Adult Auditions for Nebraska Shakespeare Festival

Nebraska Shakespeare will hold auditions for the professional company of artists to perform in its 30th Anniversary Season of Shakespeare On The Green:

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and MACBETH
Residency Dates: May 23-July 10
Performance Dates: June 23 – July 10
Audition Dates (Adult): February 13, 4:00 – 9:00 PM, by appointment.

Location:  Lied Education Center for the Arts (2500 California Plz #1, Omaha, NE)

This year’s On The Green company will consist of at least 12 men, 6 women, as well as 1-2 male youth (10-16 years of age) and 1 female youth (8-14 years of age). There are Equity and non-Equity contracts available. Those interested in auditioning for Shakespeare On The Green should prepare two contrasting monologues. One comedy and one dramatic piece are preferred. Youth auditioning should prepare one Shakespearean monologue and sides will be made available. Total audition time is 3 minutes. All actors are encouraged to audition.

To schedule an audition, contact Wesley A. Houston, Director of Production at whouston@nebraskashakespeare.com

Nebraska Shakespeare’s production of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, directed by Amy Lane, will utilize traditional practices, combining Elizabethan casting practices with Commedia performance techniques. An all male cast will explore role-playing and traditional gender perception in The Taming of the Shrew.

Available Roles Include:
Baptista 50’s-70’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Father of Kate and Bianca, and a Lord in Padua. Pompous, pedantic, and fraudulent. Inept, long-winded, and ineffectual in most situations. [Likely doubles as Duncan in Macbeth]

*Katherine 30’s. Female played by a male. Any ethnicity. The “shrew” of the title. Seemingly bold, pretentious, and swaggering. Notorious for her temper and sharp tongue. Beneath it all, Katherine is a lover at heart. [Likely doubles as Malcolm in Macbeth]

Bianca Early 30’s. Female played by a male. Any ethnicity. Sister of Kate. Innocent and wholesome. Extremely egotistic and eloquent. Having a singular focus on the one she loves, she often speaks with grand declarations of love. [Likely doubles as Banquo in Macbeth]

*Petruchio 30’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Suitor of Kate. A self-appointed soldier, who is seemingly bold, pretentious, and swaggering. Loud, boisterous, and quick-witted. [Likely doubles as Macduff or Mentieth in Macbeth]

*Grumio Late 30’s/Early 40’s. Male. Any ethnicity. (Asian or African-American if doubled with Macbeth). Petruchio’s servant and the fool of the play. With Petruchio he is playful, witty, childlike, and passionate. To other servants, he is Sophisticated, but arrogant, quick-witted, and opportunistic. [Likely doubles as Macbeth in Macbeth]

Nathaniel 20’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Petruchio’s servant. Physically adept, witty, childlike, and passionate. Doubles as Vincentio and Musician in The Taming of the Shrew. [Like doubles as Lennox in Macbeth]

Curtis 20’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Petruchio’s servant. Physically adept, witty, childlike, and passionate. Doubles as Officer, Widow, and Musician in The Taming of the Shrew. [Likely doubles as Seyton or Donalbain in Macbeth]

*Gremio 50’s-60’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Gentleman of Padua. Elderly suitor of Bianca. Able-bodied/athletic. Rich, retired, and miserly. Though he is in control of the money and is quite cunning, he is often deceived and disobeyed. [Likely doubles as Hecate in Macbeth]

*Hortensio Early 30’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Gentleman of Padua. Suitor of Bianca. Pompous, pedantic, and fraudulent. Inept, long-winded, and ineffectual in most situations. [Likely doubles as Stadlin, Seyton, or Ross in Macbeth]

Lucentio Early 20’s.. Male. Any ethnicity. Young student from Pisa. Good-natured, adventurous. Extremely egotistic and eloquent. Having a singular focus on the one he loves, he often speaks with grand declarations of love. [Likely doubles as Menteith or Macduff in Macbeth]

*Tranio Late 20’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Lucentio’s servant. Physically adept, witty, childlike, and passionate. [Likely doubles as Ross, Stadlin, or Seyton in Macbeth]

Biondello 10-16. Male. Any ethnicity. Lucentio’s young servant. Simpleminded, honest, young, and personable. Loves intrigue, which usually lands him in difficult situations. [Possibly doubles as Fleance in Macbeth]

