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Phyllis Schuringa

Theatre

Phyllis Schuringa has been a casting director and teacher for some of the top theater companies in the country since 1986, and currently with the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles.

Questions

  1. What percentage annually are world premiere’s of original works done at the Geffen versus the re-mounting of well-known productions?
  2. Does the Geffen ever have general open auditions annually? If so, what are the requirements to acquire an audition time, as well as what is expected of the actor to prepare?
  3. How would you handle an actor, who is right for a role…and courteous, who just shows up to your auditions without an appointment and asks nicely if you have time to see them?
  4. Does the “stunt casting syndrome for Pilot season” or the “offer only” practice of Hollywood spill over into such prestigious theatre such as the Geffen? If so, how many roles per show?
  5. What contract are all shows at the Geffen performed under? If the vary please describe?
  6. I’ve never auditioned for you, I have a long TV resume, and I have an agent…so with that said: How does someone who has a similar career to me…get you to see me? Purely by rep or some other method?
  7. Do your employers have an unspoken requirement regarding how many star actors are necessary per production to actually have it added to the production schedule?
  8. Is the Geffen willing to see non-Equity and/or non-SAG actors at all, and if so when/why?
  9. Does online actor demo material interest you at all from your chair and position in the business and does it ever get used by you or your producers to actually choose to hire or audition an actor for the stage?
  10. Why do you love to cast theatre Phyllis? Do you ever wish to transition into another aspect of casting and if not why or if yes why?

About the Guru

Phyllis Schuringa has been a casting director and teacher for some of the top theater companies in the country since 1986, and currently with the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. Phyllis got her start at the prestigious Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago specializing in nurturing young actors, spotting emerging talent and emphasizing ensemble work. Chris Pine (Star Trek), Jane Lynch (Glee), John C. Reilly (Magnolia, Boogie Nights), Tracy Letts (playwright – August: Osage County), Amy Pietz (Caroline in the City) and many other well-known actors found a place in her casts early in their career. She has enjoyed working with many leading directors – Gary Sinise, John Malkovich, David Cromer, Doug Hughes, Jo Bonney, David Esbjornson, Ian Rickson, Simon Curtis and Giles Havergil. THE GRAPES OF WRATH adapted and directed by Frank Galati, PICASSO IN THE LAPIN AGILE by Steve Martin directed by Randall Arney, TIME TO BURN by Chuck Mee directed by Tina Landau and TIME STANDS STILL by Donald Margulies directed by Daniel Sullivan received their world premieres with Phyllis’s casts. The Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, is dedicated to new plays and reinvented, revitalized second productions the theater has developed a reputation for quality in all aspects of production. Teaching has always been an important part of Phyllis’s work. Twice a year she conducts a workshop in auditioning for the theater through Steppenwolf West, a class focused on recreating what really goes on in the audition room. For the Geffen Playhouse go to geffenplayhouse.com; for classes go towww.steppclasseswest.com.