16 yr old at Broadway audition

Hi there, I’m new on this site and I’ve seen some threads about under 18 kids auditioning for broadway, and I was wondering what your input is on this. DD really wants to audition for Minnie Fay in the broadway revival of Hello Dolly. Is it disrespectful for a teen to go into an adult audition? Thanks!

No, it is not “disrespectful” for her to audition. However, please be aware that the breakdown for the part is to “play” age 18-22. So, first, she should be able to pass for that age as her stage age. Secondly, it is highly likely that they prefer to cast someone over age 18 to play 18-22 because it means they don’t have to have chaperones or tutors and there are lots and lots of 18+ actresses who will audition and can play this age (or ARE this age) on stage. You could always call the casting office anonymously to inquire if they are willing to see actors younger than 18 for Minnie Fay. If they are, it would be a good audition experience for your D, though she’ll be up against seasoned actors, Equity actors, and those over 18. My D had some auditions on the Broadway level in her youth (though not to play a stage age of a young adult) and these were great experiences. However, they were via agent submission and not open calls. Is there just an EPA for this or an open call for Non-Equity as well? If just an EPA, and if your D is not Equity, her chance to even be seen may be slim.

I will just add that teens can and do audition (some successfully) for Broadway, but usually to play teens or younger and not for roles that young adults over 18 can play or stage age of over 18.

^Agreed. My D has auditioned for Broadway a few times, but not for “adult” roles- for kid roles from agent. BUT, do know that if they can cast an 18+ for any role (kids included) they will, due to not having to deal with all the requirements they have to deal with casting under 18 (tutors/time/etc.) I have heard of people under age requirement getting blasted for coming in for adult roles- so definitely ask! You don’t want to be the one to upset casting.

A few years ago, we were told by the casting agent for Newsies, that the “conceit” of Broadway is that you can hire 30-year-olds to play teenagers and no one thinks anything of it. Hiring under-aged actors is problematic and if the production can get away w/o the headache, they will (there are also additional constraints on how many hours under-aged performers can work/rehearse per day). When S was looking into modeling/acting as a teenager and went to several workshops with casting agencies, we were told by everyone that a teen can make really good money if they can play a young teen, pre-teen or even younger. That girls should never do their headshot to look “older”, but might be in their best interest to look as young as possible. Recently we saw a local professional production of the musical Secret Garden (cast in NYC). While the part of the invalid son was cast locally, the WOMAN who played Mary was tiny and played the part very well. From what we could glean in her bio, we figured she had to be at least in her early to mid-twenties (she had been a student for at least a year at NYU and then seemed to get hired playing Mary/other “child” part for another theater).

Additionally, over the last several years my S and I have seen several productions/senior showcases at one of the “tippy-top” MT programs discussed on this forum. There have been multiple years where 1 - 3 of the actors/seniors have been exceptionally small (under 5 feet, both male and female). Our thought was that those particular students were being “groomed” to play “child” or “novelty” parts, as it would be difficult for them to play other roles in the professional world (IMHO). I have not followed their post-graduation careers to see if we were correct.

From my experience, I have auditioned for non-equity audition calls posted, but have not seen a lot of people my age (I just turned 18) at these calls. Most of the youngest people at the auditions are either my age, or juniors/seniors in college.