Crimes of the Heart

By Beth Henley
Directed by Molly Hood

It is October 1974, and the three Magrath sisters gather at the family home in Hazelhurst, Mississippi to await news of the family patriarch, their grandfather, who is living out his last hours in the local hospital. The sisters must confront their desires, sanity, pasts, and futures in this warm-hearted, zany, irreverent play that teems with humanity and humor. Winner of the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

"While this play overflows with infectious high spirits, it is also, unmistakably, the tale of a very troubled family. Such is Miss Henley's prodigious talent that she can serve us pain as though it were a piece of cake."
—The New York Times

When: Monday, Aug. 28 at 6:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Aug. 29 at 6:30 p.m.
It is strongly preferred that you attend the initial auditions on Monday. Callbacks will immediately follow Tuesday night’s auditions, at approximately 7 p.m.

Where: Pridemore Playhouse, Porterfield Hall

What to Prepare:

  • A memorized 1-2 minute monologue, preferably from a modern (1960-present) American play.
  • For call backs, be prepared for readings from the script (the script is available through the Twentieth Century North American Drama Database, which all RU students have free access to through the library and their RU account credentials.)
  • Bring your complete class and work schedule for Sept. 3 through Oct 8. Cast and crew will have to miss some class on Wednesday Oct. 4 for a matinee for local schools.

Seeking: 6 focused performers (4 women and 2 men) with proficiency in dialect work (specifically Mississippi southern, but modern – not 1800s southern), and an aptitude for dramatic works and dark comedy.

Available Roles:

  • Lenny Magrath: 30, the oldest sister. Shoulders most of the family responsibility. It is her birthday, but no one has remembered. Capable and lonely.
  • Meg Magrath: 27, the middle sister. Trying to be a singer in Hollywood. Once had a relationship with Doc Porter. Smokes and sings in the show.
  • Babe Botrelle: 24, the youngest sister. Unhappily married to Zackary Botrelle (richest, most powerful man in the county), and having an affair. Angelic and fierce.
  • Chick Boyle: 29, the sisters’ first cousin. Only child. Married with two children. Member of the Ladies Social League. Bit of a gossip.
  • Doc Porter: 30, Meg’s old boyfriend. Married with two children. Back in town to handle the estate of his father, who recently passed. Walks with slight limp.
  • Barnette Lloyd: 26, Babe’s lawyer. New to the profession. Went to boarding school. Has a score to settle. Intelligent. Intense. Strong willed.

Questions? Contact Molly Hood at

Speech & Debate

By Stephen Karam
Director: Christopher Phillips

When: Thursday, Aug. 31 and Friday, Sept. 1 at 6:30 p.m.. Callbacks to follow auditions on Sept. 1.

Where: Hawes Studio Theatre, Porterfield Hall

What: Looking for actors who are not afraid to tackle big issues, like the characters in the play. Please bring a prepared monologue in the tone of the play, one minute to a minute and a half in length. Come dressed as you would for a professional audition and bring clothes that are comfortable to move around in that you can change into. Also, bring your class/work schedule for the fall semester. Be sure to read the play before auditions as callbacks will consist of readings from the script and you will give a stronger audition if you understand what you are reading.


  • Howie: 18 – a new student in Salem, Oregon. Does not yet have any friends. Very set in who he is. Gay. Stubborn. Calm.
  • Diwata: 17 – a quirky, high-strung girl. Highly dramatic and theatrical. Filipino. Singer. Dancer.
  • Solomon: 16 – a boy after a story, yet his ability to print the real topics is being repressed by the adults of the community. Gay, but his religious parents continuously try and “cure” him.
  • Teacher/Reporter: two characters that will be played by the same actress. Teacher is repressing Solomon’s ability to print controversial stories. Reporter comes to interview the Speech and Debate team the three teenaged characters have created.

This Play: The community of the play represses young minds and freedom of expression. To combat this, the characters create a Speech and Debate team to expose a scandal and speak their minds. I feel this play talks about real problems for young people in today’s time: inappropriate relationships between students and teachers, and freedom of expression, and homosexual repression. The playwright, Stephen Karam, has written the three main characters as high schoolers to show that these issues affect them just as much, if not more, than adults.

Please read the play and direct any questions to the director, Christopher Phillips at:

This play will begin rehearsals early/mid-September and perform Oct. 25-29. Thank you,
Christopher Phillips

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse

Adapted by Kevin Kling, Based on the books by Kevin Henkes

When: Sunday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. and Monday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m. Callbacks willimmediately follow Monday night’s initial auditions, at approximately 8 p.m.

