‘Survivor’ holds open casting call at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre
Two minutes. That’s the amount of time potential “Survivor” contestants had to show CBS they have what it takes to compete on one of the nation’s most popular reality game shows. There are no questions or prompts, only two minutes of open film time for hopefuls to communicate their character, quirks and skill sets in an attempt to become the next loved or hated “Survivor” cast member.
Hundreds of people showed up, some as early as 7 a.m., to the open casting call Tuesday in the Grand Ballroom at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Some dressed the part, showing off physiques, making fashion statements or advertising their love of the show, while others took a more casual, this-is-me, approach to their attire, but all patiently awaited the chance to impress.
Mark Prutisto, digital manager of PA Homepage, said Northeastern Pennsylvania’s passion for the show makes it possible to hold auditions for the third year in a row.
“WYOU, being a CBS affiliate here locally, has the opportunity to work with the CBS network and work with the casting calls,” Prutisto said. “We’ve gotten calls from across the country.”
Paul Brennan traveled from Plymouth, Massachusetts, to audition. The fence and landscape contractor who is trying his hand at making a living in the legal marijuana industry said he’s made audition tapes in the past but never had the courage to send them in and thought an open casting call would force him to try out in one take.
“I think I have a couple of quirky things about me that make my life story interesting, so I hope that gets me a foot in the door,” Brennan said. “I recognize that ‘Survivor’ is not survival of the fittest. Not necessarily the strongest individual survives but the one most adaptable to change. Maybe I’m true to my alliances; maybe I’m a backstabbing blind-sider. I’m playing to win.”
Married couple Tess and Adam Harden came from Washington D.C. to participate in the auditions. The pair said they have always been a fan of the show and considered trying out several times before actually doing it.
“Watching the show for a long time, we talked strategy on the sofa,” Harden said. “Adam noticed that there was a casting call here in Pennsylvania. Yesterday, I pushed him to pull the trigger. It’s a strong life experience.”
“We both think if we got on the show that we have what it takes to win, so we kind of said ‘let’s put our money where our mouths are,’” Adam said.
Drums resident Chaz Balogh was in attendance, representing a local contingent of potential contestants. The law enforcement officer and wrestling official said he intended to give a little information about himself, put his best foot forward and prove anything can be accomplished, although his daughter, he said, thinks he’s going through a mid-life crisis.
“I’ve always said I wanted to do it,” Balogh said. “I’m a unique person in my own way. I’m strong willed, hard working, outgoing, determined and, last but not least, very competitive.”
Lynn Hill is the consumer marketing manager for MSP and has overseen all three years of “Survivor” auditions. She said nearly 500 people will audition and everyone who auditions has a tape forwarded to CBS with no potential contestants getting turned away, regardless of how long the tryouts carry on.
“It’s so exciting because we get to show people who have never been here what Mohegan Sun is all about and, on top of it, people from out of the area get to see what our area has to offer,” Hill said. “We’re just really happy to be the host and have all these people here.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter@TLArts