Auditions set for radio production of ‘Robin Hood’

Open auditions are scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 2, for Western Carolina University’s 2015 spring semester staged radio broadcast of “Robin Hood – The Legacy.”

The audition sessions will be held from 5 until 7 p.m. in Breese Gymnasium on the WCU campus.

The show, which will be produced in the style of the golden age of radio, features live music and sound effects and will be staged in the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Feb. 26.

Don Connelly, the show’s producer and writer, said the inspiration for “Robin Hood – The Legacy” came from the early English ballads of the 1200s and 1300s that chronicled the deeds of the kind-hearted outlaw that led to the legend. “We present the radio show just as it would have been produced for a network broadcast in 1938 at a theater with a large studio audience,” said Connelly, head of WCU’s Department of Communication.

Director Brenda Lilly will be casting 17 roles in the show, with parts for three women and 14 men. The roles range from that of a cantankerous English literature professor to Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Tuck, several monks, a nun and a young female attorney.

“This is a radio broadcast, and we are looking for a very broad range of character voices and some of those in the cast may play more than one role in the show if they have the ability,” said Lilly, assistant professor in the School of Stage and Screen.

Because “Robin Hood” is a radio play, no one needs to “look the part,” Lilly said. “A radio play is all about the actor’s voice. All of those things an actor learns to do with their body must be conveyed through their voice. It’s a different approach in that the actors will be working from scripts rather than memorizing their lines; both are equally challenging,” she said.

Those auditioning will be provided script cuttings the day of the audition and will read on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Robin Hood – The Legacy” is the seventh in a series of academic-based entertainment projects mounted in collaboration with several university departments. Lilly said what she likes most about WCU’s annual radio show productions is that, in the past, the show has drawn talent from the community, faculty, staff, students and regional professionals. “No one gets paid. This is truly a collaborative effort across the university and the community to showcase the artistic work and talents of everyone involved,” she said.

Bruce H. Frazier, WCU’s Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor of Commercial and Electronic Music, is composing an entirely new score for “Robin Hood.” The WCU Artist-In-Residence Orchestra program will provide musical accompaniment for the program.

“The ensemble represents a partnership with Western Carolina University and the Asheville Symphony where WCU students perform alongside professionals in a collaborative orchestral experience,” Frazier said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase the talents of the wind and percussion students in the School of Music in concert with professional string players in our region in some of the great masterworks for orchestra.”

The opening of the program features symphonic compositions including Benjamin Britten’s “Variations on a Theme of Purcell,” also known as the “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra,” and William Walton’s incidental music to the play “Henry V,” two important 20th-century works by notable British composers.

Tickets for “Robin Hood – The Legacy” go on sale in January at the Bardo Arts Center. Call the box office at 828-227-2479. The show starts promptly at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 26, and no one will be admitted after it has started.

For more information, contact Connelly at 828-227-3851 or dconnelly@wcu.edu.