All welcome at Strictly Ballroom open call
From inexperienced performers to professionals, everyone who came to the open call for Strictly Ballroom The Musical on Saturday could audition for the lead part of Fran.PT2M42S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2u6gq 620 349 September 21, 2013
Almost 80 bright-eyed hopefuls in flamenco shoes and scoop-necked leotards sang and danced their way through an open audition for the leading role of Fran in Baz Lurhmann's Strictly Ballroom the Musical on Saturday.
A snaking queue nervously waited at the Revolt Theatre, Kensington, to be called before a judging panel of five, and were quickly put through their paces, cha-cha-cha-ing across the stage in a complicated dance routine. The producers have been searching for more than a month for the ''triple treat'' girl - who can act, dance and sing - to play Fran, portrayed by Tara Morice in Lurhmann's 1992 hit film, Strictly Ballroom.
The panel was tough, swiftly culling those who could not keep up or did not stand out.
There's nervous tension in the air at the Revolt Theatre, Kensington, as almost 80 hopefuls try for the role of Fran in Baz Lurhmann's Strictly Ballroom the Musical. Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui
At the end of the first round, the numbers had dwindled from double to single digits.
Dancer Kara Bertoncini, 25, was surprised to make it through to the second round. ''I'm very proud of myself,'' she said. ''I'm going with the flow today, I'll just see what happens. I don't have any expectations because it is such a big role.'' Singer-dancer Bernice Keen, 24, whose wavy hair and softly spoken manner resembled the character of Fran, was worried that her dancing skills might not be up to scratch, so was buoyed to have made it through to the second round, too.
Keen said that staying focused was the only way to get through challenging auditions.
Candidates auditioning. Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui
Rehearsals for the stage musical version of Luhrmann's hit are set to begin in October, but finding someone to play Fran has been difficult, which is why the producers have opened auditions up to anyone in Australia. In August, Luhrmann tweeted a callout for auditions for the role, and did so again on September 19.
Choreographer John "Cha Cha" O'Connell, who has worked on all of Luhrmann's films, said the search for the next star always took time.
"When we did the film, it took us 1000 people to find Paul Mercurio, who played the role of Scott, so it's all hit and miss as to when Fran arrives at the audition,'' he said. ''She might come on the first day, she may come six weeks later.''
Fran blossoms from a wallflower into a glamorous dancing talent. She and her dancing partner, Scott, break the rules of ballroom dancing and wow the audience at the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix Dancing Championships.
The part of Scott has already been cast, although producers are yet to announce who has been chosen.
Of the 80 who auditioned, just three will be asked back after the Sydney auditions, to be held on Sunday.