About Inherit the Wind auditions...
Auditions for Inherit the Wind, directed by Steve Twilley, are on Sunday, Dec. 7th and Monday, Dec. 8th at 7 pm at Riverfront Theatre. All roles in the show are open. The cast includes 21 men, 6 women, 2 boys (ages 10-15) 1 girl (ages 10-15) with additional unscripted roles. Some characters may be double-cast.
Show dates for Inherit the Wind are Feb. 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22. Rehearsals will be on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 7:00p, beginning with read-through on Sunday, Dec. 14th at 7 pm. We will take appropriate time off around the Christmas holidays. Tech week is Sunday, Feb. 8th – Wednesday, Feb. 11th. Attendance at the six shows and four tech rehearsals is (obviously) mandatory but we will try to schedule around other occasional conflicts.
Matthew Harrison Brady and Henry Drummond (the show’s two protagonists) are GREAT roles for two strong senior actors. The cast includes several strong supporting characters (male and female) and many townspeople, scientists, reporters, vendors, etc. who – while absolutely integral to the story, characters and action of the play – may have few or no lines of written dialogue. And, for those of you who enjoy a good singsong, there will be powerful, raise the roof renditions of some popular gospel hymns when the townsfolk go on the march, banners waving.
BACKGROUND “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind.” Proverbs 11:29
The case of The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes would popularly and permanently become known as the Scopes Monkey Trial. During the scorching summer of 1925, tiny Dayton, Tennessee unexpectedly found itself overrun by media, awash in prophets of every stripe, and the epicenter in a legal battle of biblical proportions.
A school teacher was on trial for teaching evolution. Joining the prosecution was orator, prohibitionist, and three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan. Acting as counsel for the defense – the most famous lawyer of the day, Clarence Darrow.
Inherit the Wind is the dramatic telling of the most famous trial in American history. While some dialogue is taken directly from trial transcripts, playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee remind us that it is neither history nor journalism. The play was written, in fact, in response to 1950’s era McCarthyism.
In the production notes the authors go on to say the story “is not about the theory of evolution versus literal interpretation of the Bible. It assaults those who would constrict any human being’s right to think, to teach, to learn ... Humanity is on trial. Anyone who would limit thought is on trial.”
Ninety years after the events, and sixty years after its opening on Broadway, it remains strikingly relevant to our times.
Henry Drummond, (55-70) Defense attorney based on Clarence Darrow. He is a maverick, freethinker, of rural roots and homespun wit. He is noted for moving juries (and even judges) to tears with his eloquence. He possess a keen intellect that can often be hidden by a rumpled, unassuming appearance.
Matthew Harrison Brady, (55-70) Lead prosecutor based on William Jennings Bryan. He begins as a giant filled with charisma and confidence, beloved by the people. Then, as in a Greek tragedy, we watch him fall, topple from his pedestal. However, he cannot be a “paper tiger,” his vulnerability telegraphed in advance. He is a dynamic figure of power and substance, nearly three times president.
E. K. Hornbeck, (30-50) The reporter for the Baltimore Herald covering the trial, he lives by his wits, vanity and cynicism coining phrases “Heavenly Hillsboro” and “Buckle of the Bible Belt.” It is his paper that brings in Drummond to defend Cates.
Bertram Cates, (20-30) The science teacher and on trial for teach evolution. Soft-spoken and modest he is no martyr; he is an intellectual explorer who now finds himself on the dark-side of the moon.
Rev. Jeremiah Brown, (45-60) Sometimes benevolent, sometimes zealous religious leader and domineering father who calls down hell-fire damnation on Cates.
The Judge (40-60) The judge presiding over Cates’s trial, he is, like his neighbors, spellbound by Brady and sympathetic to his beliefs but tries to preside objectively.
Tom Davenport (30-60) The local district attorney who assists Brady during the trial.
Meeker (30-60) The bailiff at the Hillsboro courthouse.
Mayor (30-60) The mayor of Hillsboro.
Mr. Goodfellow (30-60) The owner of a general store near the courthouse.
Mr. Bannister (30-60) A simple country man who is excited to be chosen for the jury.
Jesse H. Dunlap, (30-60) A farmer and cabinetmaker who is interviewed but rejected for jury duty.
Sillers (30-60) An employee at the local feed store and a member of the jury.
Corkin (30-60) A local man.
Bollinger (30-60) A local man. PLAYS A CORNET.
Cooper (30-60) A local man.
Platt (30-60) A local man.
Elijah (30-60) A mountain man. He sells Bibles to the townspeople and preaches his beliefs to the crowd.
Harry Y. Esterbrook (30-60) A radio host from WGN in Chicago who broadcasts the announcement of the verdict and Cates’s sentencing.
Hot Dog Man (30-60) A local man.
Hurdy Gurdy Man (30-60) An organ grinder, accompanied by his monkey, who waits with the crowd of people for Brady’s arrival. (The Hurdy Gurdy Man will operate a puppet monkey.)
Reuter’s Man (30-60) A British reporter (with accent).
NON-SCRIPTED MALES: Townspeople, reporters, hawkers, and 2-3 scientists.
Rachel Brown (20-25) The daughter of Reverend Brown, she charts the arc of the play as her mind travels the difficult journey from innocent compliance to a more-embracing capacity to receive new thoughts, new ideas. She is caught between her genuine love for Cates and her duty to her father.
Mrs. Brady (40-60) Matthew Harrison Brady’s wife. She mothers her husband, watching over his health and diet.
Mrs. Krebs (30-60) An outspoken Hillsboro woman.
Mrs. Loomis (30-60) Melinda’s mother.
Mrs. Blair (30-60) Howard’s mother.
Mrs. McClain, (30-60) A local woman.
Howard Blair (13-16) A student in Cates’ science class. At the trial, Howard gives testimony that is used against Cates.
Timmy (10-15) A young boy who excitedly announces to the crowd of people that Brady’s train is coming.
Melinda Loomis (12-15) A young girl and friend of Howard.
NON-SCRIPTED FEMALES: Townspeople