ABOARD THE EURODAM– What happens to entertainers if they don’t make it through the tough tryouts for Holland America Cruise Line?
A Eurodam performer has a quick answer for the question:
“They go to other cruise ships.”
Although the reply brings some laughs, it might also have some truth to it.
I must admit that the shows I have seen so far on the Eurodam’s Mainstage are top-notch. The 14 talented singers and dancers are definitely not just going through the motions as I have sometimes seen on other well-rehearsed ship shows.
No matter what is going on in the show, each of the singers and dancers is involved. They don’t just stand there with a blank expression on their face waiting for their turn in the spotlight. To all of them, it appears, the spotlight seems to always be on.
The ship’s entertainers are hired by a California company known as Stiletto Entertainment. Performers must be at least 21 years old for a ship gig. As for an age maximum, “As long as you’ve got it, it doesn’t matter how old you are,” says Josh Van Wiem who is now on his third ship contract.
After rigorous tryouts, the chosen cast meets in Los Angeles. “They live together, eat together, rehearse together six days a week, all day,” says Eurodam stage manager Ron Morrissette.
The cast does that for about three to seven weeks. Then they come aboard the ship.
“They will be on the ship for eight months. That is their contract,” Tom says.
Cast members live in double cabins one deck below regular passengers. Singers get single cabins on 10 of the company’s 15 ships.
The cast features two female singers and two male singers, along with 10 dancers. But all of the singers dance and all of the dancers sing. Sets are professionally done, costumes are in tip-top shape and the ship’s musicians don’t miss a beat.
With so many costume changes, the whole cast pitches in to zip off one costume and fasten on another as singers and dancers race backstage between numbers.
“It’s a whole nother show backstage,” lead singer Emily Yates says. “We help each other.”
- On our Caribbean cruise, the Mainstage shows with the singers and dancers are listed on our entertainment schedule as:
- “Listen to the Music,” a fun sampling of the entertainment to come on the cruise.
- “In Concert,” featuring some of the biggest names in music and No. 1 hits.
- “Avalon,” providing the soundtrack to some amazing dance moves.
- “Nightlife,” a journey through the world’s most famous and exciting nightclubs from Paris to New York.
- “Dream Park,” a high-energy trip to an amusement park.
Shows are presented twice a night. Passengers are also welcome to attend afternoon show rehearsals.
If someone gets sick, there are no backups, Ron says. Instead, the cast must work around the ailing performer. And if the ship hits rocky seas, the show still goes on.
“If it is crazy rocking, we can put the comedian on,” Ron says. On our cruise, the comedian is Jeff Peterson and his show-stealing dog.
When the cast’s contracts are up, each entertainer can decide whether to leave the seas or try for another contract. Evidently, the allure of being able to perform in some of the most beautiful and exotic locales in the world keeps drawing repeat cast members.
Singer Charlene Roberts of Glasgow is now on her seventh year, as is Sunchai Duday of the Philippines. Ryan Adkins of Ontario has signed nine contracts. Would be great to take that many cruises on the Eurodam.
Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch