In the November edition of the Director’s Chair, we are talking with Courtney Casteel, who is directing her 4th production with KVTA. We’ll talk about how Courtney first got started directing, some of the challenges she’s experienced putting shows together, and about her latest KVTA’s Young Peoples Theatre production, Frozen JR.
Courtney, please tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in Bourbonnais. I am currently serving as the President of KVTA, and have been dating Zac for 3.5 years.
What first drew you to directing?
The creative elements of directing, including building characters, have always intrigued me. 10 different people can see something from 10 different ways so each variation of a production is unique and exciting.
As a director, what do you see as the biggest challenge to putting on any production?
Creating the big picture while not forgetting to focus on the details. My staff did an incredible job building the vocals, dances, and characters when my attention was drawn elsewhere.
What advice would you give to someone considering getting into directing?
Surround yourself with a hard-working, reliable team. If the team works as a unit then the overall production will run smoothly from start to finish.
What do you think makes for a great audition? or What qualities do you seek in the actors you work with?
Make yourself stand out by using facial expressions, adding a different twist to an audition piece that the directors have heard a hundred times, and always be quiet, well-behaved, and patient while you wait for your turn to audition.
If you had a dream ensemble and no financial constraints what show would you want to produce and why?
Well, now we need to bring adults to the roles for Frozen: A Broadway Musical!
Tell us a little about your current production of Frozen JR.
This production features 46 astonishing cast members! They have all spent time thinking of their characters, and understanding how they should act/react. We are so proud of the finished product, and we know there will be several elements that will dazzle the audience!
What made you want to direct Frozen JR?
This production has huge shoes to fill since it almost instantly became an iconic Disney film. Bringing the characters to life, immersing the audience into the story, and conveying the sisterly love between Anna and Elsa all drew me to fall in love with Frozen!
Has this show presented any particular challenges?
We are tackling an exciting new realm of possibilities with this production. A lot of time, energy, and research went into finding the best equipment for the job. Hopefully, the hard work will pay off, and the audience will leave feeling "wow"ed.
Do you have a favorite line, character, or moment from Frozen JR?
One of my favorite songs is a new addition to the musical, so I can't say too much about it without spoiling the fun. I know the audience will be dancing in their seats because of hygge!
Is there anything else you want the public to know about this production of Frozen JR?
Being sold out is a bittersweet feeling. We are saddened that more people will not be able to visit Arendelle with us, but we know those that were able to acquire tickets will enjoy their visit! Audience members will be able to leave notes for cast members in their snowmail boxes, and Elsa will have snowflake wands for sale in the lobby before the public performances this weekend. We know you'll be ready to Let It Go with her when the time comes!
Thank you to Courtney for taking time out of her busy production schedule to talk with us. Performances of Frozen JR. are at Lincoln Cultural Center on Saturday, November 23 at 7:00pm, and Sunday, November 24 at 2:00pm.
Even though Frozen JR. is already sold out, you can make sure to get your tickets early for our future productions of Almost, Maine, Mary Poppins JR., and The Music Man, by going to www.KVTA.org/ticket-forms or calling the box office at 815-935-8510.
This production of KVTA Young Peoples Theatre's Frozen JR is sponsored by The Daily Journal, Riverside Healthcare, Taylor Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM, and Taylor Ford of Manteno.