Audition Call

The Ransom of Miss Elverna Dower

To download this audition document, click here.

Auditions: Monday, July 21st at 6:30 pm or Tuesday, July 22nd at 6:30 pm

What is ACT1?
ACT1 is a community theater with a focus on wholesome entertainment.  Now in our 20th year, we’re proud to bring you top-quality theatrical productions.  You’ll find us in performance in several major productions each year.  Among our many full-length shows have been Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Wind in the Willows, Annie, The Sound of Music, and many others.  Our most recent production was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

ACT1 is the proud recipient of several Metropolitan Atlanta Theater awards , including 5 for our production of Fiddler on the Roof.  We are sponsored and supported by Alpharetta Presbyterian Church, and provide entertainment to the community without religious bias.

In addition to using many experienced theater folks, one of the objectives of our work is to provide a venue for those who have never tried before.  We enjoy seeing new folks discover a love of theater – whether that’s performing on the stage; building sets; making costumes; or working as a stage hand, lighting technician or sound technician.  As new cast and crew members “learn the ropes” and become seasoned pros, they may decide to try their hand at stage managing or directing.  All of our cast, crew, and management are volunteers.  But, no matter what role you choose, this will be the most fun that you have had in a long time.

Can I Review the Script in Advance?
Not for this show.

What will auditions be like?
We’ll have you sign in and fill out an audition form to tell us about yourself.  Don’t worry if you’ve never done this before – experience is not required.  If you have a headshot, bring it along.  If not, we’ll take a picture to help us remember who’s who after you’re gone.

Everyone who’s auditioning will be together in one room, and you’ll be asked to read scenes from the play.  It’s known as “cold reading”, because you’re  not expected to memorize anything in advance.  The material you need will be given to you.  However, you may want to review the script in advance to become familiar with the characters.  The Director and Stage Manager will run the auditions, and you’ll be asked to come forward a couple of times to read.  We’re all friendly and promise that it won’t be intimidating.  You may be asked to read a part that you’re obviously not suited for, or that you have no interest in.  It doesn’t mean you’re being considered for that part but rather helps us gauge your flexibility and range.

No parts are pre-cast, and everyone who gets a part will have auditioned at one of the 2 scheduled times, unless special arrangements are made in advance.

Among the things we’ll be looking for are:
•          Speaking voice quality – Can you project, so that you’ll be heard from the back of the auditorium?
•          Energy – can we hear the interest and excitement in your voice?
•          Facial Expression – Does it match the words you’re reading?
•          Character – Can you “be” the person you’re reading?
•          Willingness – Can you follow instructions and give it your best shot?

How will you pick the cast?
Many things go into putting a cast together.  Of course, your performance at the audition is important, but so are other things that are not in your control.  The script dictates, to a large extent, who will be cast.  As an example, characters playing members of a family should look like they could be family.  So casting is a process of finding good actors of an appropriate age who fit in combination with the other actors.

When will I know if I’m cast?
If we are able to cast you, we will call you no later than the day after the last audition.  For this show, that means we’ll call by Tuesday, July 22nd.  If you don’t hear from us, we were not able to use you this time.  The number of people who audition prevents us from calling everyone.  But remember, that doesn’t mean you did a poor job, and please – come back to audition for another show.

What am I committing to?
By coming to auditions you’re not committing to anything.  Come try us out and see what you think.  If we offer you a part, and you accept, then you are definitely making a commitment to attend every rehearsal possible.  That means you can’t miss a rehearsal unless it’s absolutely necessary and you’ve told the Stage Manager in advance.  No absences are allowed during the last two weeks of rehearsals.  Even if you have your part learned down pat and don’t feel you need to be there, remember that your fellow actors are dependent on you being where you’re supposed to be.  If someone has a line to deliver to you and you’re not there, it makes it very difficult to stay in character and keep the scene running smoothly.  A major factor in a production not getting to a polished, professional level, is a cast that is erratic in attendance.  OK, enough preaching – just want you to understand the importance of being at rehearsals.

