Audition Notice: The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Auditions for the Musical Mystery, The Mystery of Edwin Drood are being held Saturday, March 5th at 3:00 p.m., Sunday, March 6th at 6:00 p.m. with callbacks, if necessary, set for March 7th, at 7:00 p.m.  Auditions are by appointment.  Audition slots will run every hour on the hour. Auditions will take place at Wheaton Drama’s Playhouse 111 located at 111 N. Hale Street, Wheaton, IL 60187.

Please email [email protected]  with your preferred appointment times, i.e., 6:00 p.m or 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 6th.   We will respond to your request with an email containing an audition form as well as your scheduled appointment time.  We will do our best to honor your choice.  However, we reserve the right to issue a different appointment time if the one you choose is already full.  Appointments will be given on a first come, first serve basis.  If there are walk-ins, they will be seen as time allows.

What to expect at auditions:

  1. Cold readings from the script.  Be prepared to read with a British accent.  Most characters will require a standard British accent (Received Pronuciation).  Variations would be acceptable, such as Cockney for Durdles, Deputy and Puffer.  See special note about Helena and Neville in character descriptions.
  2. Come prepared to move as there will be a dance audition. The dance will be taught at auditions.  Wear clothes and shoes you can dance in.
  3. Come prepared to sing up to 36 bars of music…no more… an accompanist will be provided. Sing any song from a musical that demonstrates your vocal abilities.  You may sing something from the show but it is not requirement.  You must provide your own sheet music.

Show description:

This is a musical version of the last book written by Charles Dickens, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. It is acted out by the Music Hall Royale theatre troupe.  It is a play within a play and every night the ending is decided by audience vote.  Needless to say, the ensemble interacts heavily with the audience throughout the course of the show.

This unique way of telling this tale was conceived and written by Rupert Holmes.  The Mystery of Edwin Drood won several awards including five Tony Awards for musical, book, score, director and actor.

The characters:

Mr. William Cartwright — Chairman of the Music Hall Royale; doubles as Mayor Thomas Sapsea – Male, Age 40 and up, Baritone, (D#3-F#4) – Our host for the evening. He has a quick wit and his dialogue keeps the show moving.  His accent must clear and crisp as he spends much of his time narrating the story for the audience.

John Jasper — doubles as Mr. Clive Paget – Male, Age 35 to 50, Bari-tenor, (A2-A4) Wrongly accused.  He is Rosa Bud’s vocal teacher.  His calm cool exterior hides the fact that he is mad with love for Rosa Bud, despite the fact that she is promised to his nephew, Edwin Drood.

Neville Landless — doubles as Mr. Victor Grinstead – Male, Age 20 to 40, Bari-tenor, (C3-G4) – A suspect.  A stranger from Ceylon, (an Island south of India, now known as Sri Lanka). He is new to Cloisterham and he is taken with Rosa Bud.  He has a questionable past.  Neville must be able to switch from his English accent when he is Victor to his somewhat ignorant interpretation of an East Asian accent when he is playing Neville.  As described in the script, the both Neville and Helena should have an accent with an Eastern feel comprised of Oriental clichés and is “somewhat geographically untraceable.”

Reverend Chrisparkle — doubles as Mr. Cedric Moncrieffe – Male, Age 40 to 60, Baritone, (C3 – G4).  A suspect.  Local clergyman who was once in love with Rosa Bud’s mother.  At first, he seems reverent and yet sometimes he borders on just a little creepy.

Bazzard — doubles as Mr. Phillip Bax and as Waiter – Male, Age 30 to 50, Bari-tenor, (A2 – Eb4, option G4 or Bb4) – A suspect.  Music Hall Royale’s lovable understudy.  Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.

Durdles — doubles as Mr.Nick Cricker – Male, Age 30 to 50, Tenor, (B2 – F4).  He is the local drunk and cemetery caretaker.

Deputy — doubles as Master Nick Cricker  – Male, Age 9 to 13. Durdle’s sidekick a street-wise boy learning about life through Durdles’ eyes.

Rosa Bud — doubles as Miss Deirdre Peregrine – Female, Age 18 to 30, High Soprano, (A3-B5) – A suspect.  Our heroine….a sweet flower….light and airy…or is she?

Edwin Drood — doubles as Miss Alice Nutting – Female, Age 20 to 40, Mezzo (B3-E5) – The victim.  Edwin is played by Ms. Alice Nutting, London’s leading male impersonator.  Drood is Jasper’s nephew.  He is also Rosa Bud’s intended.  Drood must command the stage with equal parts of youthful exuberance, ego and charm.

Helena Landless — doubles as Miss Janet Conover  – Female, Age 20 to 35, Mezzo, (G3 – D5/E5) A suspect.  Neville’s sister, also from Ceylon, a newcomer with a mysterious past.  She becomes good friends with Rosa Bud.  Like Neville, Helena must be able to switch from her English accent of Janet Conover to her “somewhat geographically untraceable” interpretation of what Helena’s accent.  In other words, it is the Music Hall Royale’s interpretation of what the accent should be based on their limited knowledge.

Princess Puffer — doubles as Miss Angela Prysock – Female, Age 40 to 55, Low Alto, (F3-D5).  A suspect.  Puffer is owner of the local opium den.  She is rough around the edges in all her glory.  She also has a previous history with Rosa Bud as her nanny.

Throttle – (Male or Female, Age 25 to 45) Music Hall Royale’s stage manager. A reliable sort, (s)he’s always at the ready to keep the show running smoothly.

Wendy — Female, any age (C4 – D5) Opium den dancer and citizen of Cloisterham; Sings Moonfall quartet with Rosa and Helena.

Beatrice — Female, any age (C4 – D5) Opium den dancer and citizen of Cloisterham; Sings Moonfall quartet with Rosa and Helena.

Flo – Female, any age, Opium den dancer and citizen of Cloisterham

Horace — (Male, any age) Opium den dancer and citizen of Cloisterham

Please note, this is an ensemble cast.  Ages listed above are approximations.  Ages could be skewed depending on those auditioning.

Any questions, please contact the director, Susan Able Barry, at [email protected].