Calling all aspiring actors, dancers and singers: The departments of music and theater & dance will be holding open auditions for the production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!.
Auditions will be held at the University Club from Friday to Sunday, with callbacks scheduled on Sunday afternoon. To schedule an audition, call 752-0888 during regular business hours.
“All roles are open,“ said Mindy Cooper, Granada artist-in-residence who is directing and coordinating the production.
Along with main roles, Cooper and her production team are looking to cast an ensemble of actors and dancers with some singing ability.
“The cast of this show is incredibly varied, in types and age range … I wanted to cast the widest net possible to find people best suited for these roles,“ she said in an e-mail interview.
In addition to casting a wide range of roles, the open auditions help discover talented individuals who may not be involved in dramatic arts groups. Music professor Kern Holoman, who held similar open auditions for the production of H.M.S. Pinafore in 2003, sees public casting calls as an opportunity to find talent.
“The question is – is there somebody out there who you’ve overlooked?” Holoman said. “That’s what the point of open auditions is, and to that point I think it’s an extremely important idea.“
While some regard stage performance to be reserved for dedicated actors, Oklahoma! musical director and graduate student in the department of music David Moschler prefers to work with dedicated – not just talented – actors. He encourages everyone with an interest in performance “to prepare and come in and audition.“
“We know there’s a lot more people out there that would be great for this production,“ he said. “There’s an amount of innate ability in people, but really it’s more about training and work ethic and a countenance that we go for.“
Set in 1906, Oklahoma! follows the romance of cowboy Curly McLain and farm girl Laurey Williams in the Oklahoma territory. With barn dances, farmers and plenty of gunplay, the musical invokes scenes from a small, agricultural town – perhaps not dissimilar from the Davis community 100 years ago.
“It happens to tie in nicely with the Centennial of UC Davis,“ said Moschler, who visualized the show with “the idea of living off the land.“
Along with the university’s celebration, the play is also relevant to current issues facing Americans, said Cooper.
“In these insanely complicated days of world issues that grip us – wars, economic collapses, environmental challenges – what better play to put on than one that takes us back to core values, simpler times, our forefather’s roots and how they were dug,” she said.
But overall, she said, “the play is mostly about hope.“
Open auditions for Oklahoma! begin tomorrow and end Sunday. For more information, call 752-0888 or visit theatredance.ucdavis.edu.
CHRIS RUE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.