Joanna Merlin has spent her career on both sides of the auditioning process, both as an award-winning casting director who has worked with Harold Prince, Bernard Bertolucci, and James Ivory, and as an accomplished actor herself.
In this highly informative and accessible book, Merlin provides everything the actor needs to achieve self-confidence and artistic honesty–from the most basic practical tips to an in-depth framework for preparing a part. Filled with advice from the most esteemed people in the business, such as James Lapine, Nora Ephron, and Stephen Sondheim, and charged with tremendous wisdom and compassion, this indispensable resource will arm the reader to face an actor's greatest challenge: getting the part.
"This is a book for all of us—every actor, every age, every stage (or screen). A dream would be to have Joanna Merlin actually by your side, walking you through the process—but the book is a good stand in. She gives us everything we need to know, and everything we do know, but forget under pressure of nerves anticipation."—Anna Deavere Smith
"Joanna Merlin brings her extensive experience and unique perspective to her actor-friendly guide, combining practical and enlightened information for any and all acting levels. It is easily the finest book on the subject and will be required reading for our Professional Actor Training Program (MFA) as well as our Undergraduate Acting Program (BA)."—Kevin Cotter, Assoc. Professor of Theater, Temple University
NOMINEE - New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age
Joanna Merlin was a recipient of the Casting Society of America’s Artios Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dramatic Feature Film Casting for Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor and for Best Musical Theater Casting for Sonheim and Lapine’s Into the Woods. As Harold Prince’s casting director, she cast the original Broadway productions of Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Pacific Overtures, and Evita, among others and her film casting includes Michael Cimino’s Year of the Dragon and Merchant Ivory’s Mr. and Mrs. Bridge.
As an actor, Merlin has appeared in six Broadway productions, including Becket, in which she played opposite Laurence Olivier, and Fiddler on the Roof, in which she created the role of Tzeitle. Her film appearances include City of Angels; Murder and murder; Two Bits; Class Action; Mystic Pizza; The Killing Fields; Fame; Baby, It's You; and The Ten Commandents; and her television appearances include Northern Exposure; Law and Order; L.A. Law; A Marriage: O’Keefe and Stieglitz; and In a Child's Name.
Joanna Merlin teaches in the Graduate Acting Program of New York University, the Actors Center in New York, and the Manhattan School of Music Professional Musical Theater Workshop. She is cofounder of the Non-Traditional Casting Project, and is a member of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee.