Auditions for South Pacific

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DIRECTION BY CHASE KNIFFEN
MUSIC DIRECTION BY SANDY DACUS
CHOREOGRAPHY BY BRAD WILLCUTS

 

Illustration by Robert Meganck for Virginia Rep
Illustration by Robert Meganck for Virginia Rep

Auditions for South Pacific will be held on Saturday, March 21, 2015 from 1:00 – 6:00 pm.

Auditions are by appointment only and will be held at Virginia Rep’s November Theatre, 114 W Broad St., Richmond, VA 23220.

Please e-mail casting@virginiarep.org to sign up for an appointment.

 

 

Prepare 16 bars of a classic music theatre song.  Please bring sheet music in your key and be prepared to move.  An accompanist will be provided.

 

Please direct questions to casting@virginiarep.org

 

All performers will be paid.  UNION AND NON-UNION.

 

 

Casting the following roles:

**The roles of Nellie Forbush and Emile de Becque are CAST**

 

LIEUTENANT JOSEPH CABLE, U.S.M.C.: Male; Caucasian; 18-30; a young, formal and good-looking officer who falls in love with Liat; must be masculine with a good physique and believable as a member of the Army; soaring Tenor (E3 to G4);

 

BLOODY MARY: Female; Tonkinese; 35-55; a shrewd souvenir dealer who is also trying to find her daughter a rich husband; brassy; must have great subtle comic timing; strong mezzo

 

LUTHER BILLIS: Male; Caucasian; 30-45; a schlubby, mediocre entrepreneur; friend to all and a man with a lust for the ladies; must be funny, masculine and believable as a member of the army; strong baritone

 

CAPTAIN GEORGE BRACKETT, U.S.N.: Male; Caucasian; 40-60; a pompous yet competent officer who hides a heart of gold; strong actor

 

COMMANDER HARBISON, U.S.N.: Male; Caucasian; 35-50; Officious Navy man; Brackett’s second-in-command and right hand man; strong actor

 

LIAT: Female; Tonkinese; 18-25; heartbreakingly delicate, beautiful and the picture of purity; must move well; does not sing

 

STEWPOT: Male; Caucasian; 25-35; a funny, schlubby character man with a strong tenor singing voice (up to high A); one of the sailors and Luther Billis’ cohorts

 

PROFESSOR: Male; Caucasian; 25-35; a funny character man of the studious type; strong singer; one of the Sailors and Luther Billis’ cohorts.

 
ENSEMBLE:  Male and female, ages 18-50 of all ethnicities; Strong singers who move well.

“Im sure it won’t be the last….”

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By Bruce Miller
Artistic Director

It’s come to my attention that I offended some of my theatre colleagues this past weekend in a quote that was attributed to me in our season announcement. I appreciate the fact that a colleague at another theatre in town expressed disappointment in my comment. I’d much rather know that I’ve offended friends and colleagues than not know. It was certainly not my intention. This is not the first time something I’ve written or said caused offense, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Nonetheless, I’m sorry.

In yesterday’s season announcement, I was quoted as saying:

“ ‘We try to do the great American musicals on a regular basis, because we’re the only theater that has the resources to do full productions of major musicals,’ said Bruce Miller, Virginia Rep artistic director.

‘If we were not doing them, then theater artists in Richmond wouldn’t have the chance to participate in those shows. We are excited about doing two big musicals every year, and I think Gypsy and Dreamgirls will both help to expand our audience and really celebrate what is a uniquely American art form, the Broadway musical,’ Miller said.”

I understand how and why this comment, as quoted, might offend some of my Richmond theatre colleagues who mount their own highly acclaimed productions of “great American musicals” and “major musicals.” I don’t think it is an accurate quote, but then again, I can’t be sure. But ask anyone who does phone interviews, and I think you’ll hear over and over again that the abbreviated quote that appears in the paper due to space constraints can’t fully reflect the sentiments expressed in the interview.

Without intending to cast any doubts on the reporter’s veracity, here’s what I meant to say, and roughly what I think I said. Those of you who know me have heard me say this many times. It’s what I believe.

Question: I note that in addition to plays you’re doing two big musicals, and that you seem to do this year after year. Why?

Answer: We believe it’s part of our responsibility to produce the great American musicals. We know that for a large percentage of the Richmond theatre-going audience, big, splashy, fully produced musicals are what theatre is all about. It’s what they want to see. We want these Richmond theatregoers to know that they can have that Broadway experience at “locally produced” theatres, right here in Richmond. We don’t want to cede the responsibility of producing those shows to the touring companies that originate elsewhere and come to town only for short runs in rented houses.   With our Broadway-style theatre and relatively large budget, we’re the only theatre in town that has the resources to do full-blown, Broadway-sized productions of major musicals. So, for the Richmond audience, we try to do them on a regular basis. And we think the theatre artists who work with us also appreciate the opportunities we provide. Where else will they have the chance to design a set with a $30,000 budget, or act on stage with a Tony-nominated star?