Tailor 20’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Doubles as Merchant and Musician in The Taming of the Shrew. Simpleminded, honest, young, and personable. [Likely doubles as Donalbain in Macbeth]

MACBETH, directed by Vincent Carlson-Brown, takes place in an imagined world. Where the Thanes of Scotland reside, juxtaposed, next to the ghosts of Japan. Where the tenets of tribal warfare mix with the principles of the samurai. Where the monarchy of Shakespeare’s created history mingles its tale with Eastern mysticism. Six Sisters, led by the Priestess, Hecate, will witness Macbeth’s ambitious rise and tragic fall. Each Weyward Sister will play multiple characters throughout.

Available Roles Include:
Duncan 50’s – 70’s. Male. Any ethnicity. The King of Scotland. [Likely doubles as Baptista in The Taming of the Shrew]

*Malcolm 30’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Duncan’s eldest son and Prince of Cumberland. [Likely doubles as Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew]

Donalbain 20’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Duncan’s younger son. [Likely doubles as Curtis or Tailor in Macbeth]

*Macbeth Late 30’s/Early 40’s. Male. Asian or African American. A general in Duncan’s army. Brave,powerful, and ambitious. [Likely doubles as Grumio in Shrew]

*Seyton Late 20’s/ Early 30’s. Male. Any ethnicity. A porter. [Likely doubles as Hortensio, Tranio, or Curtis in The Taming of the Shrew]

Banquo Early 30’s. Male. Any ethnicity. A Thane of Scotland. A brave and noble general. [Likley doubles as Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew]

Fleance 10-16. Male. Any ethnicity. The son of Banquo. [Possibly doubles as Biondello in Shrew]

*Macduff 30’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Thane of Fife. Hostile to Macbeth’s kingship. [Likely doubles as Petruchio or Lucentio in Shrew]

Lady Macduff 30’s-40’s. Female. Any ethnicity. Macduff’s wife. Angry and prideful.

*Ross Late 20’s/ Early 30’s. Male. Any ethnicity. A Thane of Scotland. [Likely doubles as Hortensio or Tranio in Shrew]

*Menteith 30’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Thane of Scotland. [Likely doubles as Petruchio or Lucentio in Shrew]

Lennox 20’s. Male. Any ethnicity. A Thane of Scotland. [Likely doubles as Nathaniel in The Taming of the Shrew]

*Hecate 50’s-60’s. Male. Any ethnicity. Goddess of witchcraft. Able-bodied/athletic. Participates in stage combat. Doubles as Macdonwald, Priestess, Old Man, and Doctor in Macbeth. [Likely doubles as Gremio in Shrew]

*Stadlin Late 20’s/ Early 30’s. Male. Any ethnicity. One of the Weyward Sisters. Doubles as Soldier, Norway and Thane in Macbeth. [Likely doubles as Hortensio or Tranio in The Taming of the Shrew]

Puckle 20’s-40’s. Female. Any ethnicity. One of the Weyward Sisters. Doubles as Groom, Murderer, and Soldier in Macbeth.

Hellwain 20’s-40’s. Female. Any ethnicity. One of the Weyward Sisters. Doubles as Groom, Thane, Woman, and Soldier in Macbeth.

Greymalkin 20’s-40’s. Female. Any ethnicity. Stadlin’s Genius (guardian spirit). Doubles as Captain, Murderer, and Soldier in Macbeth.

Paddock 20’s-40’s. Female. Any ethnicity. Puckle’s Genius (guardian spirit). Doubles as Soldier, Cawdor, and Thane in Macbeth.

Harpier 8-14. Female. Any ethnicity. Hellwain’s Genius (guardian spirit). Doubles as Macduff ‘s daughter in Macbeth.

The role of Lady Macbeth has been cast.

*denotes potential AEA role.

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Phenomenal “Phantom” Will Haunt Your Soul

Words nearly fail me as I attempt to describe the impressiveness of Phantom currently playing at Creighton University.  Simply put, this is the best play I have seen this season and this show will stand, at the very least, shoulder to shoulder with anything produced on the community theatre circuit this year.

