Pippin Perspectives

Audition Emotions for BSC's Upcoming Play

Birmingham-Southern College Theatre recently held auditions for its upcoming musical Pippin. Two of the cast members, Van Looney (Ensemble) and Luke Otwell (“Pippin”) share their experiences during the audition process. Here are their words—raw, uncut and straight from the prince’s mouth.

“The day of the audition I wasn’t nervous—until about 12:30 in the caf,” began ensemble member, Van Looney. “Then something clicked, and I started stressing up until that evening. I went over to talk to another person auditioning that night; she said she was about to throw up!”

He continued, “So, we get to the theatre, and it is packed with lots and lots of very talented people. I get my number, and we go onstage for dance call which isn’t too bad. Most everyone felt pretty good about it, myself included. Then we sat around until we were up for our singing auditions. [Afterwards] everyone asked each other ‘how did it go?’ and 'how did you feel?’ After everyone sang, we played the waiting game until Michael (the teacher and producer) announced who would be seen again. My name was called.”

The emotions that Looney was experiencing at this point in the audition process were mixed. Looney explained, “[I was] excited but wondering why others didn’t get called. I didn’t have time to think too long before Luke Otwell and I were asked to sing Corner of the Sky for the role of Pippin. Luke sang incredibly. He said I sounded great, too. I told him that I did not envy the jobs of Todd Underwood (the director/choreographer), Jay Tuminello (musical director) and Michael Flowers (playing as producer).”

Looney’s emotions continued to vacillate—something unusual for his steady personality. “It was odd for me since I’m usually very easy-going,” admitted Looney.

The called actors dwindled until the cast completely formed. It would be a few days until they would know the results of the selection process. Looney recalled that during the wait period after the audition, he was filled with relief.

“I feel one million times better,” Looney thought the day after the audition, adding that his mental process sounded something like, “I can’t wait for the company list to be posted! No matter what happens, I’m proud of my work.’”

Luke Otwell, the lead in Pippin, had a similar experience as Looney during tryouts.

“Auditioning for Pippin was one of the most terrifying audition experiences of my life,” said Otwell. “Pippin had been one of my favorite shows for a long time, and I had wanted to be in it for even longer. I saw the show in person, and it affected me so deeply; I wanted to be a part of telling the story as soon as possible.”

Because Otwell so strongly desired a part in the show, he “felt so unprepared no matter how much [he] actually did prepare.”

Despite his worries, Otwell’s hard work led to enjoyable results.

“My favorite part of auditions is always at callbacks when people get to read with one another because that’s when the show itself starts to form,” said Otwell. “It was stressful because I cared so much, but, in the end, I had fun before the show was even cast!”

Come see Van, Luke and the rest of the cast and crew of BSC Theatre’s spring production of Pippin!

Show times are April 19th, 20th and 21st at 7:30 and April 22th at 2:30.

Feature photo by Troy Arias.