It might seem like jumping ahead to cast the webseries at this point with so many questions unanswered, but to me it was important to know I had help. You can’t create a webseries by yourself.
I happen to have a lot of close friends who are actors, talented actors I’ve worked with on many Off Off Broadway productions, and I know I can count on them. Core amongst these actor friends are guys who happen to be (with the exception of Rob who is a little younger) exactly the same age as I am. So casting guys in their 40s who can relate to the Off Off experience was easy. Rob Wilson, Dan Teachout, and Dave Marantz came on board first.
Then I used those guys to help me think of others we knew who could round out the cast. Great performers like Don Carter, Lisa Peart, Veronica Cruz, Heather Leonard, Roberto DeFelice, and Dennis Gagomiros.
My friend Margo Martindale (Emmy winner for Justified!) recommended a friend of hers during Thanksgiving Dinner for the off-the-wall part of Hildy Crumpsnapper. Sally Sockwell was new to me, but after eating delicious turkey together, I was convinced Margo’s idea was a good one.
But we were still missing a key role. Cassandra. I had an idea in my head of what her delivery was supposed to sound like, a very specific idea. We decided to hold auditions for this role. Normally one might advertise in Backstage or the Breakdown Services, but I didn’t do that. I asked friends of mine. I know people who direct plays. I know people who teach acting. So I asked them to think of people to recommend for this part.
I also sat in on an audition that Katie McHugh (our homepage model and a great director in her own right) was having for a sketch comedy show, and I saw several great women in that audition.
As it turned out, the person we finally cast came as a recommendation from Melissa and Brad Coolidge, the owners of Past Present Productions who also bought a screenplay of mine. They mentioned this woman, and I thought, “Why does she sound so familiar?” Turns out she was a Facebook friend! Both Dave and I had seen her do a terrific job in a play by Brian Dykstra called The Body Politic (directed by Margarett Perry).
The auditions were held a few days ago on Sunday. We had about a dozen young women come in. There is a lot of talent in New York City. But when Eve Danzeisen read the part, I think it was instantly clear to Dave and I (who ran the auditions) that she was Cassandra. Just felt like a natural fit. It also helped that we’d seen her perform on stage.
(Rob’s 14 year old daughter, Daisy, was the monitor for our auditions, by the way! Find help from anybody who will offer when making your webseries.)