Well, the cast is 95% assembled, so now is a good time to introduce them!
Rob King as George
Talk about the 11th hour! I was a couple hours away from wrapping up auditions for my principles when I got notice that Rob wanted to try out for George. We squeezed him in and got him a ride out that evening and he did a fantabulous cold read!
He takes his line memorizing really seriously, which is vital since the play could have easily been called "Conversations George had with People". Sometime Rob will express pleasure or frustration over a particular turn of phrase or word combination. I love his attention to those details.
Sam Hagenlocher as Lennie
Sam's another guy I lucked out in getting. A friend of a friend of a friend, (I <3 Facebook) Sam and I met in the Village before the actual audition to see what we were each about. I love how thought out, expressive and intellectual he is. (We also share a hatred of Michael Bay, which is special.) He doesn't have a deep well of acting experience to draw from, which I think will help him with Lennie's simplicity.
He's not "big" but he's tall, and the rest I can compensate with the magic of stagecraft.
Helmut Friedrich as Candy
I hadn't realized that I had seen Helmut in a couple productions before he auditioned. Happy surprise!
I really love the powerless place he's drawing Candy from. I don't know if I would use the word "pathetic" per se, but it's clear that Candy doesn't have much in the world and he isn't that endearing to those around him. Helmut is able to really convey that and make him sympathetic that way.
Bill Moore as Slim
Slim was a hard character to cast, mainly because he needs to be a contemporary of George so there needs to be a certain synergy there. I had lots of young guys coming out to audition, but I needed someone with more maturity. I really lucked out when Bill decided to audition. He's a friend of Rob's (which means they have an existing relationship), he's not young (see how I didn't call you "old", Bill?), and he's got experience, so he can handle himself on stage. I'm excited about how that pair will work out!
Lauren Marshall as Curly's Wife
I KNEW this gal was committed to the show when she would make the +2hr drive from Lundar to Steinbach for a rehearsal in the middle of the week, then drive home again AND go to work the next morning.
I had so many gals audition for CW, and the best of the best we're all very strong in different ways. Lauren was able to capture her softness and vulnerability and exuded a general sense of Southern comfort, which won her the role. And as the only gal in a cast of 10, she's remarkably chill and comfortable with all the guys which is very cool to see.
Kenton Dyck as Curley
The last time I really worked with Kenton, I was on stage and he was off. I'm looking forward to this reversal so I can make better uses of his talents. Curley is a short, angry, pugnacious guy, none of which Kenton exudes naturally. I'm looking forward to the challenge discovering a grounded, unlikeable character within a very likeable guy.
Cory Casper as Carlson
Casting a 90% male show in a small-ish theatre community is a challenge. That's why I was excited after I saw Cory's audition. He was open to being involved wherever and he was versatile enough to adapt to whatever role I threw at him. If there was a "hard to fill role" I knew I could sink him in there, and he would do a great job. Turns out, Carlson the Selfish Bully was just that, and Cory is doing a great job with him so far.
Most of the people in the show, I have connections to, one way or another. I've worked with them, or they're a friend of a friend, or something. Tiernan came out totally cold. A teacher of his saw a poster somewhere and saw him at a store or something and told him to audition. And I'm so glad he did.
The ranch in Of Mice and Men has a wide gamut of guys on it. You've got the really old, like Candy. But there's also the really young, like Whit. Tiernan is able to bring that sense of youthfulness and openness to Whit that is needed in an otherwise dark place. And he blends in with everyone else just right. I really appreciate that about him and the character he's developing.
Malcolm Munroe as Crooks
You think it's hard to find male actors in Steinbach? Try finding black, male actors!
Luckily for me, I didn't have to.
When Malcolm expressed interest in the show, I knew that he would be a great fit. The racial subtext of the play is very steeped in Americana, which doesn't translate as powerfully north of the border. I think that by having a Native play the role of black person, the racism will hit home in a more meaningful way. Plus, I want to see Malcolm in a more important role than I've seen him in before. I know that he can handle it.
Cora Fast as Back Stage Manager
Cora is one of the first people to ever audition for me and ever since I've been looking for an opportunity to work with her. And I'm glad it's finally going to happen. She carries a maturity about her that makes her very reliable and trustworthy. When looking for someone to keep things in order backstage, those are two huge traits to have and I'm glad to have someone like her around to be where I can't.
Michael Dueck as Front Stage Manager
I'm very fortunate to have Michael in my corner. He's the ultimate hype man. He's always happy and encouraging. He's genuine and thoughtful and caring. He knows everyone and everyone loves him. You want him in your show? Too bad! He's in mine!
Michael is being an awesome resource during the rehearsal process, stepping in to fill any role needed. He's a wealth of ideas and jocularity. And once show time rolls around, he's going to be my troubadour, guiding the audience from set to set, and otherwise freeing me up to put out fires.
And that's it!
I know what you're thinking. "What about The Boss?? Who's playing that part?!?"
I haven't cast anyone in that role yet. I have one guy who's interested, but isn't sure if it'll work yet.
So, if you're interested in adding your name to this list of awesome, talented people, let me know! I guarantee I can find a spot for you to help out!