Letter to The New York Times Theatre Critic

Charles Isherwood

New York Times

 

Dear Mr. Isherwood,

Thank you for your recent review and praise of Barrington Stages’ production of Pirates of Penzance. I am in complete agreement with you and am quite proud of the creative team that, assembled (your words) “this superbly realized production” and am grateful that the cast was so kindly recognized by you. I would, however, respectfully request an answer as to why it is the policy of The New York Times to never include the casting director in its reviews? Just as the lighting designer, costume designer, sound designer and set designer receive acknowledgement for their participation (good and bad), why is casting less significant to the creative process?

 

 I view the Casting Directors process as “the designer of the cast”. Their function is to realize the performance vision of the director, choreographer, music director and producer and thus creatively contribute to a production’s concept. Certainly, television and film credits for casting have existed since the demise of the studio system in the 1050’s where partnering actors was no longer a practical matter but a creative opportunity to combine talents into an ensemble. The Casting Director’s contribution (although the DGA does not recognize the word, “director” for crediting purposes) has evolved into a specialized craft that is considered essential to a projects artistic success. We now have Emmy awards given for Casting.

 

It only seems right that the theatrical community evolve its thinking as well. Additionally, because of this omission, there have been many situations whereupon a Casting Director’s contribution is often “forgotten” when a production moves to another venue or from a regional, Off Broadway theatre to Broadway, even when the same cast members are used. Surely, when the effort to seek out, investigate, research, and assemble specific talent in a creative way is considered less valuable than other creatives’ intellectual property, it diminishes a critical contribution to the project and seems unfair.

 

My business partner (and wife), Pat McCorkle of McCorkle Casting LTD has been casting Theatre, Film and Television projects in New York and Nationally, since 1979. She has over 50 Broadway credits to her name and her artistic contribution to the theatrical community has been significant.  Of course, I am hoping that she would be considered equally valuable to the thousands of productions she has cast as other artistic collaborators who receive accolades. I realize this may seem self-aggrandizing and be perceived as a shameless promotional attempt for ink, yet I hope my sincerity is met with kind understanding.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Jeffrey Dreisbach

McCorkle Casting LTD

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