Best friends and theater insiders Stellene Volandes and William Li explore Broadway's bedrock, talking to today's most fascinating stage actors about their most critical and transformative audition. It's a job interview like no other! So mix a martini and settle in for high-stakes drama like only Broadway's brightest stars can deliver.
THERE'S NO ONE LIKE YOU WITH ANDRÉ DE SHIELDS
43:09André De Shields, a self-styled Black hippie eager to live in "the citadel of self-expression," made his way to New York City from Chicago in the early 1970s to play Xander the Unconquerable, Ruler of the Sixth Dimension in Warp, billed as "The World's First Science Fiction Epic Adventure Play in Serial Form." It bombed. But soon after, De Shields talked his way into auditioning for the titular role in The Wiz, a groundbreaking Black reimagining of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. What happened next changed the course of American Theater. Join Broadway legend and Tony Award winner André De Shields this holiday season, along with Stellene Volandes and William Li, for one of the greatest audition stories ever told.
I'M NEVER GOING TO WORK AGAIN WITH CAISSIE LEVY
33:29The prolific Caissie Levy joins Stellene and William to discuss impostor syndrome, fearing every role might be her last, singing Memory from Cats postpartum in a newborn intensive care unit, the soggy, soupy outing that landed her the Broadway role of Disney's Elsa, that time she sang backup for Rod Stewart in Vegas, and breaking out Bubbe's best black dress to audition for her current Broadway role in Caroline, or Change--open through January 9, 2022, go see it!
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THE FULL DAPH WITH DAPHNE RUBIN-VEGA
34:11Daphne Rubin-Vega, icon, time travels with Stellene and William back to the early 90s when she was singing in a girl group, selling makeup at Patricia Field, working the downtown comedy scene, and dodging some bullets (shootouts in the club, for real)--all just trying to make her mark in the New York arts community. Musical theater wasn't Daphne's thing, until an audition came along for a moonshot called Rent.
A PLACE OF JOY WITH JOAQUINA KALUKANGO
38:55It's finally Tony week and Best Actress nominee Joaquina Kalukango joins Stellene and William to discuss auditioning for the role for which she is nominated: Kaneisha in Slave Play. Drawing on grief and prayer, joy and grace, Joaquina confronts the show's controversies and opportunities from the moment she walks in the audition room's door. Plus, the types of auditions that frighten Joaquina most, which ones require stuffing bible verses into her own bra and what she loves about her role in the upcoming Broadway musical Paradise Square.
WORTHY OF LOVE WITH PATRICK VAILL
42:48When Patrick Vaill first auditioned for his college theater production of Oklahoma!, he was looking for validation that he had a future as an actor and that his talent wasn't just a delusion. Vaill believed that if he earned the role of the beloved Curly--a charming, funny and straight romantic lead--his career would be launched. Instead, he was called back to play Jud, a much darker role, one Vaill didn't want or understand how to access at the time. But it's a role that would profoundly change Vaill's life--not once but three times--and ultimately contribute, more than a decade later, to a Tony-winning revival of Oklahoma! on Broadway. The episode was recorded at Newsstand Studios at Rockefeller Center.
DEFYING GRAVITY WITH ROBBIE FAIRCHILD
42:40As a teenager, Robbie Fairchild left Utah for Manhattan and a summer workshop with the New York City Ballet. Soon, Robbie earned his first solo role there and ascended to principal dancer with the company. Having reached the peak of his profession in his early twenties, Robbie decided to chase another seemingly impossible dream: he wanted to be a Broadway star, no matter the obstacle, no matter the risk. On this episode of The Audition, hear how Robbie Fairchild put it all on the line--and grew up as an artist and as a person along the way.
YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE WITH MIRIAM SHOR
37:10The first time Miriam Shor's agent ever sent her out to audition, Miriam laced up her combat boots, sharpened her most resentful Slavic accent and faked her way through a Dolly Parton song for which she only knew five words. As Miriam tells it, the way she earned the role of Itzhak in the iconic Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a story of magic, hopefulness and what happens when an actor connects with a show that changes culture.
SOMETHING'S COMING WITH ISAAC COLE POWELL
42:13After more than a year without Broadway, Stellene and William channel their longing into a podcast by exploring one of the most gruelling and rewarding parts of any actor's life: the audition! Guest Isaac Cole Powell joins the show to share what he endured, and how he surprised even himself on the way to becoming a singular and unforgettable Tony in West Side Story.