TRAVERSE CITY — Old Town Playhouse added a fourth audition for the musical Les Misérables after a record number of people showed up to try out.
“Les Mis has this magical cachet,” said Phil Murphy, the show’s associate director. “It gets a whole lot more noise about it, a lot more word of mouth, and that’s why all these people showed up.”
Murphy said nearly 170 total auditioned for the musical, many who have never been inside the Playhouse before.
“It was all ages, and a lot of young people,” he said “We saw a lot of good, interesting people.”
The audition required about a three-minute performance of a prepared number.
“Then we ran them through vocalization exercises to understand their range and dynamics,” Murphy said. “We were not skimping on the time, so everybody got a pretty good time. They may not think so, but they did.”
Auditions began on Sunday and ended Wednesday night. Matching contenders to the 28 parts has been a “logistical nightmare,” even with the help of an elaborate spreadsheet, Murphy said.
“But in reality, musicals are always hard,” he said. “This one is just a little bigger.”
Les Mis was already produced twice by Traverse City West High School, Murphy said.
“They’ve been able to do it for a decade,” he said. “No one else has been. We just got the rights last spring. I’ve been after (Music Theatre International) for the license for almost seven years. I kept asking, being a noisy wheel.”
The show is an expensive one to produce; the license is $20,000 on top of an estimated $15,000 for costumes and set costs, Murphy said.
Jeanette Mason will direct the production. Murphy expects the show will be cast by the end of next week after a Tuesday callback. The show may also include up to 12 extras. The performance is slated to begin the first week of October.