Open Auditions for the Musical “Animal Crackers”

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Auditions for the Garfield Center for the Arts’ production of the musical comedy Animal Crackers will be held at the Garfield on June 26th at 7pm, June 28th at 7pm and June 30th at 11am. No previous acting experience is required. This musical marks Jennifer Kafka Smith’s directing debut at the Garfield, after being seen on stage in many productions including My Fair Lady, Short Attention Span Theatre, and Sylvia. Kafka Smith has also served as the props mistress for nearly every Garfield Center production since the spring of 2016.

In Animal Crackers, the well-known explorer and hunter Captain Spaulding has just returned from Africa, and is being welcomed home with a lavish party at the estate of influential society matron Mrs. Rittenhouse when a valuable painting goes missing. The intrepid Captain Spaulding attempts to solve the crime with the help of his silly secretary Horatio Jamison, while sparring with the anarchic Signor Emanuel Ravelli and his nutty sidekick The Professor.

“Delicious… A nonstop riot – a profusion of puns, gags, and hysteria with only an occasional pause (or maybe, gasp) for breath.” – The Washington Tribune

– Prepare an up-tempo song either from a Broadway musical or from the era of the 1920/30s. Please bring sheet music. We need to hear you sing with piano accompaniment.
– Come prepared to move. Please wear closed shoes and clothing appropriate for dancing.

Director Kafka Smith is seeking a cast of 14, with some extras. Age is not a key factor. The cast includes:

Captain Jeffrey T. Spaulding (Groucho) – He is funny and fierce, with incredible verbal dexterity. He’s the anchor of the team; a charming wiseguy. A strong character actor, must be extremely comfortable with physical comedy and be able to sing and dance. This does not require a Groucho impersonation, but certain characteristics of voice, movement, and delivery are part of the role. Tenor.

Horatius Jamison (Zeppo) – The straight man to Groucho’s antics. Tenor.

Emanuel Ravelli (Chico) – Ravelli is a band leader; the musical actor in the ensemble. Ideally seeking an actor who plays the piano and/or other instruments. A loose cannon with great improv sensibility. A character singer. Must be able to speak with old world Italian accent. Baritone.

The Professor (Harpo) – Has an uninhibited, playful, childlike demeanor with an irrepressible libido, seems oblivious but knows what is going on around him, carefree and innocent he does not observe boundaries of class, status, gender, age, and property, steals things but it seems like more of a game than a malicious or desperate act, must be extremely adept at physical comedy, while an exact impersonation of Harpo is not necessary certain characteristics of movement and delivery are a part of the role, experience with mime/clowning a plus. (Male/Female).

Mrs. Rittenhouse – The host of the party, a wealthy society matron who is always put together, a real dame, money is no object, preserving and asserting her status is an ongoing occupation; must have strong dance/movement ability and be adept at physical comedy; strong vocal skills, able to sing in the 30s style; Mezzo-Soprano.

Hives – Head Butler of Mrs. Rittenhouse. Hives is extremely witty and great with status. Verging on stuffy. Very Jeeves-like the servant who can insult you to your face, but you take it as a compliment. Baritone.

M. Doucet – Doucet is an art-loving Frenchman/woman, cultured and dripping with arrogance, a bit of a drama queen. Tenor/Soprano. (Male/Female)

Arabella Rittenhouse – Arabella is Mrs. Rittenhouse’s daughter, an educated debutant who has been out in society for two months, smart as a whip and knows what she wants, she and Wally Winston make a sophisticated and erudite couple. Soprano.

Mrs. Whitehead – Mrs. Whitehead is a neighbor and rival of Mrs. Rittenhouse, a conniving socialite trying to thwart Mrs. Rittenhouse’s success, she’s sharp, smart, sarcastic and clever, lacks ethics and morals. Soprano.

Grace Carpenter – Grace is Mrs. Whitehead’s sister and partner in crime, sexy and worldly-wise. Soprano.

Wally Winston – Wally Winston is a hard-working newspaper columnist, sexy, sarcastic and full of charm, an intellectual with a great love of life. Tenor.

John Parker – John Parker is an earnest young lover. A traditional leading man interested in Mary Stewart. Tenor.

Mary Stewart – Mary Stewart is the earnest ingénue, has a big heart and believes in a brighter future. Soprano.

Roscoe W. Chandler – Roscoe W. Chandler is a wealthy, single tycoon, has millions, supports the arts and wants to marry Mrs. Rittenhouse; must be able to do some physical comedy and have strong movement skills. Baritone.

Other roles include: Sgt. Hennessy, Second Policeman, Dream Dancer, Scouts, Harem Girls, Ensemble

All parts will sing and dance (move).

Performances of Animal Crackers are scheduled for three weekends: September 14-16, September 21-23, and September 28-30, Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM, and Sundays at 3PM.

For more information visit garfieldcenter.org or call the GCA Box Office at 410-810-2060. The Garfield Center for the Arts is located at 210 High Street in Chestertown, Maryland.

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