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13 Thoughts You Have When The Cast List Goes Up

We all know the feeling. You’ve gone through a lengthy audition process, been thanked for your time and told that roles will be posted outside the director’s classroom within the next two days. You walk into school. Your palms sweat and your mouth goes completely dry. Over the sound of slamming lockers and morning announcements, you can hear a slight din from the small crowd gathered around a single piece of paper. The font is too small to read over everyone’s head, so you gently shove your way to the front until it’s there, right in front of your face, in full view. The cast list.

Whether you get the part of your dreams or this show isn’t for you, the following are 13 thoughts you’ll likely have as you peruse the cast list in search of your name:

1. I AM A SUPERSTAR!

Whether you land the lead or are just thrilled to see your name up on that list (Elle Woods, anyone?), there’s no describing that combo feeling of relief and joy that rushes through your veins as you realize your slot in the show has been secured. Pat yourself on the back, you superstar —

2. What did I do wrong?

You didn’t get in. It hurts. It really hurts. And it’s going to hurt for a while, especially when you have to hear about the show for months on end and then eventually see it hit the stage. It’s OK to be sad and disappointed and angry, so grab some Ben & Jerry’s, distract yourself with other activities and try to remember that, there’s always next year.

3. How on earth am I going to learn all those lines?

Once the initial shock of landing a speaking role wears off, reality sets in: You’re going to have to learn a helluva lot of lines to make it from the beginning to the end of the show. Now is a good time to buy some stock in yellow highlighters — you’re going to need more than a couple!

4. Welp! There goes my social life!

Being in a show is an incredible, life-changing experience. But as everyone will tell you, it has the tendency to zap your social life into tiny microscopic — if not nonexistent — pieces. Get used to calling your castmates your “Theatre Family,” because they’re the only members you’re going to be seeing for the next two months.

5. How did he/she get that part over me?

Theatre rivalries are a tale as old as time, and sometimes you can’t settle them over a sing-off of “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better.” When it comes down between you and someone else for a role and you don’t get it, it’s fine to feel frustrated, so long as you don’t make your disappointment public. Bring your best to the role you’re given, and you’re sure to stand out anyway!

6. I have to kiss HIM/HER?!

Unless you miraculously get paired off with your longtime crush and this is the opportunity of a lifetime, chances are, you’re going to have to smooch faces with someone you’re not necessarily jazzed up about. Hopefully, your director won’t make you rehearse over and over again!

7. Ooh, a challenge!

So, the part you got was a bit of a stretch from what you were expecting — congrats! However, this is not the kind of role you can easily breeze through without some focus. The moment you walk away from the cast list, you’re ready to crank up your favorite Broadway pump-up playlist, start practicing those lines in the mirror and live and breathe your part. So what if it’s a challenge? It’s your time to shine.

8. I’m so happy for my friends!

Even if you’ve ended up in the chorus for the third year in a row, that doesn’t mean you aren’t incredibly excited for your friends who snagged leads. Jump around in a group hug, squeal a bit and make a scene as you celebrate the fact you’ll all be able to hang out together after school for weeks upon weeks.

9. How many solos do I get?

Sometimes you just can’t help yourself. Count ‘em up, compare them to everyone else in the show, and then move on. Whether you’re dominating the solo arena or have a single word to pipe out, it’s cause to celebrate!

10. Oh…duh!

Sometimes you just know from the get-go which part you’re going to get. Maybe your director let something slip, or a role just seemed so suited to your personality that there was no way you weren’t getting it. In this case, the big reveal warrants nothing more than a shoulder shrug and an “Oh, that makes sense!”

11. How quickly can I get the script?

From the second you find out what part you get, you want to get this show on the road. In fact, you’re the one who leads the march into your director’s office so you can beg and plead to be handed the script before rehearsals even start. Let the memorization begin!

12. I CAN’T WAIT TO WEAR THAT COSTUME!

You can get just as excited about wearing a costume as you do about your lines and solos. Whether you’re busting out an iconic costume a la Roxie in “Chicago” or The Phantom in “Phantom of the Opera,” or just get to  wear a sparkly over-the-top ridiculous wedding dress, it’s beyond exciting that you’ll get to ditch your typical wardrobe for something out of this world for a while.

13. What if I’m not good enough?

After the surprise and glee wears off, self-doubt has a way of settling in. You think that there must have been a mistake, there’s no way you can take on a part like this! However, your director chose you for a reason — because they believe in you — and you are absolutely going to nail this role. That uncertainty will only push you to work harder.

Reading the cast list after it’s posted can be an experience as dramatic as the show you’re performing, whether you get the part of your dreams or get let off the list entirely. Regardless of how the process shakes out, remember to be thankful for the roles you do get and remember that there will other be other shows you can try out for!

What goes through your mind upon seeing the cast list? Leave a reply below…

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Brianna Hand

Written by Brianna Hand

Bri Hand is a writer, editor, and theater aficionado based out of Boston, Massachusetts. In addition to performing in musicals throughout high school, Bri spends her time doing deep research on them to fuel both her writing and conversations.

One Comment

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  1. This year, it was a combo of:
    1 (I actually got a big part!),
    2 (I got my second-choice role and was a little disappointed about not getting my first),
    7 (not that it was a huge stretch acting-wise, but the role I got is hugely challenging vocally),
    8 (I love my friends so much),
    10 (by the time callbacks were over, I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to get),
    12 (I get all the best costumes, let’s be real here),
    and 13 (it’s been almost a month, and I’m still wondering if I’m good enough).

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