a staged reading, March 2020
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Arsenic and Old Lace, a Staged Reading
by Joseph Kesselring
Needed: 7M, 3W
plus 2 additional characters to be played by either M or W
Director: Saundra Stortz
Auditions: Thursday, November 14, 5:00--7:00 pm at Plattsburgh Public Library Auditorium
Saturday, November 16, 2:00--4:00 pm at AuSable Town Hall, 111 AuSable Street, Keeseville. (Choose one.)
Acting Audition: scenes will be emailed to you at least 1-week prior to auditions Artistry’s reimagined production will be a “staged reading.” Actors will perform with book in hand and will not be required to memorize their entire parts. This will be a minimalist production with hand props, costumes, and blocking to suggest the comic movement and timing of more fully staged productions.
The story revolves around the theatre-hating drama critic Mortimer Brewster and his two sweet and thoughtful old aunts, Martha and Abby. On the same evening as Mortimer gets engaged to next door neighbor Elaine, he accidentally discovers that his dear aunts have developed a very bad habit: they poison lonely old men with their homemade elderberry wine (laced with arsenic, strychnine and a pinch of cyanide) in order to save them from the sorrows of this world. They then leave it to their crazy but harmless nephew Teddy (who believes he is President Teddy Roosevelt) to dig graves in the cellar for those “yellow fever casualties working on the Panama Canal.” Just as Mortimer tries to get a grip on this situation, his long lost murderous brother Jonathan reappears looking like Boris Karloff after a badly performed plastic surgery with his alcoholic accomplice Dr. Einstein and a dead body in tow. The seemingly idyllic Brewster home now finally turns into complete madhouse in which Mortimer must try to save his sanity as well as his life.
Abby Brewster: A darling lady in her sixties who poisons elderly men. Abby is the sister of Martha and an aunt to Teddy, Jonathan, and Mortimer.
Martha Brewster: A sweet elderly woman with Victorian charm who poisons elderly men, Martha is the sister of Abby and an aunt to Teddy, Jonathan, and Mortimer.
Elaine Harper: An attractive girl in her twenties and Mortimer’s fiancee, Elaine is the daughter of the Rev. Dr. Harper. She is surprisingly wise in the ways of the world for a minister's daughter.
Officer Brophy: A police officer. Played by either male or female.
Officer Klein: A police officer. Played by either female or male.
Mortimer Brewster: Nephew of Abby and Martha, Mortimer is a drama critic who is engaged to Elaine. He is a nice man who cares for his aunts.
Jonathan Brewster: Nephew of Abby and Martha Brewster, Jonathan is a psychopath who has had plastic surgery and now looks like Boris Karloff.
Dr. Einstein: A plastic surgeon and an alcoholic who is in his fifties, Dr. Einstein has changed Jonathan's face three times.
Teddy Brewster: Nephew of Abby and Martha Brewster, Teddy is a man in his forties who thinks that he is Theodore Roosevelt.
The Rev. Dr. Harper: Minister and father of Elaine.
Lieutenant Roony: A tough and dominating police officer Same actor plays Dr. Harper and Lt. Roony.
Mr. Gibbs: A man who wishes to rent a room from the Brewster sisters.
Mr. Witherspoon: The superintendent of Happy Dale Sanitarium Same actor plays Gibbs and Witherspoon
Officer O'Hara: A police officer, O’Hara is a would-be playwright who pesters Mortimer to read his play.
[title of show]
Music by Jeff Bowan
Book by Hunter Bell
Needed: 2M, 2W, No Ensemble
Director: Derrick A. Hopkins
Music Director: Jennifer Moore
Auditions: Saturday, January 11, 2020
WOMEN: A Way Back to Then
MEN: Part of It All
Scenes will be emailed to you at least 1-week prior to auditions
Jeff and Hunter, two struggling writers, hear about a new musical theatre festival. However, the deadline for submissions is a mere three weeks away. With nothing to lose, the pair decides to try to create something new with the help of their friends Susan, Heidi and Larry on the eighty-eights. With the cast in place, Jeff and Hunter begin a conversation about what to write about. Eventually, Jeff suggests they write about what to write about. They make a pact to write up until the festival’s deadline and dream about the show changing their lives. [title of show]—taken from the space on the festival’s application form which asks for the [title of show]—follows Hunter and Jeff and their friends on their journey through the gauntlet of creative self-expression. In the span of 90 minutes they write and perform their show at the festival and learn lessons about themselves as people, friends and artists. [title of show] is, above all, a love letter to the musical theatre—a uniquely American art form—and to the joy of collaboration.
Jeff: Jeff is the composer and lyricist of the show-within-a-show. He is a bit of a worrier and doesn’t always trust his own gift. He is a Broadway enthusiast who loves obscure musicals and proudly collects Playbills from flop shows! Baritenor role.
Hunter: Hunter writes the book for the show-within-a-show. He is the “class clown” with a heart of gold. He loves trashy reality TV and can sometimes come across as too eager to please. Think of a friendly, eager puppy! Baritenor role.
Heidi: Heidi is Jeff’s friend who must get to know Hunter and Susan. She has Broadway experience, but still wants to make it “big”. She’s a stereotypical “Broadway Baby” who grew up listening to cast recordings and has made performing her life’s work. Soprano role with belt.
Susan: Susan is Hunter’s friend who must get to know Jeff and Heidi. She is not the most confident in her singing ability, but sings just fine! She probably never envisioned herself in a Broadway musical and has appeared in shows that are more “downtown”. She has a day job that she loathes. Quirky and kooky. Mezzo role with belt.
"Our stories come from our lives and from the playwright's pen, the mind of the actor, the roles we create, the artistry of life itself..."