Where: Pridemore Playhouse, Porterfield Hall

What: Lilly loves everything about school, especially her cool teacher, Mr. Slinger. But when he confiscates her prized possession a purple plastic purse that plays music, joy turns to misery. Lilly, who is used to being the brightest and loudest mouse around, will also have to get used to sharing the spotlight with her new baby brother in this adaptation of Kevin Henkes' award-winning children's book.

Please come with a 1-2 minute monologue that shows larger than life ability (bonus points if that involves you playing an animal). Be prepared for readings from the script, voice/movement/ensemble work and live/foley sound effects play as well.

BRING ANY “INSTRUMENT” YOU CAN PLAY (guitar, flute, triangle, plastic bottles, spoons, get creative!). Please bring or wear comfortable clothes and sturdy shoes. Have your complete class and work schedule for October 16th through December 6th with you (there will be time off for Thanksgiving Break). Performers and crew members will have to miss some classes on Dec. 1, 4, 5 and 6 in order to perform for area children.

Seeking: 8-12 physical performers with character voices who can personify mice characters, making them leap from the page to the stage. Some roles will be doubled.

Most actors will also be performing live/foley sound effects and/or musical instruments

as well. Available roles are:

  • LILLY: precocious young mouse with furious energy and enthusiasm for everything
  • WILSON: Lilly’s friend, wise, odd, loving and capable of great creativity
  • CHESTER: Lilly’s friend, wise, odd, loving and capable of great creativity
  • ENSEMBLE of actors who play:
  • MOTHER: patient and kind, but more of the disciplinarian when required
  • FATHER: typical parent, but playful
  • JULIUS: Lilly’s baby brother, likely a puppet/voiceover role
  • MR. SLINGER: the coolest teacher ever
  • GARLAND: Lilly’s cousin, a total diva
  • GRAMMY: a fashionable and fun old lady
  • STORE CLERK: fancy and perhaps French
  • BULLIES/STUDENTS: typical meany-heads, who also go to school
  • PREGNANT LADY: a passerby with a bump
  • FBI PERSONS: imaginary authority figures

Please direct any questions to director Robyn Berg at


  • Auditions typically happen in the first two weeks of each semester. Occasionally an exception occurs in which a spring production may audition late in the fall semester.
  • RU Theatre auditions are open, meaning anyone can audition. You don’t have to be a theatre major. Community members may audition also with the understanding that priority in casting will go to RU students.
  • Most of our auditions require prepared material. If you are not a theatre student and don’t know how to prepare and present the requested material, usually something will be supplied to you to read. Theatre majors, however, are required to prepare according to the requirements for a given audition. In the case of plays requiring very specific skills such as singing in a musical, auditionees are highly encouraged to prepare the appropriate material.
  • Performance majors are required to audition for ALL productions. More on this below. 

Other audition “words to the wise”:

  • When it comes to auditions, one of the few things in your control is your level of preparation.  Reading the play is, arguably, the most important thing you can do to prepare. The plays are available from bookstores, online vendors and/or the play publishers. 
  •  It is the expectation that all performance students audition for all shows. Our auditions are designed to provide a variety of audition experiences so take advantage of these experiences right from the start. Every audition is one more step toward becoming comfortable with the process. In addition, it allows the faculty to see your work right away.
  • Take care not to “type” yourself at this point. Prepare, come on out and let the directors decide what you are “right for.” Certainly, if there is a role you are dying to play, or you are “perfect for,” shoot for that, but keep an open mind and don’t allow the attitude of “all these characters are older and I am only 18” stop you from coming to auditions. In university theatre the plays are produced to give you the opportunity to work on them.
  • Auditions are intimidating. Talk to the upperclassmen; use the performance faculty as a resource to answer your questions. However, no matter how much inquiry you make there will be no substitute for doing your personal preparation –reading the scripts, looking up unfamiliar words/references, making choices, being familiar with what the director is looking for (read audition notices carefully), getting rest, planning to dress appropriately, knowing where you are going and arriving early to sign in, warm up, etc.
  • It is smart to attend the first night of auditions if at all possible.
  • Once you are in the audition it is important to listen to instructions, have a positive attitude, be flexible when the unexpected happens, focus on what you are doing, and, of course, that age-old challenge…allow yourself to be at ease so you can do your best work.