It was not my intention to say or imply that the Mill’s production of Drowsy Chaperone, or Triangle’s productions of Cabaret or La Cage, or the Firehouse’s production of Hair were in any way less worthy or enjoyable or acclaimed.  I was not intending to comment on those shows at all. I was intending to brag on Virginia Rep, to be sure. I’m proud of our big splashy musicals.

Richmond Triangle Players says “If we didn’t do it, who would?” Swift Creek Theatre is “The People’s Playhouse for Over 45 Years.” The Firehouse Theatre is “Off Broadway, On Broad Street.”

We don’t say it in a tag line, but one of the things that makes Virginia Rep unique is that we produce full-out Broadway-style productions (comparatively) of major American musicals in a Broadway-style theatre.

All of us are asked to define what makes each of our theatres unique. All of us do the best we can to do so accurately without intending to imply that no other theatre does gay themed plays, no other theatre is appreciated by or devoted to people, no other theatre does Off Broadway plays on Broad Street, or no other theatre produces high quality, acclaimed productions of major Broadway musicals.

Again, I apologize to my friends for any misunderstanding. I am very supportive of my colleague theatres.   I never intended to disparage any of them in any way.

The Whipping Man – Review from the 4th Wall Student Leadership Program

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By Elaina Riddell
A senior at Center for the Arts at Henrico High School
Member of the 4th Wall Student Leadership Program

If the invitational dress rehearsal is any reflection of The Whipping Man’s run, Virginia Repertory Theater is going to rack up another phenomenal show. Matthew Lopez wrote this Richmond-based story of survival and adaptation, focusing on Officer Caleb DeLeon and two former house slaves, Simon and John. The conclusion of the Civil War leaves many people dead, many questions unanswered, and many homes empty – much to thieving John’s pleasure. Due to their own reasons, the three men remain in the haunting ruins of the DeLeon home and attempt to fashion a life out of the abandoned rubble while waiting for answers. Simon awaits his now freed family, Caleb looks forward to reuniting with his family and beginning a life after the war, and John is taking advantage of what he can in order to pave a golden road to the top.

The Whipping Man. Photo by Aaron Sutten.
The Whipping Man. Max Eddy as Caleb, Jerold Solomon as Simon, Taamu Wuya as John. Photo by Aaron Sutten.

It is often hard to distinguish what the playwright provided and choices made by the artistic team, but this combination of the two creates a fleshed-out, emotional, and thought-provoking production. The overall rhythm of this show mirrors general patterns in war itself; rapid explosions of life-changing information, calmer absorptions of loss and what is in front of the characters, and sometimes feeble attempts at rebuilding. The main theme of The Whipping Man is reconstruction, echoing the aftermath of the war itself. John’s eclectic decorations gradually cluttering the first room of the DeLeon home as well as Simon’s maintenance mirror this theme while restructuring the lives of all three men. There is also a major struggle for power between the three characters – Simon feels wiser from his many years, Caleb feels entitled from his previous ownership, and John feels he is owed compensation for what he has endured. These conflicting senses of leadership create a mess of the relationships already on edge.

Although the overall subject of The Whipping Man follows slavery and racism, the respectively somber tone is often interrupted with bursts of humor. The lighthearted jabs between characters and situational ironies help balance the heavier dialogue and altercations. Not only does this add to the realism of the entire piece, but it also humanizes the characters themselves – especially John. While I have not had the pleasure of seeing these three very talented actors in any other role, their dedication to their characters was evident. Taamu Wuya (John) seamlessly altered his gait and demeanor depending on his character’s emotions and standing in the power struggle. Max Eddy (Caleb) was confined to a chaise for a portion of the play, yet he never fell flat or seemed to be a “talking head.” Also, his portrayal of pain was believable and mostly constant, yet never upstaging his co-stars. Jerold Soloman (Simon) perfectly captured an older, wise man reinvented with new hope. The complexities of his character were evident through his language, stance, and stage business – from the gentle soothing of Caleb to the deliberate and forceful placing of chairs after an argument. These men had a deep communion on stage, seemingly life-long. This feat often left me having to remind myself that these men are actors and they were not really guilty of the secrets they divulged.

Whipping Man
Max Eddy as Caleb. Set designed by Kat Conley. Photo by Aaron Sutten.

