Because the run of a touring show is so lengthy, it is common to have cast members come and go. People leave tour for many reasons- another job, a lifestyle/ career change, or a life event such as marriage, pregnancy, health, family, etc. When this happens, the cast member must be replaced. Usually, depending on their contract stipulations, the cast member will need to give a minimum of four weeks notice before leaving. Then, auditions will be held in New York City, and the new cast member will be flown out to meet the cast and begin rehearsal two weeks before their first scheduled performance. We call the new actor joining the show a ‘replacement.’ I was actually a replacement in the last tour I did!
Rehearsing and learning the show as a replacement is a very different process than starting with the cast from the beginning. Because the rest of the cast has been together for so long, and because the show doesn’t sit down in one place, integrating a new actor into the cast can be tricky and exciting for them, and the preexisting cast! The replacement will generally get two weeks to learn the show by their self with the instruction of the dance captain(s), music supervisors, and stage managers. This is challenging because you rehearse in an empty studio and have to imagine all of the other cast members, sets, and props around you! These studio rehearsals will take place in the show’s current city, and at the end of the two weeks, there will almost always be an official ‘put in’ rehearsal before the new actor’s first performance. The ‘put in,’ is a one time attempt for the replacement to run the show onstage with costumes, limited set and props, and the full cast. The preexisting cast will do the run in street clothes, but the new cast member will perform the "put-in" in full costume to practice quick changes and to get used to any tricky wardrobe. It is a very nerve-wracking day because all eyes are on the newbie! Imagine joining a show that is already set, with a cast that has been working together for months, or even years already! It’s a huge relief once you’ve made it through your put in - you finally feel like you are officially part of the cast - it’s a right of passage!
We have already had two new cast members join The Sound of Music Tour, one adult and one youth company member. It is always sad to lose someone you’ve spent so much time with and come to know so well, but it’s also exciting and refreshing to add a new person to the mix!
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