On Monday June 25, WAM Theatre will hold auditions for its October World Premiere production of The Old Mezzo by Berkshire based playwright Susan Dworkin. WAM is seeking 3 women and 2 men for the production.
In keeping with WAM’s double philanthropic mission, a portion of proceeds from the production will go to an organization that benefits women and girls. The beneficiary will be announced in early summer. Ms. Dworkin is best known for her books The Viking in the Wheat Field and The Nazi Officer’s Wife as well as her play All Day Suckers. She was also a finalist for the Susan Blackburn Prize in 1980-1981 for her play Deli’s Fable. The production will be directed by WAM's artistic director, Kristen van Ginhoven. Most recently Kristen was assistant director on 42nd Street, currently playing at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada.
The Old Mezzo is a one act play concerning the political awakening of a great opera singer. Alyssa, the old mezzo, is driven by the recent death of famous conductor Pauletta Kripalova-Canti to teach a master class concerning the Politics of Singing. The class takes the form of a play within a play where we revisit important scenes from Alyssa’s past. She has assigned parts to four of her students and as the exercise unfolds, we see how Alyssa had to risk her fame and success to preserve the freedom that is so essential to the arts. By the end of the play, through a surprising connection to recent events, the importance of politics in art is revealed.
Equity and non-Equity actors are invited to audition. Equity actors will be employed under a Special Appearance Contract. All positions are paid professional contracts. No travel or housing can be provided.
Please email your headshot/resume and the character you would like to audition for to email@example.com. WAM will then contact you with an audition time and sides from the script to prepare for the audition. You can also call 518.243.9627 for more information and to book an audition. Equity/non-Equity performers without appointments will be seen as time permits.
Auditions: Monday, June 25: Noon-10pm
Location: New Stage Performing Arts Center, 55 North Street, Pittsfield, MA (Above Beacon Cinema)
Rehearsal Period: September 18-October 12
Performance Dates: October 12-28
Berkshire County Performance Venue will be announced in July.
*Those auditioning for the students must be able to sing well enough to sing a few short selections from the opera repertoire during the play. Do not need to be opera singers by any means, but must be able to act the part well.
Alyssa is the old mezzo of the title. She is an internationally acclaimed opera star from Europe. The actress must be able to play as being between 60-70 in present day. Alyssa also plays herself at the ages of 11-22 in scenes in which she goes back to her past. She still carries herself with a regal, diva air. She is someone who was raised to be an apolitical entertainer, a diva, naive and egotistical. When suddenly faced with a sophisticated terrorist regime she must make decisions that alter the course of her life. She no longer sings and when she does, for a brief moment at the end of the play, it is with a small but still operatically delivered voice. The actress playing Alyssa does not need to be a trained singer, but she should be able to carry a tune.
Sally is among the oldest of Alyssa’s students. A soprano. She is sharp, experienced and critical. The actress who plays Sally also plays Pow (Pauletta Kripalova-Canti), Alyssa’s ambitious childhood best friend and an internationally acclaimed conductor.
Joe is among Alyssa’s newest students. A tenor. He masks his insecurity with displays of power and charm. The actor who plays Joe also plays Johannes, Alyssa’s father, an aristocrat and a choir conductor of the highest esteem.
Marcy has been one of Alyssa’s students for awhile. An alto. She is enthusiastic, lighthearted and passionate about boys and music. The actress who plays Marcy also plays Marcelle, Alyssa’s mother, a peasant who has a weakness for musicians and food.
Billy has been one of Alyssa’s students for awhile. A baritone. He is relaxed, easy going, casual and endearing. The actor who plays Billy also plays Louie, a piano tuner with whom Marcelle falls in love. Louie sings a song in the play. The actor also plays Captain Billy, an American music student who is a soldier in the war, with whom Alyssa falls in love in the play. In an ideal world, the actor playing Billy has some experience playing the piano.