Garfield Center Announces Open Auditions for Inherit the Wind

The Garfield Center for the Arts at the Prince Theatre will hold open auditions for it’s Fall production, Inherit the Wind, by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, on August 12th and 14th at 6:30 pm and August 16th at 10:30 am. Director Tess Hogans seeks to cast 21 actors of all ages for this riveting courtroom drama based on the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial.

Inherit the Wind debuted on Broadway in 1955 resulting in a 2 ½ year run. Intended as a critique of McCarthyism, the play is a fictionalized account of the trial that resulted in John T. Scopes‘s conviction for teaching Charles Darwin‘s theory of evolution to a high school science class, contrary to Tennessee state law. The characters of Matthew Harrison Brady, Henry Drummond, Bertram Cates and E. K. Hornbeck correspond to the historical figures of William Jennings Bryan, Clarence Darrow, Scopes, and H. L. Mencken, respectively. According to author Jerome Lawrence, the play was meant to defend intellectual freedom: “We used the teaching of evolution as a parable, a metaphor for any kind of mind control. It’s not about science versus religion. It’s about the right to think.” The contemporary resonance of the play has led to numerous revivals and adaptations over the years making it one of the most-produced plays in American theatre.

Cast requirements include children ages 8-12, male and female young adults (teens-20s), and a number of adults from 20s-70s. Rehearsals will begin in September with performance dates scheduled for October 17th -19th and 24th-26th.

In addition to directing Hey, Wait a Minute for GCA’s Short Attention Span Theatre in 2013, Tess Hogans played 2 roles in this year’s Short Attention Span show and recently led the Garfield’s first Playmakers after-school acting workshop. She’s a graduate of Wheaton College in Massachusetts where she majored in Theatre and Dance Studies and was the recipient of the college’s 2010 award for ‘Excellence in Acting.’ She is a drama teacher for grades 6-12 at The Maven Academy in Annapolis.

Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee wrote 39 plays together including Auntie Mame (1956) and Mame (1966) (the musical version of Auntie Mame), The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail (1970), and First Monday in October (1975). Their plays have been hailed as contemporary classics and been translated and performed in over thirty languages. Many of their works have received critical acclaim and been honored with numerous awards.

Though many of the characters in the play are based on male figures, Hogans aims to cast the strongest actors for each role regardless of gender. Previous experience is not required; only an enthusiasm for theatre and a willingness to collaborate in bringing this American classic to life are needed. Auditions will take place at the Garfield Center and consist of readings from the play. Scripts and audition sides can be obtained at the Garfield Center box office located at 210 High Street in Chestertown or by emailing info@garfieldcenter.org.

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