Auditions to open for new Beckwith play

DOWAGIAC — A new play coming to Dowagiac will soon be looking for actors to fill its roles.

Auditions for “Laura,” a mystery by Vera Caspary and George Sklar, will be hosted at the Beckwith Theatre, 100 New York Ave. Dowagiac, at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 4 and at 7 p.m. Monday, March 5.

“Laura” follows detective Mark McPherson, who is assigned the murder case of the titular Laura. Through investigating her life, McPherson falls in love with Laura’s memory beginning a series of twists and turns throughout the mystery play.

Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. The directors ask that actors bring any conflicts or dates they cannot be at rehearsal between March 9 and May 20 to the auditions. Officials said the play would work around as many conflicts as possible. Due to the nature of the production, all actors must be 18 or older to be considered for a role in the play.

Rehearsals will begin soon after auditions, with the first read through taking place March 11. Rehearsals will be weekday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m., and some weekends, with weekend dates to be determined based on availability.

Directors ask actors to plan on three to four rehearsals per week, though more may be required closer to opening. 

The play will run in mid-May with showings at 7:30 p.m. May 11,12,18 and 19, and at 2 p.m. May 13 and 20.

Roles available include, as described by the Beckwith Theatre:

• Laura Hunt (leading role)—An advertising copywriter in her 20s and assumed murder victim, engaged to Shelby, but doesn’t want to give up her lucrative job when she marries. Very willful, knows what she wants, has some secrets. (20s to late 30s)

• Bessie Clary (supporting role) — A maid to Laura in her 40s, New York Irish, independent, plain spoken and respectable. A slight Irish accent would be nice. (40s to 60s)

• Mrs. Dorgan (minor role)—Danny’s mother and Laura’s landlady. A faded woman of 45, she wears an air of long enduring martyrdom. Under her sweet controlled voice, there is a suggestion of suppressed anger and hysteria. Has two entrances and about 20 lines. (40s to 50s)

• Mark McPherson (leading role) — A detective in his early 30s, investigating the murder of Laura Hunt. Shrewd and guarded in manner with a dry sense of humor. He limps slightly and is attractive in a masculine way. (30s to 40s)

• Waldo Lydecker (leading role) — A man in his 40s and a friend of Laura. He is inclined to indulge his emotions and makes theatrical gestures at any opportunity. He shows great gusto for what he enjoys, and withering scorn for things (and people) he considers beneath him. (40s -60s)

• Shelby Carpenter (supporting role) — Laura’s fiance, he is well bred and very handsome with easy manners. Is sincere, even when confused. Has a slight southern accent. (20s to late 30s)

• Danny Dorgan (supporting role) — A 19-year-old New York kid with a rough, crude manner that he uses to hide his sensitivity. (18 to 20s)

• Officer Olsen (minor role) — A police officer, any age over 18. Has two entrances and about five lines. (18 and up)

Any questions can be emailed to the directors, Andi Creasbaum at andrealyn28@gmail.com, or Jennifer Shoemaker at jshoem@gmail.com.

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