There were so many minute details that were given focus in the costuming and setting. I was immediately blown away by the two-story, historic house occupying the stage. There were no sharp edges; walls faded into the blackness of backstage, almost like a ripped piece of paper, which also ran up to a few pieces where a ceiling would be. The opened view of the house reduced the distance between the play and the audience and allowed for a more intimate experience, despite the distance from the seats to the stage. Also, the changes in lighting to represent time and emotions were subtle enough to accentuate the atmosphere without looking fake or forced. This production was fairly constant in quality, from detailed props to dynamic costumes to genuine dialogue, and I was only left wanting a different sound cue for one scene change. Most of the songs used to occupy the time between scenes were older, soulful pieces presumably rooted in the Civil War era. These tracks were not only appropriate to the time and topic, but also interested me and those around me. Unfortunately, there was one song that seemed out of place; it was more modern and didn’t entirely fit in with the play, although it didn’t really subtract from its overall brilliance. Not only did it entertain and compel me during the performance, but I have noticed myself thinking back to specific scenes in the days since. I found The Whipping Man to be well thought out and beautifully executed – a recommendable solution to an empty evening in Richmond.

 

More about the 4th Wall

Acts of Faith: Partnerships build strong community

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Bruce Miller
Bruce Miller

 

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about partnerships. Webster defines partnership as “a state of being in which persons or entities participate in a venture with other persons or entities, sharing authority, risks, profit and responsibilities.”

As a nonprofit leader for the past 40 years, I’ve seen the popularity of partnerships grow exponentially as more donors encourage or require those who come looking for support to put aside the self-interests of solitary organizations and engage in the often difficult work of building partnerships with like-minded charities.

What started out 30-plus years ago as “OK, if I have to” has become my preferred way of doing business. Why? Because partnerships work. When we combine forces, skill sets, dreams and ideologies, we wind up with something far greater than the sum of parts. We wind up with a new product informed by combined wisdom and diverse experience, strengthened by efficiency, tempered by compromise and secured by a foundation built upon common ground.

My most memorable partnership began in 1982 when I was approached by Ann Childress, a child protective service worker from the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS), asking if we (Theatre IV) would consider creating the world’s first play to discuss directly with students K-5 the issues of child sexual abuse prevention. While seeking funding to present 30 free performances in Virginia schools, a donor strongly suggested that we partner with Prevent Child Abuse Virginia (PCAV) in our efforts. I grudgingly agreed. Now, almost 32 years after the play, “Hugs and Kisses,” opened in 1983, I know that the partnership we’ve maintained over decades with PCAV and the VDSS has been by far the greatest contributing factor to the play’s success. After over 5,000 performances before 1.7 million Virginia students, more than 16,000 children have received the help they needed to address their sexual abuse concerns because they saw a performance of “Hugs and Kisses.”

In this year’s Acts of Faith Festival — itself a successful partnership convened by Second Presbyterian Church and involving 11 sponsoring faith communities and 11 nonprofit theaters — I selected a show that reflects how community partnership strengthens the work that we do at the theater.

The Whipping Man. Photo by Aaron Sutten.
The Whipping Man. Photo by Aaron Sutten.

“The Whipping Man,” produced by Virginia Rep in partnership with the American Civil War Museum, the Black History Museum and Cultural Center and the Weinstein Jewish Community Center, tells the story of three men who came together in Richmond during the tumultuous 13-day period in April 1865 that began with the Evacuation Fire that destroyed our city, included General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox and ended with President Lincoln’s assassination. In the ashes of a war-ravaged city, these men (two freed slaves and a seriously wounded Confederate soldier) return to the only home they’ve ever known, seeking the common ground that will define and enable their future. The three community partners have provided insight, historical context and community building that strengthen the work we do on stage and help us commemorate one of the most important times in the history of our city and our nation.

After a recent presentation I gave at a local church to encourage consideration of a future partnership with Acts of Faith, a clearly frustrated church member approached me as the Wednesday Night Supper drew to a close. A year ago she had attended an Acts of Faith play at another theater (not Virginia Rep) and had been highly offended by the profanity and sexual content she felt had been forced upon her. She approached me “loaded for bear,” and let me have it in no uncertain terms.

In her mind, her disagreement with the content of the play made partnership impossible. In my mind, disagreement like hers makes partnership essential.

At its heart, partnership is not about finding common ground with people and/or organizations that already share our beliefs, attitudes and proclivities. Partnership is about finding a way to move forward jointly when there are so many forces in play that tend to pull us apart. The beauty of Richmond’s Acts of Faith Festival is that it encourages conversations and talkbacks associated with each production, assuming not that we will all respond in the same way to each show, but that we all will benefit from hearing the diversity of responses pro and con.

Watching a final rehearsal of “The Whipping Man,” I am struck by the overwhelming challenges faced by Richmonders and all U.S. citizens as they cautiously emerged from the crucible of April 1865, victorious and defeated, hopeful and battle-scarred beyond repair. I am struck by the differences and similarities between the challenges faced in those times and the challenges we face today.

Through partnership, through discussion, through the blessings of shared wisdom and compromise, may we all experience the acts of faith that will inform, enable and ultimately enhance our inseparable futures.