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COC holds audition for summer production of 'The Giver'

Posted: May 3, 2011 6:00 a.m.
Updated: May 3, 2011 6:00 a.m.

Actors of all ages, from children to adults, are invited to audition for the College of the Canyons theatre department's musical production of Lois Lowry's award-winning science fiction novel, "The Giver," to be staged this summer in partnership with the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center and the Festival of New American Musicals.

Rehearsals will take place from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 3 p.m. on Saturdays beginning the week of June 7.

Performances of "The Giver" are scheduled to take place July 8-9 in the PAC Black Box Theatre.

Producers are in need of at least 20 male and female actors, ages 16-60, to play a variety of teenaged and adult roles, along with a few child actors to help round out the musical's multi-generational, ensemble cast. A full cast breakdown of "The Giver" is listed below:

· Jonas - 12 years old (looking for a male actor aged 15-20 who looks younger) charismatic, insightful, strong-willed.
· Asher -12 years old (looking for a male actor aged 15-20 who looks younger) playful and temperamental.
· Jonas' Father - 30 to 45 years old, nurturing, kindly and bland.
· The Giver - 40 to 60 years old, aging, with a heavy emotional burden.
· Fiona - 12 years old (looking for a female actor aged 15-20 who looks younger) smart and mindful of the rules.
· Jonas' Mother - 30 to 45 years old, structured, rigid and committed to the rules.
· Jonas' Sister - 8 years old (looking to cast a female child actor aged 10-12 who looks younger) playful, troublemaker.
· Ensemble cast - eight to 12 male/female actors of various ages to play community members, children, people who appear in memories, etc., along with the roles of The Speaker, The Chief Elder and Rosemary.

"‘The Giver' is an exciting project for both actors and audiences alike. The beautiful score is reminiscent of the works of Stephen Sondheim and WilliamFinn," said Paul Wickline, co-producer and chair of the college's theatre department. "We are looking for talented teenagers and adults to fill several excellent principal and chorus roles."

Released in 1993, the novel "The Giver" follows a boy named Jonas through the twelfth year of his life, in a futuristic, assumedly utopian, society, which has eliminated all feelings of pain and strife by converting the masses to what is called the "Sameness" plan.

With this societal setup gradually appearing more and more dystopian, Jonas suddenly finds himself in the position of "Receiver of Memory," the person in charge of storing all of society's memories from the time before "Sameness" was implemented. But as Jonas takes the reigns of his new job, he discovers the power these memories posses.

He soon faces a dilemma - should he embrace his new role within this society, and live a life without love, color and choices; or should he seek out a more fulfilling, and meaningful life.

"We are so excited to offer our students another opportunity to participate in the Festival of New American Musicals," said Adam Philipson, PAC managing director. "Students will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work on new material as well as interact with the composer and writer."

Running throughout the spring and summer months, the Festival of New American Musicals celebrates the return of the American musical by showcasing full productions, staged readings, concerts, master classes and other performance-based events in conjunction with performance arts organizations in cities across Southern California.

The college's production of "The Giver" will be cast entirely with students who enroll in the summer session course Theatre 193: Summer Theatre Workshop and Festival of New American Musicals.

Auditions for "The Giver" will be held at noon, Saturday, June 4, and 6:30 p.m., Monday June 6, in the PAC Black Box Theater, located on the college's Valencia Campus.

Performers are asked to prepare 16 to 32 bars (one to two minutes) of a song from a musical production. Audition material should be no more than three minutes in length, and should be accompanied by sheet music in the correct key. Music in CD form will not be accepted.

All selected cast members will need to register for up to four units in Theatre 193. Those who are not cast will be offered additional opportunities to participate in the production.


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