Erica & RachaelERICA SARTINI-COMBS
Associate Casting Director

RACHAEL JIMENEZ
Casting Coordinator

Erica: I love doing the youth performer open call for A Christmas Carol, which brings in kids from all over Chicagoland. It’s an awesome time for us to engage with the community in a unique way. We don’t often have young performers on our stages, so it’s a lot of fun for us.

Rachael: They have no fear; it’s really amazing to be in audition room where they can be totally themselves. They don’t have an expectation for the experience like a lot of professional actors do, so there are always crazy, fun things happening.

Erica: We’ve had some pretty fun song choices, and believe it or not, amazing dance moves. It’s interesting because a good number of kids will come in with pop choices, which is fun for us because we’re used to hearing the classic carols. One of my favorite youth performer auditions has got to be a young man who shared the more traditional material, and then asked if he could show us something else he’d been working on–he busted out a silver glove, and sang and danced to Michael Jackson. It was AMAZING!

My other favorite thing about the open call, is just to see the incredible parents and guardians in our community. When the kids walk out from the audition they are met with, “Did you have fun?” Not like, “Did you do a good job?” Making sure that the spirit of auditioning is about being yourself and having fun–there’s plenty of time to take yourself too seriously when you are older!

Rachael: And we’ll even go out in the hallways and the kids are like, “Break a leg!” or “Good luck!” It’s really moving to see. Every year, you get that little jolt of freshness.

Erica: We think A Christmas Carol cast should be a reflection our community. We hope that every child in the audience can see some version of themselves on the stage. We continue to strive for this every year. It’s important to our team, and our institution.

Rachael: And it’s always different, so there’s always something new to experience as an audience member, even if you’ve seen it every year. You’re always going to have that new person in it that shakes it up.