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Actors Encouraged to Audition This Weekend

MLT, other theaters seeking actors for annual Pgh New Works festival

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams
The Tube City Almanac
July 10, 2024
Posted in: Entertainment

(File photo)

McKeesport Little Theater is one of 15 regional companies casting actors when auditions are scheduled Saturday and Sunday (July 13 and 14) to fill more than 50 roles for Pittsburgh News Works Festival’s 33rd season.

Auditions will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m at the Genesius Theater at Duquesne University, 1225 Seitz Street, Pittsburgh 15282. Pre-registration is requested.

“We are one of the original participants and we’re very excited about these auditions,” said MLT’s Jennifer R. Vertullo, who will produce the world premiere of one of the original one-act plays selected for this year’s festival.

According to PNWF’s website, the new season will be performed through five programs of three plays each on Thursdays through Sundays Aug. 22 through Sept. 22.

Although the performances all are scheduled at the Genesius, would-be participants 18 and older are able to provide their availability for rehearsals and performances through the registration and audition process.

Rehearsals, Vertullo confirmed, are held at various locations as determined by the partner theater companies throughout the Pittsburgh region.

Although the premieres occur in Pennsylvania, playwrights from other areas also can and do prepare their original works months in advance to submit them for consideration.

Each season’s submissions are narrowed down by a panel of judges, with the top 15 chosen to become full productions for that season. After that has been decided, each theater company is matched with its play through another process.

During auditions, there will be an audience of about 60 people, including playwrights, directors, producers, invited talent, and casting agencies, Vertullo said, including herself and other MLT representatives.

“They will be auditioning for all of us simultaneously,” Vertullo said. “It is for ages 18 and up, with a variety of actors needed, and we get to essentially bid on the actors we want.

“We have our own network (at MLT), and other groups are bringing theirs, too,” she said. “We encourage ours to audition. It’s a good opportunity to get outside themselves and branch out as actors, and for those not familiar with McKeesport Little Theater to see what we’re all about.”

Those auditioning are required to prepare a two-minute monologue. Auditioning advice from Pittsburgh New Works Festival’s website includes:

    • Memorize the monologue and time it, because participants will be cut off at two minutes.
    • Wear something comfortable that boosts confidence, but do not wear a costume.
    • Arrive early enough to check in, complete any paperwork, and do a final preparation.
    • A limited number of same-day auditions are permitted only if time permits.

Although the types of roles vary from year to year, depending on what plays are selected, PNWF encourages actors of all ages, sizes, races, ethnicities, genders, abilities, amount of prior experience, and sexual orientations to audition.

In addition, two roles for actors “who can play female-presenting 14-year-olds” will be cast, according to the website.

The plays, which have been selected but not yet officially announced, are described by New Works as “ranging from over-the-top farce to incredibly dark drama.”

“Imagine an actor being able to say he or she was the first person ever to portray this character!” Vertullo said, if or when any of these original plays goes on to be produced again.

In addition to MLT, participating companies include The Bobcat Players, Glass Fox Productions, The Heritage Players, The Jesters’ Guild, Prime Stage Theatre, R-ACT Theatre Productions, Stray Cat Theatre, The South Hills Players, Split Stage Productions, The Summer Company, Duquesne University Red Masquers, Iron Horse Theatre Company, Pittsburgh Savoyards, and Pittsburgh New Works Festival.

Complete details for registering and auditioning are available at https://pittsburghnewworks.org.

Bonnijean Cooney Adams is a freelance contributor. She can be reached at adamsclick@aol.com.

Originally published July 10, 2024.

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