Based off of Gaston Leroux’s novel, The Phantom of the Opera, this musical tells the story of a disfigured musical genius who falls in love with a farm girl (Christine Daee) now living in Paris.  So enthralled is he with her voice, that he trains her to become the leading performer at the Paris Opera House.  When Christine is sabotaged by a jealous rival and recoils from the hideous face of her anonymous mentor, the deformed man resorts to vengeance.

Though this play is a musical, do not confuse it with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s version of this tale.  This musical was written by Arthur Kopit with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston around the same time as Lloyd Webber’s take.  Once Lloyd Webber’s musical exploded onto the scene, this show lost all of its financial backing and seemed doomed never to see the light of day.  It eventually was produced in 1991 and has been steadily produced since that time.

This show takes a number of liberties with the source material, but this, in no way, weakens the power of the story.  Thanks to expert direction from Alan Klem, what we get is a show that is guaranteed to move you to the depths of your soul.

Kudos need to be given to this entire cast.  Experienced performers could take a lesson from this troupe of college students as each and every individual always plays the moment and stays involved in the action of the story.  That being said, this show also contained a number of standout performances.

Ryan Malone is exceptionally well cast as Erik, the titular Phantom.  His Phantom is far more sympathetic than ones from the novel and other versions of the tale.  Malone imbues his Erik with an almost childlike quality.  He is darkly innocent in the sense that he has known nothing, but the bowels of the Opera House and the music that has salved his soul.  But he does rule the Opera and woe to anyone who violates his rules or his desires.  Malone smoothly reveals this menace early on when he justifies his killing of an intruder into his domain with a simple, “He broke the rules.”  Malone also has mastered the fine art of body language, using it to communicate his emotions such as anguish when Christine flees from his hideous face.  Malone possesses a fine baritone voice, excelling in such numbers as “Paris is a Tomb”, “You are Music” and “You are My Own”.

Chelsey Hill is astonishingly amazing as Christine Daee.  With a crystal clear soprano voice, Ms Hill delights the crowd with such tunes as “Melodie de Paris” and “My True Love”.  Her Christine has a beautiful sweetness and innocence about her.  Ms Hill also does a tremendous job handling the conflicted feelings of love she has for both The Count de Chandon, who helps get her into the Paris Opera House and the Phantom who develops the potential of her voice.  Her reaction at seeing the unmasked Erik says more than words ever will.

Colleen Kilcoyne sparkles in a delightfully hammy performance as Carlotta, one of the new owners of the Opera House and its leading lady.  Carlotta is a diva in every sense of the word and Ms Kilcoyne plays it to the hilt, exemplified in the song “This Place is Mine”.  She rules with an iron fist and fancies herself the world’s greatest singer when, in reality, she is a loud screecher.  She is also cold blooded and callous, cruelly sabotaging Christine to retain her bought position as the ingénue of the Opera.

Patrick Kilcoyne gives a haunting performance as Gerard Carriere, the former managing director of the Opera House who is forced out by Carlotta and her husband near the start of the play.  Carriere has a mysterious connection with the Phantom whom he has tried to protect over the years.  Blessed with a powerful and rich bass voice, Kilcoyne brilliantly essays emotions such as frustration, anger, tenderness, and love.  His duet with Erik, “You Are My Own”, nearly brought me to tears.

Also good were Matt Karasek as Philippe, the Count de Chandon and Michael Conroy as Inspector Ledoux.  Karasek has a natural charm well suited to Philippe who initially appears as a gadabout, but displays genuine love for Christine.  Conroy provided some terrific comedic moments as the chief of the Parisian police force.

Bill Van Deest is to be commended for his amazing set.  Taking us from the streets of Paris to the catacombs of the Phantom, I often forgot this was not a professional production.  Stephen Sheftz and his orchestra also deserve praise for their stellar musicianship.

Phantom plays for one more weekend at Creighton University’s Lied Education Center for the Arts (Mar 27-30).  Showtimes are 7:30 pm Mar 27-29 and 2pm on Mar 30.  Tickets are $5, $15, or $18.  Reservations can be made at boxoffice.creighton.edu or at 402-280-1448.  Creighton University is located at 2500 California Plaza, Omaha, NE  68178.