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Auditions for The Nance by Douglas Carter Beane


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Beatrice Herford's Vokes Theatre announces auditions for our Summer 2018 production - The Nance - directed by Donnie Baillargeon with music direction by Don Boronson and choreography by Jennifer Condon.

This contemporary Tony Award-winning dramatic comedy with music reveals the trials and tribulations of a small New York City burlesque stage company as the city’s decency laws are pressed to full effect, pending the arrival of the 1939 World’s Fair.

It’s 1937 New York. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia is looking to clean up the city before the World’s Fair arrives, and his biggest target is burlesque. Enter Chauncey Miles and the other stars of the Irving Place Theatre, who find themselves in danger of losing their jobs. Chauncey is a celebrated “nance” performer (a stereotypical gay character in burlesque); but unlike other “nances,” Chauncey is also gay offstage. When he falls in love with a young drifter named Ned, his carefully constructed world begins to crumble. Douglas Carter Beane’s moving, comic drama follows Chauncey as he struggles to live as a gay man in a dangerous time, while surviving with a stage company whose artform is destined for extinction. The Nance is a unique play that juxtaposes kitchen sink drama with colorful fun and hilarious burlesque sketches. The show features several original songs (though it is not a traditional book musical), and moves seamlessly from the burlesque theater to various city settings. This is a distinctive play set in the musical world of the burlesque stage, crammed with emotion from beginning to end – a tour-de-force for any actor/singer in every role.

Chauncey – 40s-60s. The Nance – an actor who plays the high-camp nance character in vaudeville/burlesque comedy routines. (A part of the “pansy craze,” the nance was to vaudeville as black-face was to minstrel shows.) A kind, intelligent, educated, sensitive and wonderfully witty man. He also exposes himself as lonely and very needy, full of self-doubt and loathing, and quite conflicted about the unorthodox thrills of his rather dangerous life. With his self-loathing and self-destructive politics, Chauncey is a comic genius onstage but a troubled soul offstage. While his timing is spot-on and his word-play effortless, he just can’t seem to get out of his own way. This role requires an experienced actor who can sing.

Ned – 20s-late 30s. Attractive and not terribly sophisticated. A country boy in the city. Earnest, with a great work ethic. Emotionally open and vulnerable despite his physical strength. May appear slightly dim, but is very smart. As a performer in sketches, he must have natural flair for burlesque comedy as both comic and straight man. Nudity may be required.

Efram – Mid to late 50s. A performer and business manager of the “artistic side” of the Irving Place Theater. A Damon Runyon quality to his speech. A natural worrier and fretter. A tough exterior, but a good heart. On stage, must be able to handle “Top Banana” style burlesque comedy.

Sylvie – Late 30s to late 50s. A burlesque stripper. A Catholic Communist from the outer boroughs of New York who has not had an easy life. Tough as nails with a real no-nonsense vocal quality. Underneath it all, there is a heart of gold. She’s strong, a presence, can hold her own in an argument. Must be comfortable moving and wearing very little clothing for striptease sequences. Some singing and dancing involved.

Carmen – Mid 30s to late 40s. A burlesque stripper who specializes in playing with an exaggerated Latin American accent that she can turn on and shut off as the situation (in life or in a sketch) requires. She has a big heart but has not had an easy life. Must be comfortable moving and wearing very little clothing for striptease sequences. Some singing and dancing involved.

Joan – Late 20s to late 30s. A burlesque stripper with a wonderfully innocent Gracie Allen-Jean Arthur quality that makes her a natural for sketches. With no agenda, she sort of takes things as they come. Must be comfortable moving and wearing very little clothing for striptease sequences. Some singing and dancing involved.

Rose – Any age. A backstage dresser. (Non-speaking role.)

Charlie – Any age. A stagehand. (Non-speaking role.)

Note: Age is relative. Character descriptions list chronological ages. The director is looking for actors who can play those ages.

Auditions will be held on Sunday, May 13, from 6-10pm & Monday, May 14, from 7-10pm at Beatrice Herford’s Vokes Theatre, Route 20 (97 Boston Post Road), Wayland, MA. The Nance is a play with some music and dance. The initial audition will be comprised exclusively of readings from the script.

Use SignUpGenius to schedule an appointment. www.SignUpGenius.com/go/20F0A4CA9A923A0FF2-auditions1

THE CALLBACKS: Callbacks will be held on either Tuesday, May 15 or Wednesday, May 16 at 7:00pm.

Rehearsals will begin immediately. Expect three-four rehearsals per week.

Performance dates are 8pm on Thursdays-Fridays-Saturdays, July 19 – August 4, 2018, with 2pm matinees on Saturday, July 28 and August 4.

Visit http://www.vokesplayers.org for more information.
If you have questions, please email: dkbaillar@gmail.com

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