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conference panelist info

Michael Cassara

Owner, Michael Cassara Casting

MICHAEL CASSARA, CSA (Casting Director)

Since the formation of Michael Cassara Casting in 2003, Michael has worked with many of the nation’s top theatres including Gulfshore Playhouse, the Denver Center, Hangar Theatre, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Asolo Repertory Theatre, the Old Globe, Queens Theatre, Great Lakes Theater, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, and more. Recent projects have included The Mad Ones (Kerrigan-Lowdermilk, dir. Stephen Brackett/Prospect Theater Company), SPAMILTON (dir. Gerard Alessandrini, off-Broadway/Chicago/Pittsburgh CLO/national tour companies), A Night With Janis Joplin (National Tour), Forbidden Broadway (three New York editions and cast recordings),  Fat Camp (off-Broadway), Heat Wave: The Jack Cole Project (dir. Chet Walker), Kingdom (The Old Globe, dir. Ron Daniels), Falling For Eve (book by Joe DiPietro, York Theatre Company), A Little Night Music (starring Penny Fuller and Mark Jacoby), Cheer Wars (winner, 2009 Richard Rodgers Award, dir. Dan Knechtges), The Molly Maguires (dir. Sheryl Kaller, mus. dir John McDaniel), Stephen Schwartz’s Captain Louie (National Tour), If This Hat Could Talk (National Tour, directed by Tony® Award-winner George Faison), The Gig (York Theatre Concert/Cast Recording on JAY Records, dir. Victoria Bussert), Barnstormer (by Douglas J. Cohen and Cheryl L. Davis, dir. Jerry Dixon), The Unauthorized Autobiography Of Samantha Brown (Makor, w/ Michael Arden and Celia Keenan-Bolger), Joy (off-Broadway and workshops), and countless readings and workshops.

From 2007 through its final season in 2019, Michael served as the resident casting director of the New York Musical Festival, where he cast over 80 individual projects beginning with the festival’s inception in 2004. Some favorite NYMF casting credits included The Yellow Wood (dir. Tony Award®-winner BD Wong), All Fall Down (dir. Lonny Price), The Woman Upstairs (by Kait Kerrigan and Bree Lowdermilk), Fat Camp (dir. Tony Award®-winner Alex Timbers), Max Understood (dir. David Schweizer), and Twilight In Manchego (dir. Tony Award®-winner Billy Porter). Among the performers Michael cast in NYMF are a veritable who’s who of the contemporary musical theatre scene, including Chuck Cooper, Nick Cordero, Lena Hall, Caissie Levy, MJ Rodriguez, Ali Stroker, and many more.

In 2013, Michael became the Resident Casting Director for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT), and has earned widespread acclaim for his casting of NAMT’s annual Festival of New Musicals every October.

Feature film credits include Grantham & Rose (dir. Tony® Award-nominee Kristin Hanggi, starring Jake T. Austin, Marla Gibbs, and Tessa Thompson), Contest (dir. Anthony Giunta, starring Raviv Ullman, Kenton Duty, Katherine McNamara, and Mary Beth Peil), and Clear Blue Tuesday (directed by Elizabeth Lucas.)  Additionally, he has cast a number of high-profile short films including Alienated (dir. Paul Borghese, starring Vincent Pastore) and The Hyperglot (dir. Michael Urie, featuring Tovah Feldshuh – Artios Award nomination for Excellence in Casting.)

Originally a performer, Michael is a native Clevelander and a BFA graduate of the musical theatre program at Otterbein College (now Otterbein University). Michael serves on the Artistic Advisory Board for MainStreet Musicals, and has served on the selection committee for NAMT’s National Fund for New Musicals. He regularly teaches and lectures on musical theatre and the entertainment industry, in New York City and throughout the world, and currently serves on the adjunct faculty of Wright State University. Member, Casting Society of America.