live up to the level of talent and energy unleashed during Million Dollar Quartet.
“Buddy Holly is going to be the perfect fit,” Jordan says. “The story is filled with all kinds of interesting details, and you are definitely going to know these songs.”
Similar to MDQ, the actors will be playing their own instruments live on stage.
“And who doesn’t love the delightful holiday classics like ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,’ and ‘Holly Jolly Christmas?’” Jordan says. “I just can’t wait to see it all come together.”