Power House reaches out for local talent

Auditions this weekend seek to match local talent with several shows planned for this year.

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WALLA WALLA - Have the acting chops for Shakespeare? How about a voice that can shine as an opening act?

Shakespeare Walla Walla is holding auditions next weekend that could land local thespians and other performers a spot on the Elizabethan stage.

The auditions are coming in tandem with the organization's announcement of its 2012 season.

Theater officials have said the transformation of the Power House Theatre into a year-round attraction for theater-lovers could eventually help build Walla Walla as a talent hub, too. A vision expressed for years down the road has included a Walla Walla acting company. Nevertheless, it hasn't taken long to tap the existing talent pool to see if local actors and actresses might be perfect for some parts.

During Tourism Walla Walla's annual meeting earlier this month, Shakespeare Walla Walla Managing Director Harry Hosey said the goal in the open auditions is to be all-inclusive with area performers.

"If the quality matches their peers in New York, California (and other places from where the performers live or train), they will be on the stage," Hosey told an audience of tourism stakeholders.

This year's season includes an array of musical performances, as well as drama, romance and more. Among the shows: Feb. 10-26 performances from a quartet of guys known as the "Four Tenors." The act is directed by Sunny Thompson, who starred in the one-woman show "Marilyn: Forever Blonde!"

Other Shakespearean plays on the schedule include "Romeo and Juliet" and "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)."

For all three, auditions will take place this weekend at the theater, Sixth Avenue and Rose Street.

Artistic Director Stephanie Shine will audition prospective company members by appointment only from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Callbacks will begin at 4 p.m.

Those interested in scheduling an appointment should email a cover letter, headsot and rsum with two preferred audition hours - such as 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. - to auditions2012@ShaWaWa.org. A return email confirming the audition time will be sent. Any questions about auditions can be submitted via email.

Audition appointments will be about five minutes. Actors should be prepared to perform two contrasting monologues/soliloquies from any of Shakespeare's plays, though there may only be time for one piece, according to details from Shakespeare Walla Walla. Actors should choose pieces they like and can perform well. Organizers request no sonnets. At least one of the pieces must be in verse. Singers should come prepared to sing 16 bars of a standard song without accompaniment. Actors should bring two copies of their headshots and rsums.

Rehearsal and performance commitments run July 3-Aug. 26 with a possible one-week extension through Sept. 2. Mondays are days off. Rehearsals run afternoons into the late evenings; performances are evenings with weekend afternoon matinees.

All positions are paid and are nonequity. Actors must be at least 18 by July 3. Stipend intern acting positions are available. Students from the local colleges are encouraged to audition.

Video auditions will continue Sunday for the musical revue "Four Tenors." They'll run 1-4 p.m. at the theater.

Producers need a female singer/guitarist to cover two or three pop standards as an "opening act." They also need a female jazz dancer to perform one choreographed number with the Four Tenors.

Thompson will make the final selection from the videos. There will be no callbacks. Each audition should be five minutes long. Video and sound will be set up on stage and provided by the theater. Video files can be submitted separately to gtpwa@yahoo.com by noon Jan. 23.

The singer can be someone who can accompany herself solo on guitar or a classical guitarist who should play one of her favorites. Five or six song titles should be submitted. Singers can perform a verse and a chorus of two songs; a classical guitarist can play two to three minutes of a few of their best pieces.

The female jazz dancer should perform barefoot with a modern jazz piece to "Lady in Red," the pop tune from the movie of the same name. Copies of rsums with contact information and headshots should be presented. The "Four Tenors" show will include 13-18 performances. Pay is $20 per performance.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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