Michael Cassara, CSA is a Casting Director and Educator based in New York City and dedicated to developing and fostering the growth of new musicals, plays, and film projects.
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, 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, NYC and Chicago companies), A Night With Janis Joplin (National Tour), Forbidden Broadway: Alive & Kicking! (off-Broadway and cast recording), Forbidden Broadway: Comes Out Swinging! (off-Broadway/cast recording), 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.
Since 2007, Michael has served as the resident casting director of the New York Musical Festival, where he has cast over 80 individual projects since the festival’s inception in 2004. Some favorite NYMF casting credits include The Yellow Wood (dir. Tony Award®-winner BD Wong), All Fall Down (dir. Lonny Price), The Woman Upstairs (by Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk), The Last Smoker In America (dir. Sheryl Kaller), Fat Camp (dir. Alex Timbers), Max Understood (dir. David Schweizer), and Twilight In Manchego (dir. Tony Award®-winner Billy Porter).
In 2013, Michael became the Casting Director for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT), and casts their annual Festival of New Musicals each 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. Member, Casting Society of America.
Stephanie Cowan (Casting Associate) is a New York based producer, casting director, and dramaturg who specializes in cultivating new works for film, television, and stage. Recent casting director credits include the Drama League DirectorFest and the world premiere of Veil’d by Monet Hurst-Mendoza. Stephanie was an Associate Producer on the Broadway production of Amélie, which she helped develop from its early stages in her role as Director of Development for Triptyk Studios, where she was a company member from 2008-2017. During her tenure at Triptyk, the company produced many projects, including the NY Times Critic’s Pick My Daughter Keeps Our Hammer, the Broadway and US touring productions of Xanadu, 12-time Tony-nominated Broadway, National Tour and West End productions of An American in Paris, Will Ferrell’s You’re Welcome America and the Broadway and Netflix hit comedy, Oh, Hello. Ms. Cowan also had a hand in developing many other upcoming projects, including the television series ‘Freedom Run’ with Stevie Wonder and Quincy Jones, and ‘Big Dead Place’ for Entertainment One. Ms. Cowan has served as judge for the New York Musical Festival, as well as a selection committee member for the NAMT Festival of New Musicals from 2012-2014, with whom she continues to consult every year.