Auditions for Sight Unseen and A Lie of the Mind will be held Saturday, April 5, 2014 from 1-3 pm. Those auditioning for Caroline, or Change will audition from 3-6pm. Auditions are by appointment only and will be held at the November Theatre at 114 W Broad St., Richmond, VA 23220
Those auditioning for Sight Unseen and A Lie of the Mind are asked to prepare dramatic monologue that does not exceed one minute.
Those auditioning for Caroline, or Change are asked to prepare 32 bars of a musical theatre song. An accompanist will be provided.
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to request an audition date and time. Please specify whether you are interested in the plays or musical. Those wishing to audition for both the plays and musical will need two appointments. No telephone calls, please. Emails will be returned within 24 hours.
All performers will be paid.
Richmond theatre should be proud. Here, as in all great American theatre cities, most of the acting, directing, design and stage management positions are filled by local professionals who often stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the greatest theatre artists in our nation. Despite the mid-size of our metro area, we’re no longer a city that defines excellence as what’s brought in from out-of-town.
At Virginia Rep, we fill approximately 80% of our theatre artist positions with Virginia professionals, and, when the right person cannot be found locally, 20% with theatre artists who work nationally from a base in a major market. In recent years I’ve had the opportunity to work with a significant number of “New York” actors. As anyone with any sense will tell you, actors who work out of New York are basically no different from any other actor. After all, 95% of them originally came from somewhere else.
But they do have a perspective that’s unique. Most of them have a wealth of experience in professional theatres large and small throughout not only the Big Apple but also the nation. All of them whom I’ve met, without exception, have come to Virginia and quickly commented on what a great theatre community they find here.
Locally, you hear theatre artists grouse about this shortcoming or that disappointment with regard to theatre opportunities, practices, and/or professional standards in Central Virginia. This constant desire for improvement is the nature of the beast, and it’s a good thing. Artists in general are designed to challenge, refusing to settle for the status quo. I like to think I’m that way myself.
But it feels good when the actors from New York consistently are startled by the quality of what they find here, not just at Virginia Rep but at theatres around town. Ultimately, it makes you ask yourself the question. What is it that has transformed our home city into one of the most successful mid-sized theatre cities in the nation?
It’s not public funding. The Commonwealth of Virginia, the City of Richmond and the surrounding counties all fall near the bottom of the lists that chronicle state and municipal financial support for the arts. Many people are working hard to change that obstacle to sustainability of our cultural organizations. Thankfully, we have several significant private funders of nonprofit professional theatre, and their ranks are growing. But public funding here is well below what many other communities have found to be sound business practice.
I think the major causal factors contributing to Richmond’s success as a theatre city include our history, the commitment of and job opportunities provided by individual nonprofit theatres and theatre leaders, Central Virginia’s thriving advertising and film communities, and VCU.
U of R, Virginia Union, Randolph Macon, W & M, Longwood, UVA and other institutes of higher learning within an hour’s drive of our fair capital have certainly done their bit to fill the ranks of outstanding theatre artists currently working in metro Richmond’s professional theatres. But the impact of VCU’s theatre faculty and alum almost certainly exceeds the impact of these other universities by a multiple of ten.
TheatreVCU is a major contributor not only to professional theatre in Central Virginia but also across the nation. With a faculty including acclaimed talents like David Leong, Aaron Anderson, Noreen Barnes, Bonnie McCoy, Michelle Anderson, Barry Bell, Brian Barker, Bonnie Brady, Wesley Broulik, Glynn Brannan, Maura Cravey, Patti D’Beck, Christian DeAngelis, Toni-Leslie James, Ron Keller, Shaun McCracken, Kevin McGranahan, Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, Neno Russell, Susan Schuld, David Emerson Toney and Al Williamson, VCU offers BA/BFA degrees in Performance, Scenic Design/Tech, Costume Design/Tech, Lighting Design/Tech and Stage Management, and MFAs in Theatre Pedagogy and Design/Tech.
For well over a decade, Virginia Rep has been proud to partner with VCU in multiple areas. Faculty members Kenneth Campbell, Patti D’Beck, Gary Hopper and Tawnya Pettiford-Wates have directed for our Signature Season, while Brian Barker, Maura Cravey, Liz Hopper, Ron Keller, Robert Perry and Lou Szari have designed for our various stages. Grad and undergrad student designers have created the sets for dozens of our shows over the years. And rare is the Virginia Rep production that doesn’t feature the talents of at least one VCU actor, stage manager or technician.
As Virginia Rep continues to grow toward our goal of becoming a regional theatre of national standing, we look forward to increasing our professional partnership with the exceptional theatre program at VCU.
Story by P.D. Eastman
Adapted by Allison Gregory and Stephen Dietz
Music by Michael Koerner
Direction by Sarah Roquemore
Please e-mail email@example.com request an audition date and time.
Auditions will be held Sunday, March 30 6:00-9:00 p.m. Auditions are by appointment only and will be held at Virginia Rep’s Willow Lawn location, 1601 Willow Lawn Dr., Richmond, VA 23230.
Rehearsals will begin on or around: June 16, 2014
Performance Dates: July 11 – August 3, 2014 (Detailed performance schedule available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org)
Go, Dog. Go! is a high-energy, imaginative, ensemble-based play with music. The script’s only words come from P.D. Eastman’s simple early-reader book, so the bulk of the play’s action occurs in silence or to music, nodding to silent film, slapstick comedy and circus performance as actors bring images from the pages of the book to vibrant life onstage.
Those auditioning are asked to prepare a short (1-2 minutes) dramatic reading of a children’s book, poem, or nursery rhyme and 16 bars of a song. Please bring sheet music in the appropriate key. An accompanist will be provided.
