‘Big River’ auditions this week

The Surry Arts Council will host auditions for its upcoming show “Big River” on Tuesday and Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Andy Griffith Playhouse.

Show dates for the production are July 30, 31 and August 1. The show features a variety of parts including 14 men, seven women, and an array of townspeople, slaves, and ensemble members of different ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities. Men, women, teens, and children are all encouraged to audition.

Those auditioning will be asked to sing. Those auditioning may prepare a 16 bar piece showcasing their vocal range and strength. All will be asked to read selected scenes from the show. Anyone interested in costuming, lighting design, staging, set-building, or any form of technical assistance is encouraged to attend auditions and pick up an interest form.

Rory Gilbert, a recent graduate of the UNC School of the Arts Directing program, will be making his debut with the Surry Arts Players. He has extensive experience in musical theatre and choreography. Joining him is John Adams, returning after recently directing “Driving Miss Daisy.” Adams is the director of “Smoke on the Mountain” which will open in September.

The director of music for “Big River” is former Jones School librarian and mystery writer Jane Tesh, who has been involved with community theater productions since 1975. Morgan Meadows has joined the staff of the Surry Arts Council this summer and will be the stage manager.

“Big River” is a 1984 Tony Award winning musical based on the Mark Twain classic “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” written a century earlier. It features a variety of bluegrass and country music to highlight its setting in the Antebellum South, and follows Huckleberry Finn and his friend, a runaway slave named Jim, as they journey down the Mississippi River running away from problems and people alike.

The show will be performed at the Andy Griffith Playhouse on Saturday, July 30 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, July 31 at 3 p.m. and Monday August 1 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $15. Tickets are available online at www.surryarts.org or by calling 336-786-7998.

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