Directors and casting directors from top theaters often do scouting at League of Washington Theatres auditions but don't cast many juicy parts there.

Joy Zinoman, artistic director of Studio Theatre, says few of Washington's top actors show up these days.

But she says the best audition she ever saw in her life was at the early League auditions. It was the late '80s. A very attractive man came in, saw a broom in the corner of the stage, and just walked over and picked it up.

"Tremendous spontaneity. His character was a janitor so he began sweeping the stage, reciting 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,' " says Zinoman. "Then he threw down the broom and went into the 'O what a rogue and peasant slave am I,' Hamlet's third soliloquy -- the dreams of the J. Alfred janitor character. He realized the futility of Hamlet and resumed sweeping the stage. It was brilliant."

She still remembers the "Prufrock" perfectly -- quoting the "afternoons . . . coffee spoons" lines.

"Did he sneak in at 4 in the morning and place the broom? Truly amazing. A great audition."

But she didn't hire him, because all 10 of the auditors who were there that day wanted him. And she has never seen or heard of him again that she recalls.

-- Rachel Manteuffel