Stewart/Whitley, the casting agency founded by Duncan Stewart and Benton Whitley in 2011, dissolved April 1 as the owners move on to different companies. Together Stewart and Whitley were responsible for casting Broadway productions of Chicago; La Cage aux Folles; Pippin; On the Town; Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812; The Lightning Thief; Paradise Square; and this season’s Life of Pi.
Stewart now leads RWS Entertainment Group's new, independent, New York- and London-based casting arm, ARC, which mines talent for theatre, film, TV, and commercial projects. Along with casting directors and associates from both Stewart/Whitley and Binder Casting, which also dissolved, Stewart's continuing clients include the Broadway productions of Life of Pi, The Lion King, and Chicago, as well as the annual Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes.
Stewart's colleagues include Patrick Maravilla from Stewart/Whitley, Mark Brandon, Kyle Coker, Anthony Pichette, Amber Snead, and Jarrett Reiche.
Whitley has launched Whitley Theatrical, a New York City-based casting and producing office for theatre, film, and TV. He is joined by associate casting director Micah Johnson-Levy, with acquisitions and legal counsel from Jordan Manekin and business management by Karen Morales at Armanino LLP.
Whitley is currently represented by the Broadway and North American tour of Hadestown, for which he won the 2020 Artios Award for Excellence in Casting. Among the in-development projects Whitley Theatrical is casting for the stage are Goddess, How to Dance in Ohio, Wild, and Cowboy Bob plus reimagined revivals of Inherit the Wind and Same Time Next Year. Whitley Theatrical has also completed principal casting for the new revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Evita.
Whitley said in a statement, “Over the last few years, as much disruption and needed change has happened both in the world at large, and specifically, the theatre industry, it became apparent that the critical conversations around casting happen at the very first stage of a show’s development, making it the ideal time for us to transition from strictly casting, to both casting and producing. The stories we tell and the storytellers who tell them, both on and off the stage, matter more than ever. We look forward to continuing to cultivate the stories, talent, and artists needed to make this happen.”
“Bringing Duncan Stewart onto the team to transition Binder Casting into ARC was a natural fit and will help spearhead the industry’s most exciting work,” said RWS founder and CEO Ryan Stana. “His reputation as having one of the most discerning eyes for talent in the industry will elevate our powerhouse team and accelerate discovering world-class talent. He also brings with him a firmly held commitment to treating everyone with whom he engages with respect.”
“I always knew it would take something truly extraordinary to pull me from Stewart/Whitley, and that is exactly what this new opportunity is,” added Stewart.