When most people watch theatre, film, or TV, they tend to only see the actors he actors, but rarely do they think of how did that performer get to become a part of a project. Behind the scenes, there are many hard-working people doing whatever they can ensure that the best people get seen.
Jeffery Passero is a celebrated casting director and is taking his tale to center stage in his solo show Casting Aspersions at Urban Stages (259 w 30 Street ), GSJ had a chance to speak with him during a recent rehearsal.
How would you describe CASTING ASPERSIONS?
A self-written autobiographical solo play Casting Aspersions is about the backstage tales of a casting director. I am a casting director, and the show’s conceit is that I’m looking back at my career on the last day in the profession as I clean up my cluttered office.
What inspired you to create a stage piece on the casting experience?
I started as an actor and I have always enjoyed looking back and telling stories. And No one has really written a backstage tale of what a casting director does or what he/she goes through to cast a project. I also wanted to create a showcase for myself to perform again.
How did you end up as a casting agent?
I ended up in casting quite by accident. I was a reader (reading with actors) at auditions at the Roundabout Theatre, and the late Artistic Director Gene Feist hired me to assist in the casting dept there and then asked me to take over the casting. I was only supposed to do it until I got an acting job. But I was good at it and kept getting offered films and other theatre projects to cast. I then left the roundabout and went on my own.
Over the course of your career is there a particular project that stands out to you?
Yes. I loved working with Nicolas Cage, casting his directorial debut film, SONNY, which starred James Franco, Brenda Blethyn, Harry Dean Stanton, Brenda Vaccaro. It was a great cast. I also loved casting POISON IVY for New line Cinema, which Starred Drew Barrymore.
You are a performer, producer, teacher, and casting agent – do you prefer one and one?
I love casting. But at heart, I am, was, and always will be an actor. I now write and that has become my favorite thing to do to express what’s in me.
Acting is hard. I have such a renewed respect for actors now that I am performing my play.
What is up next for CASTING ASPERSIONS?
I am finally filming CASTING ASPERSIONS for posterity…. possibly to stream.
What is up next for you?
I am finishing my first full-length play, which I will also produce……and it will have a great cast… LOL
Casting Aspersions: The Backstage Tales of a Casting Director
Written and Performed by Jeffery Passero
Directed by Elizabeth Hayden
Friday, January 27 at 7 PM
Saturday, January 28 at 7 PM
Sunday, January 29 at 3 PM
Monday, January 30 at 7 PM
The running time is 75 minutes
Tickets are $30 and can be purchased by visiting UrbanStages.org
Urban Stages is located at 259 West 30th Street, NYC
Originally an actor raised in New York theatre, Jeffery Passero’s career has run the gamut from actor, casting director, producer, stage director, acting teacher, and private coach to teacher of musical theatre audition technique. He studied acting & directing in college (Catholic University and The University of Connecticut) and then in New York with Uta Hagen and Ed Moorhouse (HB Studios), Terry Schreiber, Jill Andre (T.Schreiber Studio), and Larry Moss (Larry Moss Studio). He studied musical theatre audition technique with David Craig and was greatly influenced by Craig’s technique and his landmark book “On Singing On Stage”.
For the past forty years, Jeffery has been a casting director, beginning with two seasons at the Roundabout Theatre, where he cast LOOK BACK IN ANGER with Malcolm McDowell, THE BLOODKNOT with Danny Glover, A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY with Boyd Gaines, Tammy Grimes, Amanda Plummer & Kelsey Grammer, and PINS AND NEEDLES with Tony award winner Randy Graff, among other plays. Additional New York stage casting credits include UNIDENTIFIED HUMAN REMAINS AND THE TRUE NATURE OF LOVE at the Orpheum Theatre; three productions at the American Place Theatre; Musical Theatre Works; Manhattan Punchline; Theatre-Off-Park and several other Off-Broadway Theatres