How To Deal With Cast List Disappointment

By Maison Kelly

You prepared for that audition for months. Ever since the show was announced, you worked your absolute hardest to land that specific role. You wanted that role so badly, and you knew you brought your best at that audition. Everyone knew you’d get the part. YOU knew you’d get the part! There was no way you wouldn’t get it.

Yet, you go to look at the cast list, and you didn’t get it.

And you don’t really know how to move on from here.

This a scenario I’ve lived through many, many times. It’s hard to come back from, and the first thing to note is that it is totally okay to be disappointed. Theatre is a tough thing to love, but remember that you do love it. For good or bad. Remembering your loyalty to your passion is the only thing that will get you through this. Self-pity gets you absolutely NOWHERE, although it can be easy to fall into.

If you were still cast in the show, just in a smaller/different role, bitterness is something that you absolutely have to avoid. If you look at the role that you didn’t receive as a lost opportunity, you will fail to look at your new role as just that– a new opportunity. You are going to have to see that role being played by a different person very often; sometimes even every rehearsal. If you remain broken up about that character, you are going to make yourself absolutely miserable. Instead of focusing on something you lost, focus on what you have, and get excited about it! Every character has an amazing story to tell. If you fully embrace the opportunity you have to tell a new character’s story, you won’t be worried about that other role. It’s not yours, and you shouldn’t mind. You have a duty to take your character and be the absolute best (insert character name here) you can be!

This mindset can apply if you were going for the lead role and received a supporting one, or even if you were cast in the chorus! Every character has just as much of a story to tell, no matter how many lines they have. Actors are story-tellers and the script only supplies part of the story. It’s up to you whether your character is going to be interesting or not.

It’s your choice to do one of two things:

1) Tell your character’s story with energy, passion, and TRUTH! and make that role (no matter the size) a stand-out in the show, or-

2) Let that role go to waste, and spend the show dreaming of what could have been.

Make the right choice!

So don’t hate the person who got “your” part. Don’t criticize their performance incessantly. Focus on this new, if not unexpected opportunity you’ve been presented with! If you maintain this positive mindset, I know you’ll end your show with no regrets. There’s a lot of roles that I didn’t want at all initially, but now, I wouldn’t change them for the world. Every character I’ve had has taught me a lesson, and sometimes it was just a lesson I didn’t think I needed.

Just remember, although it may seem like you are the only one struggling for success, that is never the case. Some of the most skilled actors of all time were rejected constantly before they were ever rewarded! Even Fred Astaire, the Broadway legend, was rejected at an audition with the notes, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” Imagine that! True success comes easy for no one. You can’t get caught up in comparing yourself to others because then you lose sight of what is really important: doing your best.

Moving forward, use your past disappointment as fuel for you to keep improving yourself. Don’t become jaded or complacent; turn your mistakes into a plan for success! Work harder than you’ve ever worked before. If you keep a humble attitude and a strong work ethic, opportunities are definitely going to open themselves up to you. If losing one role is what pushes you to work harder, then so be it! You’ll get the next one!

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” –Ernest Hemingway


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