When is the last time a casting director got a standing ovation?

As a nation, we love to complain. We are British after all and some would say moaning is what we do best! So in the age of social media, being able to whinge to millions of people and find others with like-minded opinions, is a brilliant thing.

I blogged last week about the Stacey Soloman story. For those of you who didn’t see it, she went on stage with a clipboard for her first panto performance in Milton Keynes, and was trolled online by people saying it was a disgrace for her to be on stage if she wasn’t fully rehearsed. Stacey’s own boyfriend then proceeded to hit back and troll the trolls! However, I think we are missing one very important point. Was this not actually the responsibility of the casting director/producer for giving her the part in the first place, knowing she would be abroad filming a TV show until the day before the first performance and would have no time for rehearsals? Should Stacey really be getting the blame for just taking an opportunity that was given to her?

Now, there is also a flip side to this. As well as complaining, we British do occasionally like to give praise to people which is wonderful of us. This was no more apparent last week, when I went along to see Dreamgirls starring Glee Television actress Amber Riley. She received no less than three standing ovations throughout, for her performance as Effie White but was it because she is a famous face or was it because she is an amazing performer?

Yes, Amber Riley is incredible in Dreamgirls and her voice is undeniably amazing. However, the part does require her to have that vocal range and so should we actually be praising the casting director of the show for doing their job properly and finding the right person for the role instead of gushing so much over Amber just because she is capable of the job in hand?

I would like give a virtual standing ovation to the casting directors of Dreamgirls, Pippa Ailion CDG and Natalie Gallacher, for doing a brilliant job of finding Amber Riley and casting her in Dreamgirls. I would be keen to see Amber’s two alternate performers who play the role at some performances Karen Mav/Ruth Brown to see if they receive the same response. I suppose as the show is getting more than one standing ovation every night, we could say that one is for Amber or her alternates, one for the casting directors and one for the rest of the cast and crew? That might be fair. But just to gush over Amber Riley for doing her job well might be leaving out a few people that made that happen.

West End Wilma

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