Check out this interview with Anything Goes Director, Kelsey Thorgalsen! Kelsey spent several years in the School of Drama while pursuing her undergraduate degree before moving forward to become the Casting Director for one of the nation's leading musical theatre houses, The 5th Avenue. In this interview Kelsey discusses her professional journey, advice to emerging musical theatre actors, and what she is most excited for in Anything Goes.
When did your love of musical theatre begin?
KT: I believe the first musical I saw was Beauty and the Beast on Broadway at age 4. My grandma lived 15 miles outside of Manhattan and when we would visit her she would take us into the city to see a show. She was an artist herself and I think she was a massive influence in my love of musical theatre.
How did your time at the UW School of Drama inform the work you are currently doing with Anything Goes and the Musical Theatre program?
KT: Strangely the last musical I directed was a Undergraduate Theatre Society (UTS) show, which was an incredible learning experience for me. That paired with the experiences I've had at The 5th over the last 6 years have influenced my approach on Anything Goes.
Since leaving UW, you have become the Casting Director at one of the nation's premiere Musical Theatre Companies. How did you end up in that position?
KT: During my time at UW I was able to do a casting internship at The 5th. I loved it so much that I extended the internship from 10 weeks to 6 months. After that 6 months I was hired as the Casting Assistant, then became the Casting Associate and am now the Casting Director. I was persistent, I put in many very long days and I was passionate about the work.
What is the most valuable thing you've learned about casting in your time in your position? What's the most surprising thing?
KT: I have learned so much from former Casting Director now Producing Artistic Director, Bill Berry. He has taught me not only process based skills, but how to make the process a collaboration with actors. I was surprised at the sheer amount of artists that live in this city. I see and/or get submissions from thousands of Seattle based actors every year.
What casting and audition advice do you have for emerging performers?
KT: Make yourself visible to the community. Attend as many auditions as possible while you are in school or new to the city to gain audition experience and exposure. Make connections with those already established and ask questions to everyone you come across. I can't speak for everyone, but most established musical theatre professionals would be delighted to have a conversation with you and offer career guidance.
What has been the best thing about working on Anything Goes? What are you most excited to share with an audience?
The students have so much passion for the work and it is a great reminder of why I love what we do so much. I'm excited for them to share their passion with the audience and these roles they have created.