Temple Terrace resident and student Jackie Hohn joined the dozens of anxious hopefuls that filled the halls outside of ’ main rehearsal room June 21.
They were all auditioning for various positions that are involved with upcoming shows that take place throughout the park, including Howl ’O Scream.
“I woke up, ate breakfast, and felt a little nervous,” she said. “I even ran out of time to curl my hair, but once I got here and started auditioning, I started feeling a lot better.”
This is Hohn’s second year auditioning for Howl ’O Scream. She also works at Three Olives Vodka and Sephora, and interns at the American Diabetes Association.
“I have auditioned for Howl ’O Scream before, and I absolutely love it,” she said. “I like that it’s a temporary position because I have so much going on already. It’s such a fun job, and I like that it is scary and darker than any of the other shows.”
In addition to actors for Howl ’O Scream, performers auditioned for other shows, such as Sesame Street and Rock a Doo Wop, which begins in August.
“We do our auditions when we have the most casting involved,” said Cassie Pozzuoli, Busch Gardens’ production show manager. “We used to conduct auditions monthly, but now we are doing them on a quarterly basis. These are the first auditions in the new process.”
Regardless of experience level, Pozzuoli and the judges said they were looking for one thing: personality.
“We do want to see their skill, but we also want to see their personable qualities come through because our shows have meet and greets, and it’s important they smile on stage and interact well with our guests,” Pozzuoli said.
Although this was his first year auditioning, Temple Terrace resident Mike Raptis was all smiles as he sang and danced his way through the Sesame Street theme song.
“I have never been in the entertainment business before,” said Raptis. “I am actually a line cook at a local restaurant, so this is something a little different for me, but I do karate in my spare time and thought this would a be a good way to stay active. I also love kids and thought this would be a fun way for me to entertain them.”
Because of the amount of casting involved, those who auditioned were subjected to an intense schedule that lasted all day for some.
“It’s a big day for them, and it’s such a long one, too,” said Pozzuoli. “We started at 11 a.m., and we are going until 11 p.m. tonight.”
Occasionally, some people would leave because they had other plans, like school or other jobs that were interfering with the demanding full-day schedule. But most remained, hoping that their name would be called and they’d be invited back for a second audition.
“I did a monologue earlier, sang, and now I am dancing,” Hohn said. “I have been here all day, but it’s worth it when you get that call back.”