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Fresh off the success of The House of Bernarda Alba and Clybourne Park, the Department of Theatre is heading into auditions for next semester’s Studio Theatre productions. Auditions are Tuesday, December 8 in Ryder Hall, and all Northeastern students are encouraged to join in. For detailed information about the audition process, check out the Theatre website.

And what are the shows? First up, February 16-28, is Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles, directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary. O’Leary is the Associate Artistic Director at New Repertory Theatre, and teaches Boston Theatre Experience this spring here at Northeastern. Here’s what she has to say about her production: “Women’s Rights and Feminism continue to be at the forefront of both our national and international dialogues.  Women’s roles in contemporary society are still not where they should be with regards to equality and esteem, but they are further than they would be if it were not for the work of Mothers, Grandmothers, Great-Grandmothers and beyond.  The Heidi Chronicles is an exploration of a specific time in our history when Women began making significant headway in discovering their voices and in carving out their place in a fast moving, tumultuous and growing landscape of American culture and history.  This production will offer students both onstage and off an opportunity to look back at where we came from and ask big questions about what we are still looking for.”

To usher in the Spring, William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee takes the stage from March 22-April 3. This production is directed by Professor of the Practice and Chair of the Department of Theatre, Scott Edmiston, who says, “Theatre is about all aspects of human experience, and that includes joy. Making musicals is joyful. I chose to direct Spelling Bee because it is such a quirky, unconventional, intelligent musical that is driven by character not spectacle. How can you not love characters named William Barfee, Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre, and Leaf Coneybear? The show is hilarious and cleverly invites the audience to participate in ways that are spontaneous, improvisational, and unique to live theatre. But Spelling Bee also captures some hard truths about the difficulties of adolescence and what it feels like to be an outsider. As theatre people, we understand that. A major theme of the show is what can happen to children who learn too young that ‘life is random and unfair / That’s the reason we despair / Life is pandemonium.’ The New York Times wrote: ‘It occasionally suggests a Saturday morning television cartoon by Stephen Sondheim. William Finn’s songs provide a nice sprinkling of sugar to complement the sass in Rachel Sheinkin’s zinger-filled book.’ Spelling Bee was nominated for six Tony Awards. I anticipate that we will laugh a lot in rehearsals. But only students who were at one time actual adolescents are allowed to audition.”

Each show will audition separately, but on the same night in adjacent rooms (Ryder 334 and 372, with 322 as a mutual waiting area), so students can sign up and audition for each director individually. The Heidi Chronicles auditions will be based on brief monologues available from the play in the office, and Spelling Bee auditioners will sing. Be sure to stop by the Theatre Office in 180 Ryder Hall to read scripts, sign up for audition slots, and pick up audition information sheets to fill out in advance of the auditions.  Break a leg!