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Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Emma the Musical

Category: Equity/Non-Equity
Pay: Yes

Chicago Shakespeare Theater is holding auditions for Emma. Music, book, and lyrics by Paul Gordon. Directed by Barbara Gaines.

Diversity STRONGLY encouraged for all roles.

EMMA WOODHOUSE. Female-identified, early 20's. A 19th-century English aristocrat, both beautiful, vivacious and self-absorbed, whose penchant for matchmaking leads to unwanted results and comic mishaps. With a lack of skill she tries to arrange marriages for those around her, while remaining clueless as to her own heart. Must be a classically trained actress, with outstanding comic timing and skilled at English dialects. An extremely vocally demanding role, she must have a thrilling alto voice and incredible vocal stamina. Some pop sensibility welcome. Role played in films by Kate Beckinsale and Gwyneth Paltrow.

MR. KNIGHTLEY. Male-identified, 35. A local land-owner and old friend of Emma Woodhouse and her family. A19th-Century English aristocrat with a strong moral center and a tendency to scold and lecture Emma on her lack of compassion for others. He must be handsome but in a slightly less obvious way so that we may still believe that Emma would prefer the far more handsome and dashing Frank Churchill. He must be a trained classical actor with a strong English dialect. He must possess outstanding comic talent and have a dry, dead pan wit. Vocally, he must have a thrilling Bari-tenor voice with some pop sensibility. Too legit a singer will not be the right match for the score. Film roles played by Jeremy Northam and Mark Strong.

HARRIET SMITH. Female-identified, early 20's. An awkward and shy girl, she is Emma's make-over project as she tries to find the perfect husband for her new friend. She has a pure and innocent heart and takes Emma's every word as Gospel. She is of a considerably lower class than Emma and her dialect and speech must reflect that inequality. It is essential that she be a superb comic actress with a quirky sensibility and an outstanding legit soprano voice. Film roles played by Toni Collette and Samantha Morton.

MR. ELTON. Male-identified, late 20s to early 30s. The new, young vicar of Highbury. Overly eager and sincere to the point of exaggeration. As the story progresses, his agreeable nature becomes overshadowed by pride and conceit. Requires strong singing voice and British dialect. Played by Alan Cumming in the film.

MRS. ELTON. Female-identified, 30's. Mr. Elton's new wife and an example of "new money." A snooty 19th-Century English aristocrat who is oblivious to her own over the top manner. She annoys everyone around her and always manages to say the wrong thing. She needs to be the comic spark in the second act and therefore be extremely funny with a hilarious pompous upper-class English dialect. She has no solo singing lines, but still must have a good voice. Either alto or soprano acceptable. Film role played by Juliet Stevenson.

MR. WESTON. Male-identified, 40's-50's. An early 19thCentury English gentleman and long-time family friend. A kind and sensible man, he is the only successful product of Emma's match-making skills. Even tempered and distinguished with a slightly dead pan sense of humor. No solo sung lines, but still must be a good singer with a fine English dialect. Tenor, baritone or bass all acceptable.

MRS. WESTON. Female-identified, 30's-40's. An early 19thCentury English governess. Elegant and graceful, she is Emma's former governess and the maternal influence in her life. Her only shortcoming is a tendency towards idle gossip. Now more friend than governess to Emma, she will always be Emma's mentor. Outstanding English dialect needed with good comic timing. Has one brief duet, great alto voice essential. Good pop sensibility welcome. Film role played by Gretta Scatcchi.

JANE FAIRFAX. Female-identified, 20's. Extremely beautiful and elegant, she is Emma's nemesis. Quiet and reserved she is everything Emma is not. Good hearted and misunderstood by Emma, she remains slightly mysterious and hard to read. She must possess an extraordinary coloratura soprano voice with a sophisticated English dialect essential.

ROBERT MARTIN. Male-identified, 20's. A simple farmer in 19thcentury England. Sweet and awkward he is almost unable to put two sentences together, but Harriet is smitten with him anyway by his gentle nature and puppy-dog love for her. Industrious and hard-working. Lacks the refinements of a "gentleman." Must have an outstanding tenor voice with great comic ability. Lower class English dialect essential.

FRANK CHURCHILL. Male-identified, 20's -30's. A 19th-century English aristocrat. Extremely handsome and dashing, he is both smooth and elegant with a pervasive and winning personality. He ultimately has the nuances of a scoundrel, but in the end we understand that his motivations were not as ominous as they first appeared. He must have a beautiful and magnificent round tenor voice with an outstanding English dialect essential. A vocal pop sensibility is a plus for this role. Film role played by Ewan McGregor.

MR. WOODHOUSE. Emma's middle-aged father, slightly negative in his perspective and a constant worrier, he is set in his routine and resistant to change. Must have a good voice for group singing and strong British dialect.

MISS BATES. Female-identified, late 30s to 40s. The middle-aged eccentric neighbor of the Woodhouse family, Miss Bates is a harmless and kind woman described as "neither young, handsome, rich, or married." Strong singing voice required for group singing and strong British dialect.

MRS. BATES. Female-identified, 60s to 70s. The mother of Miss Bates, elderly and hard-of-hearing. Requires a good voice for group singing and strong British dialect.

Time Commitment:
Contract begins: December 27, 2019
First preview: January 28, 2020
Opening: February 5, 2020
Closing: March 22, 2019 (including one-week extension)

Contact Info:
Headshot/Resume email submission to by 5:00 PM on Monday June 17th

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Posted Date: Jun 12, 2019