Canada had the final vote, but Stephanie Gorin was largely responsible for casting the well-loved Elicia MacKenzie as Maria in Toronto’s The Sound of Music.
A casting director for the past two decades, Gorin narrowed down a pool of 2,000 girls to 186 before the debut of CBC’s reality television show, How do you Solve a Problem Like Maria?
“It’s very exciting when you have something like help from the media to find fresh new faces,” she said.
Normally, when casting a show, Gorin doesn’t have that kind of back-up, it’s all up to her. Open calls like that for Maria are sometimes the best way to find new talent, she said, and it’s very rewarding to be able to give someone with little experience the opportunity to be involved in a major production.
It’s also rewarding just to watch the show and the talent she’s cast succeed, and Gorin has a long history of casting for successful productions, including We Will Rock You, Lord of the Rings, Mama Mia!, The Lion King, Dirty Dancing, Bombay Dreams and many more.
She has also cast for television series The Border, Being Erica, Death Comes to Town, Degrassi, Angel on Campus and the Ron James Show.
Gorin began her career working behind the scenes in theatre and eventually worked her way up to stage manager. She got her big break with Mirvish Productions when she was asked to be the children’s casting director for Les Misérables.
“I loved it so I carried on from there,” she said.
For anyone interested in following her career path she said it’s imperative to have theatre experience, learn how to assess an actor and make sure you have computer training in addition to excellent telephone and organizational skills.
There’s a lot of clerical work in the job, she said.
The job also means long and intense hours but they’re all made worthwhile when the production wraps.
Gorin is nominated for an Emmy Award for her work as casting director in the miniseries The Tudors.