Community Players Announces Auditions for
Miss Firecracker Contest
By Beth Henley
Auditions for FCP’s production of The Miss Firecracker Contest by Beth Henley will be
held on Saturday, December 13, 2014, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Monday,
December 15, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at The Salvation Army (1414
Sevierville Rd., Maryville, TN, 37804). Auditionees can come either day.
Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. Auditionees should bring a resume and
headshot to the audition. A digital photo will be taken before sign-in for
those who don’t bring a headshot. All auditionees should be prepared to list any
conflicts that may exist during the rehearsal and performance period at the
Those cast will be given scripts so that they may immediately begin learning
their lines. Rehearsals will not begin
until February, however, there will likely be one or two read-throughs during
the month of January. Once the show is cast, actors will be given a schedule of
the actual dates and times for rehearsal.
Performances will be March 19 – 22, 2014 at the Clayton Center for the Arts,
in Maryville, TN. Michael Higdon will direct the production.
The place is the small Mississippi town of Brookhaven, the time a few days
before the Fourth of July. Carnelle Scott is rehearsing furiously for the Miss
Firecracker Contest—hoping that a victory will salvage her tarnished reputation
and allow her to leave town in a blaze of glory. Her preparations, however, are
interrupted by the unexpected arrival of her cousin Elain, a former Miss
Firecracker winner, who recently walked out on her husband and two
children. Further complicating matters is
the repeated threat of Elain’s eccentric brother, Delmount, to sell the family
homestead and decamp for New Orleans. But, aided by a touchingly awkward
seamstress named Popeye and several other cheerfully nutty characters, Carnelle
perseveres—leading to a denouement of unparalleled hilarity, compassion and
moving lyricism as all concerned finally escape their unhappy pasts and turn
hopefully toward what must surely be a better future.
Roles are available for four females and two males. All characters must have
a natural-sounding Southern accent.
Carnelle Scott (20s) –
Likely the most enthusiastic, hard-working contestant in Miss Firecracker
history, Carnelle wants very much to win the pageant to prove that she’s a
changed person and no longer the girl townspeople have cruelly nicknamed “Miss Hot
Tamale.” Carnelle has a heart of gold – someone who only sees good in others,
while sometimes failing to see the good in herself. Carnelle briefly wears a swimsuit (it will be
a tasteful, one-piece) during the show, so the actress playing this role should
be comfortable in appearing onstage in such attire. Carnelle also has fire red hair, and ideally
the actress playing this role will be willing to color her hair for the run of
Popeye Jackson (20s-early
30s) – Carnelle’s seamstress, Popeye is a local country girl who gets caught up
in the pageant madness. A funny
character with a hard life, Popeye got her nickname from a childhood prank that
caused her eyes to bulge, but left her with the ability to hear through her
eyes. She learned to sew as a child by making outfits for bullfrogs because she
didn’t have any dolls. Wide-eyed and
innocent, she falls in love with Delmount.
Elain Rutledge (30s-early
40s) – Carnelle’s first cousin, Elain is a local beauty who won the Miss
Firecracker Contest when she was 17.
Since then, she has moved away and married a wealthy man only to find
herself dissatisfied and unfulfilled. A
sometimes shallow woman who wants desperately to break out of the small world
she has built for herself, she returns home to sort out her life only to get
caught up in helping Carnelle prepare for the pageant.
Delmount Williams (late
20s-early 30s) – Carnelle’s first cousin and Elain’s brother, Delmount returns
to town to sell his mother’s house. Extremely well-spoken and intellectual, he
fancies himself a philosopher but, at the same time, is somewhat unstable with
a history of rash actions. He also has an obsession with classical beauty yet
is repulsed by both the phoniness of the pageant and the shallow life his
sister Elain has made for herself. He entrances Popeye with his ability to
wiggle his ears and write poetry.
Tessy Mahoney (20s) – The
beauty pageant coordinator, Tessy is described as “the uglier of T.S. Mahoney’s
two ugly daughters.” A high-strung, shrill young woman, she is obsessed with
keeping the pageant on track. In the
past, she had a scandalous tryst with Delmount and, despite the outward anger
she projects at him over the incident, seems determined for a repeat
performance. This role requires a strong
comedienne, who is comfortable being made to look unattractive. Tessy only appears in Act II, so this role is
ideal for someone looking for a smaller role.
Mac Sam (late 20s-mid 30s)
– Known as the balloon man, Mac Sam is one of Carnelle’s former lovers. He
seems to truly care about her and cheers her on as she competes in the beauty
contest. A complex and touching character, Sam is described as “thin,
stoop-shouldered, and in drastically poor health,” but at the same time, “there
is something extraordinarily sensual about him.” Mac Sam only appears in Act II,
so this role is ideal for someone looking for a smaller role.
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