Auditions for The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940

Published 5:14 pm Saturday, April 30, 2022

The next production at Waterworks will be The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, by John Bishop, and will be co-directed by Scott C. Chapman and Caitlin Linkins.

Auditions are open to the public at Waterworks Player Theatre located at 25 SMI Way in Farmville, May 9 and 10 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. The auditions will consist of cold readings from the script; actors will be asked to attempt the appropriate accents as listed below.

Rehearsals will begin on June 12, with evening performances July 22, 23, 29 and 30, and a matinee on July 24.

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A synopsis from Dramatists Play Service notes:

The creative team responsible for a Broadway flop (in which three chorus girls were murdered by the mysterious “Stage Door Slasher”) assemble for a backer’s audition of their new show at the Westchester estate of a wealthy “angel.” The house is replete with sliding panels, secret passageways, and a German maid who is apparently four different people—all of which figure diabolically in the comic mayhem which follows when the infamous “Slasher” makes a reappearance and strikes again. As the composer, lyricist, actors and director prepare their performance, a blizzard cuts off any possible retreat, bodies start to drop in plain sight, knives spring out of nowhere, masked figures drag their victims behind swiveling bookcases, and accusing fingers point in all directions.

Available roles: five male, four female, one any – ages are suggested but not a must. Adult actors of any age and any race/ethnicity are encouraged to audition. All roles are available at this time.

• Helsa Wenzel – maid at the Grossenknueten mansion. Can be played by a person of any gender identity – presents feminine for the majority of the show. German accent required. 30s-40s.

• Elsa Von Grossenknueten – owner of the mansion and a financial backer of the musical “White House Merry-Go-Round.” Flair for the dramatic and extremely eccentric. 40s and up.

• Patrick O’Reilly – a singer. Suspicious, mysterious, claims to be an Irish tenor. Irish accent; later German accent. 30s and up.

• Ken De La Maize – archetypal director, self-absorbed, and egotistical. 40s and up.

• Nikki Crandall – a typical chorus girl, preferably blonde. Smarter than she looks. Mid-20s and up

• Eddie McCuen – Struggling out-of-work comedian, unwittingly becomes the romantic lead. Should be charming and likable. Mid-20s and up.

• Marjorie Baverstock – a Broadway producer. Dresses and carries herself like royalty. Full of theatrical gestures and language. Mid-40s and up.

• Roger Hopewell – composer for “White House Merry-Go-Round.” Outrageous, flamboyant, gay, quick-witted, highly-strung songwriting partner of Bernice. A piano player, or a good “faker.” Mid-30s and up.

• Bernice Roth – perpetually intoxicated lyricist, she is Roger’s musical partner and foil. Dresses like a gypsy dancer. Odd and emotional, frequently loses her composure. Mid-30s and up.

• Michael Kelly – an undercover cop. Tough, no-nonsense attitude. Ideally, African American. 30s and up.

COVID-19 policies: Everyone is encouraged to wear a mask or equivalent face covering (nose and mouth) to auditions. Waterworks Players requires that all performers are fully vaccinated before beginning rehearsals (bring vaccine cards to the auditions; photos of cards are OK).

If you have any questions about auditions or the show, please contact  them via the Facebook page or at