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Our auditions are open to everyone, including all members of the greater UMass community, the Five Colleges, and all local performers. You need not be a theater major or minor to be cast in our shows. See our casting policy at the bottom of the page for more details.
UMass Theater productions are cast throughout the year; check here for audition information.
Time and place maybe subject to change; updates will be posted as they become available.
Read-only scripts and other relevant information for productions will be posted in a shared folder online.
SPRING AUDITIONS for PLAY LAB (Come My Beloved and Swimming Lessons) and SWEAT
Sunday, Jan. 27 — joint auditions for all three plays, 3-9:30 p.m.
Fine Arts Center
Monday, Jan. 28 — CALLBACKS for Sweat, 6-10:30 p.m. in the Curtain Theater
Tuesday, Jan. 29 — CALLBACKS for Come My Beloved, 6-10:30 p.m. in Room 204
Wednesday, Jan. 30 — CALLBACKS for Swimming Lessons, 6-10:30 p.m. in Room 204
What to prepare
We will hold joint auditions for all three plays. Performers are asked to play the read before auditioning. Performers will be auditioning from sides to be provided in our shared folder (please check back as the audition date approaches).
We will be posting a SignUp Genius link to sign up for your audition spot soon.
Cast Breakdowns for all three plays are as follows
Come My Beloved
- Solomon -- male, late-twenties, Black.
- Sophie -- female, late-twenties, White/Jewish, 4 Months pregnant.
- Noah -- male, late-twenties, White/Jewish
- Susan -- female, late-twenties, Black, could pass as white with the right hairstyle and makeup.
- Maya -- female, late-twenties, White/Jewish.
- Julia -- female, late-twenties, Black.
- Yusuf -- Skinny, tries his best to be nondescript. Pakistani male, 18 years old
- Josephine -- The definition of teacher’s pet. Positively dripping with passion and drive. White female, 16 years old.
- Zain -- Tightly trimmed beard. Always wearing fashionable (but-not-too-flashy) streetwear. Pakistani male, 19 years old.
- Dr. Athar Khan -- Maybe the most respected surgeon alive. Tall, fit, with a smile that makes you smile too. Pakistani male in his fifties.
- Dr. Lisa Wilkinson -- Stern doctor. The smartest person in the room and she knows it. African American female in her forties.
- Marge -- The secretary whose been there longer than just about everyone in the hospital. Heavyset. Grandma-vibes. White female in her late sixties.
- Evan -- Evan is an African-American man in his forties whose physicality Nottage describes as “comfortably puffy” parole officer. Evan displays a tough love throughout the play. While he is open to discussing these ex-convicts’ struggles, Evan maintains firm boundaries in the relationship.
- Jason -- Jason is a white American man of German ancestry in his twenties. Jason is a character that would be incredibly easy to demonize, despite his fair share of struggles. At 21 years old he spends a great deal of time attempting to convince his best friend not to pursue his dream of becoming a teacher. He is consistently critical of his mother, and is quick to act on violent impulses. At 28 years old, he sits in Evan’s office with face full of white-supremacist tattoos. Jason is uncooperative at best. However, all of these traits are a reaction to his situation. Jason is a very much a product of his environment. Growing up in a working-class family from Reading, Pennsylvania, it can be assumed that Jason had a strenuous childhood. His father died during his adolescence and Tracey has proven to be an emotionally neglectful mother. Jason’s options have always felt rather limited. He has little aspirations outside of early retirement from Olstead’s plant.
- Chris -- Chris is an African-American man, the same age as his friend Jason. From the opening scene, it is clear that Chris handles life differently than Jason. Chris tries to make the most of his time after prison, and seems to consistently have his focus set on something greater. In 2000, he spoke of wanting to become a teacher despite the obvious paycut. This shows his generosity and willingness to serve. In 2008, he tells Evan that he has been volunteering at the church. Chris perpetually maintains a perspective on life that is outside himself. However, throughout the course of the play it becomes increasingly clear that Chris has also had a difficult childhood. The audience witnesses Chris experience father-son role reversal, as he takes care of Brucie both emotionally and financially. While he seems to have a decent relationship with Cynthia, conflict transpires once issues at the plant arise.
- Stan -- Stan, the bartender, is a white American of German descent in his fifties. Stan is the only character in a unique position to understand factory life as both a worker and observer. Stan began bartending when he was severely injured at the plant. The accident left him with a permanent limp, rendering him unable to do manual labor. Most of the information the audience gains about Stan comes from his relationships to the other characters. He rarely initiates conversations regarding his own struggles, yet is able to empathize with most issues that arise regarding factory life and its accompanying financial strains. Stan also proves himself to be a man of integrity, befriending those who have been outcast by others in the community. He is willing to listen to Brucie’s repetitive problems with addiction, depression, and poverty. He talks with Cynthia on her birthday after having been abandoned by her old friends. Stan confronted Oscar privately when he decided to cross the line at Olstead’s as well as stood up for him publicly when he was being assaulted at the bar.