All performers will be paid. Non-union only.
Seeking strong ensemble actors with experience in physical comedy, pantomime, clowning, or improv to play the following roles:
MC DOG/LATECOMER: male, the play’s unwitting protagonist, strong physical/comedic actor.
RED DOG: male or female, strong physical/comedic actor
BLUE DOG: male or female, strong physical/comedic actor
YELLOW DOG: male or female, strong physical/comedic actor
GREEN DOG: male or female, strong physical/comedic actor
HATTIE/SPOTTED DOG: female, jazz singer, looks fabulous in all matter of hats.
Those of us who’ve been around for a while well remember the great Dougee Zeno belting out from behind her baby grand Cole Porter’s titillating torch song, Love for Sale, during both the 1977 World Premiere of Red Hot and Cole at Hanover Tavern and the subsequent 1987 revival at our historic November Theatre (known then as the Empire).
Those with memories even sharper may recall the legendary, Tony-nominated chanteuse Elisabeth Welch plaintively warbling that same tune from that same November/Empire stage during her 1990 cabaret performance that reopened the theatre following Phase I of our restoration. Lest we forget, it was the late, great Ms. Welch who created quite the scandal when she first introduced Love for Sale to Broadway audiences in Cole Porter’s 1930-31 production of The New Yorkers. Thereafter it become one of her three signature songs.
Well … this blog post has nothing to do with any of those fond and precious memories.
This blog post intends to send a little Richmond love to Jonathan Sale, a young actor who began his career here at Virginia Rep and is now knocking ‘em dead eight shows a week appearing opposite Broadway icon Carol Lawrence (the original Maria in West Side Story) in the smash Off Broadway comedy hit, Handle with Care, written by UVA Drama Dept. alum (and Emmy nominee) Jason Odell Williams.
Jonathan ably co-starred in Virginia Rep’s productions of Stand Up Tragedy and Marvin’s Room (both performed in our Theatre Gym) and Romeo and Juliet (staged in the historic November). In the Stand Up photo below, Jonathan is the dashing young man seated second from the right, with one forearm resting on his knee. Others in that photo include (standing left to right) cast members Rick Brandt, Richard Travis, Rusty Wilson, the late Tye Heckman, sound designer John Anderson, stage manager ?, and director John Moon, and (seated left to right) cast members ?, ?, Ben Hersey, Jonathan Sale, and ?.
Two free tickets to the Virginia Rep show of your choice (and my heartfelt appreciation) to anyone who can fill in any of the question marks.
Those of you who weren’t here for those shows from the mid-90s may know Jonathan’s work nonetheless. After graduating from the University of Richmond with a double major in theatre and Spanish, Jonathan headed to San Francisco where he earned his MFA in Acting from the prestigious professional theatre grad program at American Conservatory Theatre. He moved to NYC, married his beautiful wife, actress Heather Dilly, in 2003, and for the last decade has been building an impressive career Off Broadway and in television and film, finding work as both an actor and director.
You can watch several great clips from Jonathan’s reel, including a classic Holiday Inn Express commercial in which he demonstrates the rap skills he first honed portraying an NYC street kid in Stand Up Tragedy, an Arby’s commercial with a non-speaking Jim Parsons, and a Law and Order episode with none other than our recent Atticus Finch, Adrian Rieder.
I caught up with Jonathan recently to ask what it felt like to be starring in an Off Broadway hit opposite one of the legendary actresses of American theatre. Here’s what he had to say:
“The Handle with Care experience has been fantastic. It was actually my first audition after the birth of my son, Grayson, and it took a year and a half of readings, travel and fundraising for the show finally to come to fruition. Grayson is 20 months old now and I’ve been doing Handle with Care in one form or another for basically his entire life!
I saw that the casting notice called for someone over 6 feet tall to play opposite our statuesque leading lady, Charlotte Cohn, and that the play takes place in Goodview, Virginia. I noted that they needed someone who could do both comedy and drama and I felt like the role was meant for me. So I pursued it pretty hard and was lucky enough to land it.
Carol Lawrence is a phenomenon. She’s 82 years old, but she has the energy of a 22 year old. She bounces and hops and taps and sings her way through rehearsals and performances. She is like a fish in water on the stage as well as in interviews and press events. She’s also an amazing chef and often starts sentences with phrases like, “Oh, when I knew Dean…” and “Elvis was a sweet boy,” referring to guys like Dean Martin and Elvis Presley by their first names without even thinking about it. Not name dropping, just sharing a life story like you or I would talk about Ford or Gordon.
My time with Virginia Rep was so formative, so important to my path as an actor. Those productions hold up very, very well compared to many of the New York and regional productions I’ve done since. The talent, the professionalism, the production values were all top notch. The Romeo and Juliet I did with you guys is still the most handsomely produced R & J I’ve been in, and I’ve done that show four times! Marvin’s Room and Stand Up Tragedy might be two of the top six or seven shows I’ve ever done. So good. I remember looking up to folks like Irene Ziegler and Dawn Westbrook and John Moon so much. And I still run into guys like Ben Hersey and Duke Lafoon at commercial auditions all the time. Small world.”
Then and now, Jonathan was and is a great guy. We miss him. And we’re especially proud of and happy for his success. Hopefully, we’ll be able to lure him back to one of our Virginia stages sometime in the near future.
If you’d like to know more about Jonathan, you can visit him on his website: www.JonathanSale.tv. Or if you’re in NYC between now and his show’s closing on March 9, drop by to see him in Handle with Care. And take him a little love from Virginia.