Mendocino College announces open auditions for the musical ONCE

November 29, 2022

Mendocino College announces open auditions for the musical 'Once'

Mendocino College will hold open auditions for all performers wishing to be a part of the college’s Spring 2023 production of the musical Once.   Auditions will be in the college Center Theatre on Saturday, December 10th starting at 10 AM.  The college will collaborate with the Ukiah Players Theatre in casting for Alice in Wonderland.  On December 10, actors will have the opportunity to audition for both plays and to be seen by college Once director Reid Edelman and UPT’s Alice director Chris Douthit.  Everybody is welcome and no prior experience is required.  Once will be performed March 23-April 2, 2023 at Mendocino College’s Center Theatre. Alice will run April 6-30 at the Ukiah Playhouse.

Written by Enda Walsh and with music by Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglová, Once tells the story of a guy who gave up on love and music, and the girl who inspired him to dream again. The show is based on the motion picture of the same title. Set in Dublin, the musical is about the relationship between an Irish street musician/Hoover vacuum repairman whose heart stops in its tracks when he meets a Czech pianist with a vacuum needing repair. It is a story of two people who share a moment in time that changes them forever, a moment that happened “once.” It is a powerful and moving celebration of humanity and music.

For Once auditions, actors should, if possible, prepare to sing one of the songs from the show (either “If You Want Me,” “Leave,” or “Falling Slowly”).  Song tracks and sheet music for these songs are available in advance of the auditions by contacting director Reid Edelman at redelman@mendcino.edu or music director Phillip Lenberg at plenberg@mendocino.edu.

Ideally, the college is seeking multi-talented performers who can sing, dance, act, and play a musical instrument.  The leading male actor must play guitar well and the leading female actor must play piano well. Other roles are more flexible in this regard. A variety of instruments are possible in the show, but in particular, people who can play guitar, piano, violin, bass, cello, accordion, and drum set are needed.  If you play an instrument, please bring your instrument to the auditions, and be prepared to show the directors what you can do!  If possible, actors should accompany themselves with their instrument on one of the selected songs.  At the auditions, performers will also learn a dance routine with choreographer Eryn Schon-Brunner, so performers should wear comfortable clothes in which they can move freely.

Edelman emphasizes, “All are welcome at the auditions regardless of whether or not they play instruments, so if you want to be a part of this show, please come.  If you cannot play an instrument, we may still be able to use you in a non-instrumental role.  In addition, if you cannot learn a song to sing in advance, we can teach you something.  Just come!”  Actors will receive dialect training from a vocal coach, and dance training from a choreographer. The production also seeks a variety of backstage crew positions, including a stage manager and two assistant stage managers as well as prop, lighting, and costume crew.

Edelman hopes to cast an ensemble of approximately 20 performers. The principal roles needed are listed below.  The actors playing Girl, Reza, Baruska, Svec, and Andrej will learn Czech (Eastern European) accents.  Other characters will have Irish accents.

  • Girl: Female, 20-35. Mezzo-Soprano. Direct, intelligent, no-nonsense, and witty. Should have something ‘other’ about her. Has had to work hard at life but does not think she deserves any sympathy. Must play the piano and sing extremely well.
  • Guy: Male, 25-40. Baritone. A struggling Irish musician. Lost and a bit sad, but extremely appealing. Works with his Da in a vacuum repair shop. Must sing and play guitar extremely well.
  • Billy: Male, 30-49. Baritone. A large Irish man. Owner of the music store where Girl plays piano. Opinionated and loyal to those he cares about. Plays guitar.
  • Reza: Female, 25-29. Soprano. Girl's vivacious and flirtatious roommate. Plays violin, though the instrument is flexible. She is a talented dancer. 
  • Baruska: Female, 45+. Alto. Mother of Girl. Likes a full house and full stomachs. Uninhibited. Ideally sings and plays the accordion well.
  • Bank Manager: Gender flexible, 30-50. Corporate on the outside, but artistic on the inside. Plays guitar and cello.
  • Da: Male, 50+. Vocal type open. Guy’s dad. A man of few words, but a lovely and caring father. Ideally plays guitar and/or other instruments.
  • Svec: Male, 20-39. Baritone. Girl's quirky roommate. Loves television and coffee. Ideally plays guitar and drum kit extremely well.
  • Andrej: Male, 20-29. Baritone. Earnest and kind. An employee at a fast food chain, but has big dreams. Ideally plays guitar and bass guitar.
  • Eamon: Male, 20-49. Baritone. Manager of the Dublin music studio where Guy and Girl record their album. A tough demeanor but eventually gives in to the musicians’ talents. Ideally sings and plays guitar (and piano).
  • Emcee: Male, 20-49. Baritone. Host of an open mic at a Dublin pub. Plays guitar.
  • Ex-Girlfriend: Female, 20-39. Mezzo-Soprano. Guy's ex-girlfriend. Wanting a better life, she moved from Dublin to New York. Plays violin. 

Auditions will be held in the Mendocino College Center Theatre, 1000 Hensley Creek Road, Ukiah. Actors should arrive at 10 AM and plan to stay the full time if needed. For more information, contact Reid Edelman at 468-3172 or e-mail redelman@mendocino.edu.