The scheduling of open auditions next week offering local residents the chance to win $10,000 — and appear on international television in a new AMC talent series — has generated a huge response.
“It’s beyond our wildest expectations,” said Frank Garrity, casting producer for the upcoming cable TV program to be known as “Road Shows.”
Mount Airy is on a short list of cities selected for the initial eight episodes of the reality series, which will focus on small-town talent competitions around the country. The aim of “Road Shows” is to bring “a little bit of Hollywood” to those communities, its production team has said.
Earlier this month, producers announced a casting call in Mount Airy for singers, musicians, dancers and others hoping to be part of the series, for which open auditions will be held Monday from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Andy Griffith Playhouse. Word of the auditions produced a flurry of email responses.
“We’re super-thrilled,” Garrity added Tuesday of the interest shown.
“Large Crowd” Anticipated
The casting producer, reached in Rhode Island in another city selected for the program, estimated that about 100 inquiries had been received from local residents concerning auditions.
But Garrity said the number of participants is hard to gauge at this point due to the open audition format in effect for Monday’s gathering at the playhouse. The total will include any performers who simply show up in addition to interested candidates who’ve taken advantage of an opportunity to register in advance by email.
“The initial response indicates we’re expecting a large crowd,” Garrity said of the outlook for Monday’s auditions here.
Though they won’t officially begin until 2 p.m., the casting producer’s advice to performers is: “Feel free to start lining up as early as noon.”
Those interested in the auditions can still sign up until Sunday via email at email@example.com. Respondents are asked to send a recent photograph, telephone number and brief description of their talent.
Explaining that since he was on the road and lacked access to email records compiled by his assistants in California, Garrity could provide no breakdown on the various talents represented by those already registered.
But he said singers generally are most frequently seen at such auditions. Any kind of musical or other performer also can be involved, be it a comedian, ventriloquist, magician, juggler or others. Garrity has explained that the producers are not seeking those trying to make it big in the entertainment world, but people who are content with living in small towns yet still desiring to show off their talents on a large scale.
$10,000 Prize Awaits
“Road Shows” will utilize a documentary approach in detailing the process involved with organizing community talent shows.
After acts responding to Monday’s open casting call are auditioned for the director and choreographer of “Road Shows,” four finalists will be chosen for a talent show at a local venue, with a film crew to record the proceedings along the way.
Those finalists will receive coaching in preparation for that, which is to involve mentoring by a team of Hollywood professionals. The ultimate winner of the Mount Airy contest will receive the $10,000 cash prize.
The same process will be repeated at the other venues involved in the “Road Shows” project around the country to form the basis for the series to be distributed worldwide through the AMC cable network. Formerly known as American Movie Classics, AMC is home to such TV programs as “The Walking Dead,” “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” in addition to the films it shows.
Garrity said there will be no intent to make fun of the small-town talent to be exhibited. Instead, the show will be a serious examination of people from all walks of life getting involved in such an endeavor.
He declined to mention other cities selected for the series along with Mount Airy, although they are believed to include communities in Texas and Ohio as well as Rhode Island. “I want there to be an element of surprise,” he explained.
The casting producer said officials with the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce and Surry Arts Council have done a tremendous job in opening their arms to the “Road Shows” team.
“I’m really looking forward to going there,” Garrity said of his pending trip to Mount Airy. “The people have been beyond kind.”
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.