- Oscar -- For the majority of the play, Oscar, the 22-year-old Colombian-American, is a silent presence in the town bar. He diligently works to serve and tend to the patrons of Reading, despite their lack of acknowledgment. Oscar is the only character in Sweat of LatinX background. This choice highlights his “otherness” in the community. Despite having lived in Berks County his entire life, Oscar will never be seen as a peer to his white counterparts. Tracey makes this incredibly clear by continuously mistaking his identity and background. She unapologetically calls him Puerto Rican and later accuses him of swooping in to take jobs away from locals. When he contests, and reminds her that he was born in Pennsylvania, Tracey dismisses his concerns immediately.
- Tracey -- Tracey, a white widow of German descent, is 45 years old in 2000. From her first moment on stage, the character is established as a major force in the community. She has a loud, commanding, and rather rough presence. In the same way, Jason is intimidated by Chris’s aspirations, Tracey feels insecure about Cynthia’s desire to apply for the promotion at Olstead’s. She fears change. This desire for comfort in the familiar is also voiced during her cigarette break with Oscar. She talks about how her grandfather helped build Reading, Pennsylvania. Tracey is disgusted with how the town has evolved since those glory days. Her routine is incredibly important. Tracey wants to go to work at the factory, have a drink at the local bar afterwards, then go home. When this daily custom is disrupted by layoffs at Olstead’s, she has not only lost her income, but her way of life as well. This change drives her into a depression that ultimately leads to substance abuse. There are many similarities in demeanor between Tracey and her son, Jason. Along with insecurities around their friend’s goals to move up in the world, they both have a tendency toward aggression. Tracey is quick to escalate situations, whether it be verbally accosting Cynthia after her promotion or physically attacking Oscar in the bar. Perhaps her anger issues are also rooted in a deeper emotional problem, like shame. Either way, it is clear that Tracey is unable to handle her personal pain and therefore inflicts this suffering on others.
- Cynthia -- Cynthia, a middle-aged African-American woman, is Tracey’s best friend at the beginning of the Sweat. Although she is at the same status as her friends at the top of Act One, Cynthia does not hesitate to voice her desire to move up in the world. She applies for (and later receives) the promotion to upper management at Olstead’s plant. This decision is a major point of contention throughout the play. Just as Tracey and Jason share several behavioral characteristics, Cynthia has many similarities to her son as well. Both Chris and Cynthia are able to approach major life changes with a sense of objectivity. While Cynthia is hurt by the layoffs at Olstead’s, she understands the need to not react from an emotional place. She maintains composure as best she can while trying to see the bigger picture. However, Cynthia’s aspirations lead her to an incredibly difficult situation that ultimately results in a loss of friendships. Cynthia’s promotion separates her from the working class. She no longer can relate to her friends’ hardships. Cynthia’s options are incredibly limited. She cannot fight alongside the union without losing her job, and she cannot maintain friendships while keeping her management position. Cynthia is caught in a Catch-22 for the majority of the play.
- Jessie -- Jessie, the 40-something Italian-American woman, is drunk for the majority of the play. She is newly-divorced and spends most of her nights drowning her sorrow at the bar. While most of the characters seem to laugh off her alcoholic tendencies, Jessie’s depression is real. Though she is a background character for the majority of the play, the audience gets a glimpse into Jessie’s life during her birthday. She talks of her dreams to travel the world as a young girl, and how those never came to fruition. It is clear that Jessie is a woman with many regrets, just trying to get through each day.
- Brucie -- Brucie, an African-American man in his forties, is Cynthia’s husband. Unlike Jessie’s issues with substance abuse, Brucie’s addiction is shown in a much more serious light. Brucie has been out of work for nearly two years due to union strikes. This has led him to an incredibly dark place. The middle-aged man has become self-destructive during his struggle with depression. His addiction has led to him stealing from Cynthia and neglecting Chris. Nottage uses Brucie’s character as a forewarning for the plant workers. He is constantly telling Chris not to follow in his footsteps by striking with the union. It is better to take the pay cut and stay employed, than deal with the depression Brucie currently faces.
General Casting Policies
The Department of Theater is committed to racial, cultural and individual diversity.
Casting for all department-sponsored productions is open to any student, staff, or faculty member of the Five College Consortium, any member of the community, or any invited guest artist regardless of race, ethnic origin, abilty, sexual orientation or gender identification.
Equal-opportunity casting is encouraged.
All Theater majors are welcomed and strongly encouraged to audition. The Department chooses plays each year with the intention of using as many majors as possible, but casting of any individual theater major student is not guaranteed.
Most casting will be determined by open auditions.
You are expected to sign up for a given audition appointment, and to arrive at the audition site well ahead of the scheduled time. Performers who arrive after their scheduled time may not be allowed to audition.
After open auditions have been completed, the director will post call back announcements. If you are called back, you are expected to initial next to your name to acknowledge the call back.
Auditioning for multiple shows
Our experience has shown that having cast members in shows with overlapping rehearsal and/or performance schedules is complicated and disruptive to both shows.
Cast members are still welcome to be in multiple shows whose rehearsal schedules do not overlap; please check with stage managers or production staff if you have questions about scheduling.
Please note: This does NOT mean that actors cannot audition for all the shows -- just that they will have to consider their options and limitations wisely. Casting decisions will result in the production's exclusive service of the actor when rehearsal/performance periods overlap.
Thank you and break a leg!