Attention all performers. As Broadway increases its presence on the high seas, Norwegian Cruise Line has put out a casting call for its shipboard production of the Tony Award-nominated musical Legally Blonde, onboard the soon-to-debut 4,000-passenger Norwegian Getaway.
The contract is from November to June, with decent pay. But to land a part you'll face stiff competition.
For the cruise line's production of the raucous hit Broadway show Rock of Ages on sister ship Norwegian Breakaway, which debuted earlier this year, the producers and casting agency received more than 5,000 resumes. More than 600 performers were auditioned in a New York studio for the 15 roles.
Not everyone is suited to being a cruise ship performer.
"You live on the ship 24/7, and when you go home you're at work," said Richard Kilman, director of entertainment programming and development at Norwegian.
Still, the performance part of the cruise job is very similar to what singers and dancers experience on land.
"It's the same staff running back of the house from the production crew to wardrobe. It's a full-on production like a touring production or on Broadway," Kilman said.
Specifically for a cruise ship audience, Legally Blonde, like Rock of Ages, is being trimmed to about 90 minutes, but by the same writers involved with the original show. This eliminates the need for an intermission.
Royal Caribbean, which originated the concept of real Broadway shows at sea, similarly trimmed its shipboard productions of Hairspray, Chicago and Saturday Night Fever (on the Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Independence of the Seas, respectively).
The Legally Blonde storyline centers on Elle Woods, a California Valley Girl who follows her ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law School (Reese Witherspoon played the lead role in the movie on which the musical is based).
The cast of Legally Blonde, and all of Norwegian's fleet-wide entertainment productions, will rehearse in Tampa, where the Miami-based cruise line recently leased 46,000-square-feet of space in an industrial park. It's being turned into six large permanent studios.
Some 200 singers, dancers and production crew will train there at any one time, Norwegian officials said. About 30 are involved in each show.
Performers chosen for Legally Blonde on Norwegian Getaway will get a chance to see a bit of the world, training shipboard in Germany, where the ship is under construction, and visiting The Netherlands and UK before a transatlantic crossing.
The ship will cruise weekly from Miami to the Caribbean.
By Fran Golden, Special to USA TODAY
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