“I Want to Open Doors”
Growing up in New York City, Rodriguez was always drawn to theater. She began acting in school plays at age 6, but she found her behind-the-scenes calling at Dartmouth.
As a film and media studies major around the time the #OscarsSoWhite movement was calling attention to the lack of diversity in Hollywood, Rodriguez used her thesis to “examine power dynamics in an audition space,” she says. After undergrad casting internships, Rodriguez landed at New York City’s Public Theater. In November she was named resident casting director at the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) in Washington, D.C.
As she meets with local actors, hosts auditions, and collaborates with directors and playwrights to translate their visions, Rodriguez focuses on making casting more equitable and welcoming. At STC, she’s building an actor database that goes beyond headshots and resumes, giving actors the chance to “have a conversation with me, so I can get to know you and uplift your voice as an artist,” Rodriguez says. She is also a trainer in the Broadway for Racial Justice Casting Directive, which helps people of color get into the casting business. “I know that being a casting director is essentially being a gatekeeper,” Rodriguez says. “And I want to open doors for people.”