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Highlights from the 2011 Artios Awards in NYC

CSA artios awards logo The Casting Society of America's Artios Awards, which are presented every year to recognize outstanding achievement in casting, are always an opportunity for actors and casting directors to share their love for each other in a more casual setting than the audition room. This year's awards were presented last night to casting directors at dual ceremonies in New York and Los Angeles.

Megan Larche, who began her career at Binder Casting and is now Associate Producer for Fox Theatricals as well as an independent casting director, became a NY board member for CSA less than a year ago. She was recruited to help organize this year's awards show, which was held at District 36 in New York City.

"We all decided we wanted to hip it up a little bit, make it a little sexier," Larche said. "We want to make it more of an industry party, and less about it just being the awards show."

Larche also stressed the importance of events like the Artios Awards, as well as other ongoing initiatives, to create a unified community of CSA casting directors who will communicate and share their experiences in order to learn from each other.

"None of us want it to feel like it's a club you can't be a part of," she said of CSA. "We want it to be a community that you want to be a member of. If you're a good casting director, or associate or assistant out there working, and you're doing good work, we want to know you."

Check out some highlights from the 27th annual Artios Awards in New York:


Michael stuhlbarg Michael Stuhlbarg (The Pillowman, A Serious Man) told me that Ellen Chenoweth, Ellen Lewis, Daniel Swee, and Rosemarie Tichler were just a few of the casting directors who have made a major impact on his career. "But the list is endless, really. People have really been very kind to me, and it's the least I can do to show up and present an award tonight."

Stuhlbarg also revealed that casting director Mark Saks once let him know not to take a role in a play, because he would soon be getting a television job. He wasn't sure if he should believe the news, but thankfully decided to trust Saks.

"There's only so much we can do to get our names and faces out there," Stuhlbarg said. "It's a godsend when somebody believes in you enough to submit you for roles, whether you think you're right for them or not. I've been very lucky."


Gummer-walker "We owe a great deal to good casting," said Broadway actress Mamie Gummer, standing on the podium with her husband and fellow actor Benjamin Walker (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) as they presented awards last night. "Thank you, Jim Carnahan," Walker added, addressing the casting director who played matchmaker for the couple three years ago, when both actors were cast in the 2008 Broadway revival of Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

Later, Walker remarked to the audience of casting directors, "I have to say, it's so nice being on this side of the room, watching Bernie Telsey biting his fingernails and the rest of you wringing your hands."


Bobby Cannavale, on the other hand, was not as enthusiastic about presenting awards to a room full of potential employers. "It's like being an insult comic at a mob wedding," he joked.


Laura Stanczyk won the award for "Regional Theatre East" for casting the Kennedy Center production of Follies prior to its Broadway transfer. When she got up to accept the honor, Stancyzk thanked the cast and said, "To Jay Binder, who taught me how to do this."


Jonathan Groff recalled that when he was a 17 -year-old high school senior, he was cast in the nonunion national tour of The Sound of Music. He made sure to recognize the casting director who started his career, saying, "Thank you, Rachel Hoffman, for changing my life."

For more about the 27th annual Artios Awards, including the complete list of winners and nominees, visit BackStage.com.

-- Daniel Lehman

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