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I became the Casting Director for Oracle Theatre in 2011 when I saw the need to bring in greater diversity and broader actor base to the theatre, while also creating a more organized approach to casting. In 2016 I branched out to become an independent Casting Director working with several storefront theaters and independent film companies. Since I began casting I have proudly cast several Jeff Award Winning Actors and Actresses, and my proudest moments are seeing the Best Ensemble Nominations and Wins come for my casts.
I view casting as a collaborative process and artistic matchmaking with the Director, Playwright, Production Company and Actors. I strive to understand the vision of the producing team and then provide a broad spectrum of diverse talent possibilities that will enhance and deepen that vision. Then I become the ambassador between a production team and the actors. It is my belief that actors will always give their best performance when they are greeted with respect and encouragement, and I strive to provide a friendly and professional auditioning atmosphere. In tandem I act as a sounding board to help the Director to clearly see all options, pros and cons and make the best decision for his/her/their production. Furthermore, I believe it is my job to seek out actors as they perform on stage and foster a growing network of artists so when any project comes along know the best talent to call in for it. It is not unusual for me to reach out to actors who have never met or auditioned for me because I’ve seen their work!
I am a strong advocate for diversity in casting, authenticity when called for and out of the box thinking when not called for. I work tirelessly to give everyone an equitable opportunity to showcase and grow in their work. As I join the Chicago Theatre community in the continuing conversation on the issue of diversity and equity, I find myself learning to become a better advocate, a more pro-active “gate-keeper,” and a more educated artist. I’m not always perfect, I’ve failed where I placed my best of intentions, but I’m learning and growing and challenging myself and the teams I work with to do the same every time.
I have had great teachers in my fellow Casting Directors throughout Chicago who have given me incredible guidance, advice, and wisdom. I owe much of what I know from Erica Sartini Combs, Lucy Carr, Monty Cole, Laura Durham and many others. Not to mention the deep pool of talent the Chicago Community of Casting Directors are willing to recommend when my own list runs dry. I have come to see Casting as a true communal effort. I look forward to the many opportunities, challenges and casting adventures ahead.