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Casting

Posted by Daniel Cohen on June 19, 2000

Can anyone tell me the etymology of the word "Casting" as it applies to the assignment of parts and duties to actors or performers?

I can perhaps see how a director would want to "cast" out a metaphorical net to bring in the performers needed for a play. Somehow though, this explanation isn't satisfying.

When was the word first used in this theatrical sense?

I'd be very grateful for the information.

Thanks,

Daniel