Crimes of the Heart

By: Beth Henley

February 7th and 8th  2pm @ Steve W. Shepherd Theater

Directed by: Kerry Goff

Auditions for FTC’s next production, Crimes of the Heart are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, February 7th and 8th at 2pm at the Steve W. Shepherd Theater, located at 1668 U.S Highway 87 south in Fredericksburg. All roles are available for auditions. Auditions will be conducted by cold readings from the script. Scripts and cold reading material for Crimes of the Heart can be checked out at the Fredericksburg Theater Company offices at same location starting Monday, January 26th. The checkout period is 48 hours. Office hours are Monday-Friday from 9am to 1pm.  Attendance to technical rehearsals, April 6th-9th is mandatory, as well as attendance to all performances. Performance dates are Friday’s, Saturday’s and Sunday’s April 10th-26th.

 Crimes of the Heart was the winner of the 1981 Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. An astonishing first play, initially presented by the Actors Theatre of Louisville, then Off-Broadway, and then on Broadway, where it established the author as a major voice in the theater. Warm-hearted, irreverent, zany and brilliantly imaginative, the play teams humanity and humor as it examines the plight of three young Mississippi sisters betrayed by their passions. In the end the play is the story of how its young characters escape the past to seize the future—but the telling is so true and touching and consistently hilarious that it will linger in the mind long after the curtain has descended.

Character Descriptions:

Lenny Magrath 30 years old. The oldest sister of the three Magrath sisters. She is quiet and soft spoken, but very caring.

Chick Boyle 29 years old. The first cousin of the three Magrath sisters. She is loud and annoying.

Meg Magrath 27 years old. The middle sister of the three Magrath sisters.  She has returned to Mississippi from California, where her singing career has stalled.

Doc Porter 30 years old. Meg’s old boyfriend. He has married with children, but still has feelings for Meg.

Babe Botrelle 24 years old. The youngest of the three Magrath sisters. She is in major trouble for shooting her abusive husband in the stomach.

Barnette Lloyd 26 years old. Babe’s lawyer. Eager and willing to be very helpful.


Oh, the horror images about auditions! People often have this mental picture of standing all alone on an empty stage with a blinding spotlight in their face while a disconnected godlike voice from the back of the room says nasty things about you then hollers, “NEXT!!”

Well, banish those thoughts from your imagination when you think of FTC. It is a Company policy that we make auditions as pleasant as possible so people will come back over and over to try for a spot in a show. Can you see how foolish it would be for us to make you hate to audition? We’d never get anyone to be in our shows, and we’d miss out on some really great talent!

FTC auditions are friendly, open, accepting, and encouraging. We know that people can feel especially vulnerable when being judged on how well they could be taught to sing or act. We are a community theater, and although we want to cast the best people we can find, we do not take ourselves so seriously as to make anyone feel like they’re auditioning for a Broadway road show!

What happens in an audition?

Simply put, you are given the opportunity to show the director what you can do.

You will come to the theater at the appointed time and fill out a form to turn in to the audition coordinator. Everyone who is auditioning will be in the theater during auditions. When the director calls your name you will go up on stage. The director will be right up close, probably on the first or second row. He might ask you some questions to get to know more about you and to make you feel at ease.

Then he will ask you to present what you have prepared. You will be given the opportunity to start over if you mess up (which we’ve all done many times!).

Our goal is to make the conditions right so when you’re finished, you feel that you really did show the director what you can do that might win you the part.

What should I prepare for an audition?

FOR MUSICALS: You should sing something that shows off your voice. Sing in whatever style fits you best. An accompanist will be there to play for you, or you can bring your own or a CD or tape accompaniment.

FOR PLAYS: You will be asked to do cold readings from the script provided at auditions.

FOR BOTH MUSICALS AND PLAYS: You will read a portion of a scene from the script with other people who are there to audition. Sometimes the director will ask you to read the part of a character you hadn’t considered trying for. That’s OK. He may see something in you that causes him to think you might be right for another role.

Here’s a HINT: Most scripts for musicals and plays are available in a library or for purchase online. Those who become familiar with the script ALWAYS have a better audition. It also demonstrates to the director the attitude he’s looking for, that you’re a self-starter who would work hard to make the show a success.

How does the director decide whom to cast?

Many factors are considered. Besides the obvious ones of determining whether you could be successful at singing or acting the role convincingly, the director must consider your height, body type, and age. He also considers who else might be cast and whether you’d be the right partner.

Sometimes people have their hearts set on a part that simply isn’t right for them. The director knows what he needs to make the show a success, and he is doing you a favor by not casting you in such roles.

What is the director looking for in an audition?

Besides the obvious – hearing you sing and speak, he is trained to look for potential that might not come through in an audition. He knows the process of bringing out the best in a performer, so he not only considers what you do in an audition, but also what he believes you could do with the self-confidence that comes from getting the part.

He is also looking for people who want to be team players. Sometimes he has to go with hunches about whether the person auditioning would bring the right attitude to the project.

What are some tips for giving me an advantage in an audition?

1. Be prepared. Learn about the show you’re auditioning for before coming. Know something about the role(s) you want. Know when the show is going to be performed.

2. Be energetic. Speak audibly and clearly. Listen to the director for instructions in the audition. Ask questions if you don’t understand something.

3. Make an impression. Take some risks. Don’t just play it safe. The director is not only looking for people who can sing, dance, and act. He’s also looking for a certain kind of attitude. That attitude is revealed by your eagerness, openness to being directed, and the ability to overcome fear.

FINAL THOUGHT: By showing up prepared and giving your all in an audition, you will impress the director that you would succeed at playing the role.