August 28, 2006

Des McAnuff Chats About Casting for Jersey Boys National Tour and More…

August 28th, 2006

Jersey Boys’ Tony Award-nominated director Des McAnuff talks to’s Simi Horwitz about casting the national tour of Jersey Boys; preparing an updated production of The Wiz, which opens this fall at La Jolla Playhouse; and his upcoming transition from La Jolla Playhouse artistic director to his new position n artistic director of Canada’s Stratford Festival, which will commence in 2008.

Veteran director Des McAnuff, who just finished casting the national tour of Jersey Boys, tells Horwitz that performing in a national tour requires more than mere talent. Vocal skill is a given, and McAnuff states,

“Of course we’re looking for talent that can sustain a performance, but we’re also paying attention to who will do well on the road. Compatibility is the key. Also, because the show already exists, actors are standing on the shoulders of other actors. You don’t want automatons, but you don’t want actors reinventing the wheel, either…. Performing in a national tour requires humility, not originality.”

According to Jersey Boys’ Christian Hoff, who won a Tony for playing Tommy DeVito in the show, McAnuff “brings a scope of vision and specificity to his work. His vision is both broad-stroked and detailed. He establishes a terrific sense of trust.”

Marshall Brickman, the musical’s co–book writer (with Rick Elice) adds,

“He is a great collaborator, and his observations were clarifying to us when we were writing the book. He has a wonderful impatience that keeps things moving. He also has a wonderful visual sense and he understands structure. He’s like a general, and I’d follow him into the bush, so to speak.”

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