Today’s musical theater performers are required to be not just actors, not just singers and not just dancers, but all three in one. This array of talents is what makes stage productions so multifaceted and captivating for audiences. However, performers looking to join the ranks of Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, need to expand beyond that classic trio.
Quantum, which sets sail in November 2014, is in the process of casting for two awe-inspiring shows, which will take place in its 1,300-seat Royal Theater as part of a diverse entertainment offering. The catch is that performers need to be able to participate in both MAMMA MIA!, the award-winning musical featuring all of ABBA’s classic pop hits and Sonic Odyssey, a fusion of experimental music, dance and aerial acrobatics.
“MAMMA MIA! and Sonic Odyssey couldn’t be more different,” says Royal Caribbean Productions’ Director of Entertainment Christi Coachman-Orengo. “The first lends itself to a high-performance, energetic type of performer and the second is more along the lines of a really contemporary musical that also requires technically trained dancers. We’re looking for dancing, singing, acting and also aerial acrobatic skills and the ability to incorporate all into the productions of both shows.”
Beyond these four stage abilities, there are other factors to consider while scouting talent for Quantum.
“Performers have many other responsibilities around the ship,” Coachman-Orengo says. “They have to get up close and personal with the guests, helping them out with safety instruction and anything they need on board. Being able to socialize and having a great personality are really key.”
Flexibility when it comes to changing show circumstances is another essential quality, as performances are taking place on a moving ship, not a grounded stage.
“You have to be able to go with the flow, no pun intended, and just roll with it because some nights the show is going to run differently than planned because of the ship movements,” says Jeremy Plummer, co-director and choreographer of Sonic Odyssey from Under the Radar Chicago,. “But the show must go on.”
Auditions for MAMMA MIA! and Sonic Odyssey are taking place in New York and London and other cities around the world. When it comes to show business experience, both seasoned and aspiring performers are considered in the mix.
“Some performers may have done many tours and some are younger and just coming out of school with MFAs and BFAs in theater, ready to start their first job,” says Martha Banta, MAMMA MIA!’s associate director. “After someone leaves the audition room, we are discussing their vibe, their energy and their proficiency. We’ve got to really believe in these people and want to invest in them.”
Sherry Zunker, co-director and co- choreographer of Sonic Odyssey from Under the Radar Chicago, sums up the overall MAMMA MIA! and Sonic Odyssey job description.
“We’re looking for diversity, we’re looking for technique and we’re looking for a great stage presence and personality,” she says.
Take note, performers. The bar is set high to break a leg at sea.