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Casting call: Bruce Bouchard. Photo by Mark Gallucci .

Cast Conscious

Bruce Bouchard and his budding theater company, Saratoga Stages, knew it would be difficult when they decided in late August to take on the production of Joe Pintauro’s controversial play The Dead Boy for their debut performance at Skidmore College in October. But the company ran into trouble casting the lead role, and its production of The Dead Boy has been postponed.

“We were dealing with a tight time frame up front. And this is an incredibly difficult role to cast,” says Bouchard, referring to the lead role of the charismatic but emotionally tormented Father Sheridan.

Bouchard says that they came close to casting the role of Father Sheridan several times, and thought they had finally found their man when Colin Lane answered a callback. But Lane, a Catholic, was skittish about the play’s subject matter, Bouchard says, and ultimately decided not to take the role.

The plot of The Dead Boy mirrors the real-life sexual-abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church to its foundations in recent months. Based loosely on the 1990 New York Covenant House scandal, in which a respected New York priest was accused of molesting a teenage boy in his care, The Dead Boy examines the types of sordid affairs that saturate today’s newspapers.

Saratoga Stages wants to make it clear, however, that its decision to postpone the play stems from a commitment to getting it done right, not from any controversy surrounding the play. “This is not the kind of role you fill with any warm body,” Bouchard says.

Bouchard vows that his company will produce The Dead Boy, probably sometime in early spring. Meanwhile, Bouchard hints that Saratoga Stages may soon announce some smaller-scale productions to tide the public over.

—Paul Hamill

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