Long Island's Creative Ministries Performing Arts Center (CM PAC), now in its 25th year, will be presenting Madison Square Garden's version of A Christmas Carol come December. As a former employee (MANY years ago) of the theatre that merged with CM PAC, I was thrilled when director Tim Pappalardo asked me to watch the process of putting this show together. I'll be attending a read through, going to Tech, and opening night with the many CM vets expected to be in this production.
After everyone auditioned earlier in the week, I was invited to Callbacks. Tim and Music Director Chris McKee worked with everyone on getting the right emotion, tone, and mind-set they were looking for. They even surprised me when they took me aside to ask my opinions as everyone sang for them.
One thing apparent was the support everyone had for one another, especially among the kids as they have been in several productions together. Stacey Jolley, one of the mothers watching auditions, solidifed this, saying the camaraderie at CM PAC is the best around.
The adults auditioning were fantastic as well. In addition to singing the songs in the show, some also read a piece of the dialogue with Tim. It was fascinating watching them at one moment Tim and Chris say "okay, sing this" and then the next moment "okay, go to this part" and so forth. I loved their reactions as Tim and Chris were playfully trying to trip them up. They did this with the kids as well and it definitely kept everyone on their toes.
As the evening came to an end, I asked the performers how they felt with their callbacks. With final casting still being decided, many felt understandbly nervous and excited.
I'm very much looking forward to continuing this journey with the show. In the short amount of time I've spent with them so far, I can tell this is going to be a great production.