Notes from the Directors

Auditions for The Fantasticks, The Government Inspector, and Grease are this weekend! We can’t wait to see everyone in the studio. And since each show is holding auditions this Saturday & Sunday, we asked each director for a little more insight as to what they are looking for at auditions to help you better prepare. Read on to see what each of them had to say!


A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR: Christine Winkler Johnson

The intimate, personal simplicity that is The Fantasticks allows us to focus on the essence of the story – that life and love can be difficult, complicated, confusing, messy, and even annoying. But ultimately they are very, very much worth it.

Born out of the Beat Generation, The Fantasticks holds fast to much of the ideology of that movement: ironic humor, intellectualism, search for Greater Truths, mistrust of authority figures, rejection of shallow emotion, insistence on uniqueness, and delirious excesses of language. This show has an amazing connection between the music of language and the language of music; a connection to the deep, long forgotten core of what it means to be human.

This is an ensemble piece, so I am looking to put together a team who will be fearless in their search for the simple truth of telling this wonderful story.

To schedule an audition time for The Fantasticks:




The Government Inspector was written by Nikolai Gogol back in the day. Really back: the 1830s.

This version that we’re doing, though, was rewritten/translated/adapted by a gentleman named Jeffrey Hatcher about ten years ago. Though I do not claim to be an expert on Russia, I am aware that that nation has been in the news a lot lately!

This play is Gogol’s take on the Russian government under the Tsar (the monarch ruler of Russia until the communist revolution). This play paints government officials (the mayor, police officers, judges) as corrupt fools who don’t know how to do anything except accept bribes and drink vodka. They are funny idiots. After the play’s premiere, Gogol went into exile and left the country because everyone was very mad at him.

This is what I want you to understand about our production. We are not making a statement about our current political state. The show stands alone about a specific group of people in a little town in the middle of Russia in the year 1836. And they are morally challenged. They are baffoons, lost in their own arrogant realities. However, they are very real people. And we will portray them as such. There is comedy in truth and an absurd hilarity in reality. We are not making a statement, we are not creating agendas, we are simply producing a very funny play with a list of eclectic characters that should make actors very anxious to create.

I am asking you to do two things in preparation for auditions. Read the play. Understand what it is you are auditioning for. The second thing is to prepare one of the monologues provided in the audition packet. While you don’t have to memorize it, (and you certainly may do so), I DO want you to be familiar with the words you are saying. Take that monologue and perform it for us with as much confidence as you can muster. Create a fun character, deliver the speech, and OWN it. Show me your best. There aren’t any wrong choices for this. If you want to be from the South, do it. From outer space, do it. Crazy accents, physical characteristics – all of it. Create and have fun. If you see a monologue in the group that really speaks to you, but it is for a character whose gender is different from your own, go for it. I want to see what you can do with choices that you make, I’m simply providing the words. Once we have seen your portrayal, I may then choose to throw some other ideas at you and have you perform again. It goes by really fast so catch my attention right out of the gate.

This show requires lightning-fast line delivery, physical humor with bodies, and the ability to not only “step over the line” but LEAP over it, again and again, and again. Please bring any rehearsal conflicts with you and put them on your audition sheets. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. We are rehearsing this show rather quickly and we cannot afford for anyone to miss a rehearsal that they are called for. Conflicts WILL affect casting.

Schedule an audition time for The Government Inspector:




The story of Grease is set during the 1958-59 school year, at exactly the same time that America was facing the preliminary rumblings of the Sexual Revolution that would arrive in the mid-1960s. I want to portray an authentic story of how the rebellious freedom of rock and roll influenced American Culture. The shift from the manufactured mainstream culture of the 1950 ’s to the 1960s, throwing over repression and tradition for freedom and adventure. Grease shows us how America reacted to this tumultuous time through two of its main characters. Danny Zuko (along with Rizzo and Kenickie) represent rebellious freedom that ultimately frees the conforming Sandy to express her sexuality without fear or shame, leading her into a new life and a new decade of freedom and adventure.

I think many criticize Grease for an “immoral’ ending, however, this story isn’t just about Danny and Sandy, but the story of Grease is a snapshot in American history when dress codes dictated appropriate high school attire that school authorities used to immediate the problem of teenage delinquency. At the end of the show, Sandy finally is able to embrace and take ownership of her body. She gives up the “ladylike” poodle skirt and replaces it with clothing that celebrates her womanhood, opening the doors of her moral prison. After describing Sandy’s new hypersexual, and very iconic look – the tight pants, leather jacket, earrings, wild new hair – the script says, “Yet she actually looks prettier and more alive than she ever has.”

At auditions, I am looking for actors to portray real people who, through their experiences have to shake off the masks of “cool” and “respectable” and openly embrace themselves and their relationships.

Schedule an audition time for Grease:





All auditions are open to the public.

All auditions will be held at the NorShor Theatre Rehearsal Studios (located at 211 East Superior Street, on the 3rd Floor via the skywalk or Lights on Duluth — follow the posted signs) unless otherwise noted.

Scripts of each show are available for a 3-day rental and check-out from the NorShor Box Office with a $5 cash deposit (refunded when the script is returned).

Complete audition packets are available at the NorShor Box Office (M-F, Noon-6:00pm) or online ( approximately two weeks prior to each audition date (if not sooner).