John Lithgow Stars in Helen on 86th St.!

Not really.  But I got your attention, didn't I?

I mean, I would love for him to someday star in Helen on 86th St., but that's not very realistic at the moment.  Though I will admit, the thought of him going through the security scanner at the American Theatre of Actors (which is attached to the court house) during tech week does make me chuckle.  (Don't worry patrons, they only make people do that during weekdays and court hours, so if you are coming to see our show, you will be spared the frisk down.)

But it is no secret to anyone involved in our production that I've always had my heart set on him for Mr. Dodd. 

That being said, I am here to contradict a piece of advice that I have heard over and over--"When you are an unknown team developing an unknown musical, it is crucial to get "names" in your cast if you want producers/investors/people to come see it."

You know what I have to say to that?  Phooey!

Don't get me wrong, I agree that you don't want to place the fate of your show in the hands of your roommate from college who dabbled in community theatre growing up.  I am not suggesting that.  I am, however, encouraging you to put your focus somewhere else and take that stressor off your plate.

Put your energy into finding professional actors who have solid experience and skills, who have the chops and ability to work under the pressure an Equity showcase demands, who believe in you and your project and share a passion for it, who are open to the development process and actually bring something to it by helping you clarify and tighten your writing, who are intelligent, and who fit the roles like a glove.  And the most important factor:  Find people you want to spend time in the rehearsal room working on a project that means the world to you.

Trust me, you won't regret it--and you will probably find yourself counting the minutes until you can get back in the rehearsal room.  Let the commercial producers hire the "names."  As for you, find the people you can trust with your material and who you get excited about working with.  Give yourself the space to make discoveries, changes and edits in the rehearsal room.  You may even find that the role you've always envisioned John Lithgow in, works magically as a Ms. Dodd.

And the irony is that these actors who you've made a part of your developmental "family," will most likely be "names" themselves in the not too distant future. 

And you can say you "knew them when..."