Okay, here's one of the reasons my job does suck on occasion...
The role of Liz in High Fidelity. She sings the Aretha Franklin number, "She Goes," and she also plays one of Rob's ex-girlfriends.
So we cast this woman in the role who did really great at the audition. On her audition sheet, she wrote that she had two date conflicts with our schedule -- two dates on which she was doing another show. So I emailed her and asked if there were any rehearsals for that show that we needed to worry about. She wrote back that, oh yeah, there were rehearsals! With that information included, she now had twelve conflicts! But she said, she had a very small part in the other show and really wanted to do High Fidelity, so if I couldn't make the schedule work, she'd drop out of the other show.
That should have been a red flag! Any time an actor is willing to drop out of another show to work with us, that means they don't necessarily mind dropping out of shows... which is bad...
I wrote back that, no, we could not accommodate twelve conflicts. So the next day, she sends me an email saying she's thought about it, and she will drop out of the other show to accept our role. It made me a little uneasy, but she really was great.
But literally just a couple hours after the email, I got a voice mail from her saying, no, she had changed her mind, she probably shouldn't do our show after all.
So we cast our second choice, another woman who had done well at the audition. I talked to her, she was very excited, and couldn't wait to get started.
This was all a few weeks ago, and in the interim, I sent out a rehearsal schedule, and several emails about various things, all including rehearsal and show dates... All the dates were also on the audition sheet back in March.
Then on the day of our first rehearsal, at 5:15 p.m., this second woman emails me to tell me that she hadn't looked at any of the dates until just that moment, and she had a conflict with performances, so she was quitting. Now, other folks at the audition have told me this woman had been talking about the dates at the audition, so we know she had seen them.
That night at the first rehearsal, one of the guys in the show mentioned that he knew the first woman we cast and would be happy to call her. So he did. And she decided to come join us, after all. We thought everything was fine. (Yes, we were that stupid.) She came to one rehearsal, Tuesday night, and did a great job. Wednesday, she emails me again, this time to tell me that, though we start at 6:30, she won't be there till 8:00 on a few occasions, because now she's doing both shows. Uh-oh.
Then Thursday night comes, and she (remember, we're back to the first woman now) doesn't show up. She calls halfway through rehearsal to tell me that her headlights don't work, so she probably can't get to rehearsal that night. After rehearsal, she calls again and tells me that she's found a pianist who will help her learn the parts she has missed.
Then this morning I get an email from her telling me she's quitting.
This is the part of the process the audience never sees. Thank God. It's like watching sausage being made. You just don't want to.
Long Live the Musical!