Michael Shurtleff (born July 3, 1920, Oak Park, Illinois — died January 28, 2007, Los Angeles, California) was a major force in casting on Broadway during the 1960s and 1970s. He wrote Audition, a book for actors on the audition process. He also wrote numerous one-act and full length plays.
Charles Gordon Shurtleff was born in Oak Park, Illinois and attended Lawrence College in Appleton, Wisconsin and Yale University. He moved to New York after graduation and changed his first name to Michael. He has two brothers, John and Roger.
Shurtleff was the major casting director for producer David Merrick. During the casting process he would bring in to audition for the play's director such new names as Elliott Gould, Barbra Streisand, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Bette Midler and Jerry Orbach. Shurtleff worked with Bob Fosse on Pippin and Chicago, and Andrew Lloyd Webber on Jesus Christ Superstar.
Shurtleff went on to form his own casting service, Casting Consultants, in 1962. Among the many Broadway productions on which he acted as casting director were 1776, The Apple Tree, and the original production of Chicago. Shurtleff also acted as casting director on films, notably The Graduate and The Sound of Music.
In his book Audition,for which he perhaps is best known, Shurtleff addresses and solves the common problems for actors during the audition process, problems he had witnessed many times over in his casting sessions. The book has become somewhat of a "bible for aspiring actors". Shurtleff traveled globally and gave master classes based upon the "12 Guideposts" featured in the book.
Shurtleff wrote many plays, including Call Me By My Rightful Name, which starred Robert Duvall, Alvin Ailey, and Joan Hackett in its 1961 Off-Broadway debut. He also had plays published in "The Best Short Plays Series," of which the 1979 edition includes his popular "Sailing."