‘Survivor’ casting call draws largest audition pool yet to Mohegan Sun Pocono
PLAINS TWP. — A man attempting to complete his bucket list, a used car salesman and a die-hard fan were among potential “Survivor” contestants Tuesday in what’s been estimated as the largest reality show casting-call turnout local CBS affiliate WYOU has received.
More than 500 people had already arrived at the Keystone Grand Ballroom inside of Mohegan Sun Pocono by 10 a.m. to try out for the popular reality show that has already aired 33 seasons and has a 34th taped and ready to release in March. The crowd’s energy was palpable as excited hopefuls prepared to audition.
PA Homepage digital manager Mark Prutisto said he estimated several hundred more people would arrive before auditions ended at 2 p.m., and he assumed the turnout was a result of the show finding new ways to attract attention and viewers.
“It’s the largest we’ve had,” Prutisto said of the crowd. “They’ve been putting forth different themed shows and getting more people interested, which is great.”
Prutisto noted in March, the 34th season will air with the theme “Game Changers,” and the season will restructure the rules of the game and reinvent the playing process.
Scott Sloyer, 57, of St. Louis, Mo. said trying out for ‘Survivor’ was among the goals he has on his bucket list.
“Four years ago, I decided to start doing things I wanted to do,” Sloyer said. “This year, I was a balloon handler in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I tried out to be the oldest ball boy at the U.S. Open tennis tournament, and in September, I was a seat filler at the Kennedy Center Gala.”
Sloyer said his life experiences, his sense of adventure and his physical fitness — he runs six miles a day — would be advantageous if he were selected for the show.
“I want to show my children that you can either observe life or participate in it, and I choose to participate,” Sloyer said.
Jordan Schillace, 29, of New Orleans, La. said he arrived home from work yesterday to find his wife had bought him a plane ticket to try out for the show.
The used car salesman said he watches the show regularly and he thinks his ability to talk people into doing anything will be an advantage if he is chosen.
“I think everybody who plays is a moron,” Schillace said. “I think I can outplay everybody. If I get on this thing, it’s over.”
Schillace’s supreme confidence was one approach. Sam Lechner’s cheerful exuberance was another.
The 20-year-old Canton, Ohio resident traveled to Northeastern Pennsylvania Monday and stayed with a family friend in Shavertown. She was second in line to audition and said she loves to go to casting calls to network with other passionate fans.
“I came last year and had a ton of fun,” Lechner said. “I met so many fun people who love the game as much as I do.”
Taking a comedic approach to auditioning, Lechner led her minute-long interview with a joke about feeding fiber-filled buckeyes (chocolate and peanut butter candies) to fellow contestants to sabotage their stomachs.
“I’m pretty much the funniest person I know, and I’m super adaptable,” Lechner said of her talents she felt would be advantageous on the show.
The restaurant server and strategic communications student said she knows the ins-and-outs of dealing with people, and she knows when to be her own person.
Sloyer, who was the eighth person to audition overall, said he just went in and talked about himself while others attempted to stand out by being wacky.
“My guy said he’s been doing this for years, and (my audition) was the best he’s ever seen,” Sloyer said. “So we’ll see.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter @TLArts