Life at The Music Man: A Behind-the-Scenes Look

by Nicole Fallon – Every year, The Music Man conducts a national search to find their perfect summer cast. From May to September, this small group of hand-selected, talented performers spends the whole season living and working together at the Jersey Shore, bringing joy to our customers in the form of ice cream sundaes and cabaret-style musical numbers. 

When we conduct our talent search, we’re not just looking for the best singers and dancers; we want the best people. The individuals we hire have to connect with our audience quickly and make their experience special, whether it’s their first time or they’ve been coming to The Music Man’s shows for years. 

Our 2021 cast hasn’t officially been chosen yet, and we’re eagerly awaiting their arrival in mid-May. But these performers will have a few things to learn before they’re ready for the first show on May 21. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at life as a cast member at The Music Man. 

The Casting Process

The Music Man’s casting process begins with a review of video reels, headshots, and resumes. We receive applications from aspiring performers from all over the country, most of whom are current college students and recent graduates trying to break into the performing arts industry.

When we find candidates we’re interested in, we set up a phone call to explain the job and what’s expected of our staff. We want to put everything on the table up front so our potential cast members know exactly what they’re getting involved in and essentially give them a road map to get the job if they want it. At the end of this initial call, we ask them a very important question: Does this sound like something you want to continue pursuing?

The ones who say yes move on to the next phase of the casting process. We meet with these hopeful cast members and determine which ones can truly be passionate about The Music Man. We empower our people to be the face of our business, and we need staff who can make any customer feel important and welcome, and above all else, make them want to return.

By mid-April, we’ve chosen our final group of performers for the season.

Pre-Season Rehearsals: The Music Man Crash Course

The cast – usually a group of a dozen or less – moves into their summer accommodations about 10 days before opening night. During an intense, 10-day rehearsal period, we teach our eager new group of performers just about everything they need to know to succeed. They learn the practical logistics of The Music Man, like taking and serving ice cream orders, as well as the performance basics they’ll need throughout the season. This includes preparing and recording songs, learning choreography, and taking some time to practice their solo acts.

The rehearsal period also gives the cast a chance to get to know each other and bond before their busy performance schedule starts. What makes The Music Man staff special is that every year, the group truly becomes like family. We want a cast that can trust and encourage each other, even through disagreements and rough patches. We like to think that once you’re a Music Man cast member, you’re always part of the fabric of the establishment.

Opening Night and Beyond

The Music Man’s 21th season begins on Friday, May 26 to kick off Memorial Day Weekend. Once the season begins, our Lavallette cast puts on six shows a night, including special-themed events. Our regular shows are largely improvised based on the cast and audience at each performance — our singing waiters and waitresses typically don’t know which numbers they’ll perform until they’re called during showtime. This keeps every show fresh and spontaneous.

Be sure to check out the 2023 cast this summer at The Music Man Visit for showtimes and reservation information.