Auditioning for Music Theatre? Neil Rutherford’s performer’s guide to auditions is now available

A performer’s audition mantra: Be prepared; Be brave; Own your audition, and then…
Let It Go. 

Neil Rutherford. Image by Blueprint Studios
Neil Rutherford. Image by Blueprint Studios

Sounds straightforward, doesn’t it?

Interestingly enough, as internationally renowned and acclaimed Casting Director Neil Rutherford tells me, the reason his brand new book (Musical Theatre Auditions and Casting – a performer’s guide viewed from both sides of the audition table) is now on the market is partly due to an inordinate amount of opposing practice in his home town, London.

“I was partly getting frustrated with brilliant performers not auditioning very well in London”, said Rutherford, a celebrated performer in his own right, who moved into casting almost a decade ago.

After starring alongside Topol in the West End production of Fiddler on the Roof, and performing leading roles in Les Miserables, Aspects of Love, Jesus Christ Superstar and City of Angels he made the switch to the casting couch in 2002.

Witnessing less-than-impressive auditions from more-than-capable performers in his new role, he decided something needed to be done.

“I couldn’t just sit by and watch”, he explained.

Putting his money where his mouth is, Rutherford set about imparting knowledge from both sides of the casting desk: lecturing at major drama schools in audition technique, holding audition masterclasses throughout world, and most recently, publishing a book for performers called Musical Theatre Auditions and Casting.

Rutherford will officially launch Musical Theatre Auditions and Casting in Sydney on Monday 20 August at the Sydney Opera House from 5:30pm. The event will feature Rutherford (casting director and associate director of South Pacific) in conversation with Kate Ceberano as well as a mini masterclass session for two lucky performers present.

“Having been a performer, I know exactly what every auditionee goes through, so then I can relate it to what it is to be a professional performer as well as on the other side, what we are looking at as professional casting”, he said.

“The whole performer thing was very important to me – to write something that was performer driven”, he said and one gets the feeling he completely understands the terror associated with auditioning in front of a panel of up to 20 people.

Only 150 places are available for the event and RSVP is essential. To register your attendance at the launch, download the e-invite below.

Book launch e-invite

Cost is $25 and the fee includes entry into the launch and a copy of the book. Come along, ask questions and learn from one of the best in the business.

Written with a wry and dry humour in a context all performers can understand, this book will be invaluable for both established professional performers and up and coming artists. Auditions are often the hardest part of a performer’s working life, but Rutherford and his host of special guest writers (including Tony Award winning choreographer of Newsies Chris Gattelli and Tony Award winning director Bartlett Sher) offer some of the most pertinent and down to earth audition advice I have ever seen for the musical theatre genre.

It’s a must read: so book your place in the launch for a chance to meet the man himself and learn the secrets!

Stay tuned for information about masterclass/workshop opportunities with Neil in both Sydney and Melbourne over the coming weeks.



Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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