Tell me about this play
If somebody kidnapped your least favorite teacher, would you want her back? In an award-winning comedic tale loosely based on O. Henry’s classic story, Casey and Tim nab their demanding English teacher to avoid having to take a test, but they find that no one wants her back! It’s bad enough that she corrects the grammar in their ransom note and makes them rewrite it, but when the captive teacher assigns them a research paper on famous kidnappings in history, the young kidnappers find themselves doing more school work than ever! Meanwhile, nobody takes the new principal (a former student of Miss Dower’s) seriously, a high-strung ex-Marine corporate exec turned housewife runs a PTA bake sale fundraiser with military precision, a Star Trek-obsessed custodian works frantically to keep the crumbling building ship-shape and the football mascot believes himself a real Viking warrior with his sassy cousin from Brooklyn as his Valkyrie-in-training. Great characters and sharp humor make this loose adaptation of O. Henry’s classic Ransom of Red Chief a delightful choice for any audience.
What are the roles available?
This show requires adults and children. Ages listed are what the actor needs to be able to portray convincingly. Note that the actor should LOOK the age listed… actual age does not matter.


•Tim Stack: male middle or high school student and Casey’s best friend; a bit eccentric but very bright

•Mr. Lockman: male 50s – 60s; popular veteran teacher who enjoys loud ties

•Monty: male 20s – 60s; overdramatic custodian who fancies himself an engineer on a space ship—Scottish accent encouraged

•Erik the Viking: male middle or high school student; fancies himself a real Viking

•Casey Matthews: female middle or high school student: a schemer who occasionally gets into trouble

•Ms. Hamilton: female 40s-60s; sarcastic assistant principal who thinks she should be in charge

•Hilda; female 40s-60s; school secretary who has seen it all

•Miss Hightower: female 20s-60s; high strung and critical teacher’s union representative

•Michelle: female middle or high school student; brassy and fancies herself to be a star actress

•Myra Lyman: female 40s – 60s; bossy PTA president and former corporate executive


Either Gender:

•Principal Donnelly: male or female 30s-60s; frustrated working in the shadow of a beloved former principal

•Coach Seaver: male or female 20s – 30s: first year physical ed teacher; calm and realistic

•Andre/Andrea: male or female 20s-40s; trendy, hip and efficient personal assistant

•Captain Peters: male or female 30s – 60s; former Marine now in charge of PTA

•Raphael/Raphaella: male or female 20s-40s; another trendy, hip and efficient personal assistant

•PTA parents: male or female of any age old enough to parent middle or high school students

•Students: male or female: of middle or high school age

What about rehearsals?
Our schedule calls for 2 rehearsals a week, for 10 weeks, followed by 1 weekend of performances. Our first rehearsal is scheduled for Wednesday, July 23rd. Rehearsals are normally on Monday and Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm. Not everyone is scheduled at every rehearsal – at least in the beginning.  As we work individual scenes, only the actors in those scenes need to be there.  We take very seriously your commitment and your time.  The schedule will be laid out in advance, and only vary rarely deviated from.  You will never be expected to hang around waiting for the director to get to your part.  PLEASE NOTE:  there are rehearsals during school holidays, … these are NOT optional! The very first rehearsal will be a “read-through” and will include the entire cast.  It’s just what it sounds like – we’ll all sit around and read the script.  It’s the time to meet your fellow actors, hear the Director’s vision for the show, begin to assimilate your character, work on any tricky pronunciation, etc.  We’ll give you your copy of the script, the schedule, and any other material you’ll need. After that, the next set of rehearsals will be broken down, scene by scene, and we’ll do the “blocking”.  Blocking is the term used for any stage movement – crossing from one side to the other, sitting down, standing up – all the stuff that supports your lines.  Bring a pencil and make notes in your script as you work. Once everything is blocked, the next few rehearsals we will go back through those scenes and work on them some more.  By this time, you need to have your lines memorized for the scenes that we’re working that day.  Once we’re through these “working” rehearsals, we’re now about 4 weeks in, and we’ve worked on every scene for at least 3 rehearsals, and it’s time to combine them, and run the full act, and later the full show, fine-tuning as we go.  Expect about 30 rehearsals in all.  There might be one or two added rehearsals near opening, if we seem to need them.

When are Performances?
Currently, there are plans for 3 performances of this show October 3rd to 5th. Here’s the performance Schedule:

Friday Oct 3@ 8 pm

Saturday Oct 4 @ 2 pm

Saturday Oct 4 @ 8 pm

Tickets cost $10, and you can have all your fans book tickets at call the box office at 770-663-8989 to make their reservations. Each cast member will get two tickets free. In addition, cast members may buy more tickets at a discount, for family and friends.

Who Will Be Working on This Show?

Candy Spahr will direct this show

What about….?

For any other questions that I forgot to cover, please give me a call – Lisa Matchen, 678-371-3079 or email to