Before the curtain is ready to raise this winter, Center Stage at Southampton Cultural Center will hold open auditions for upcoming performances of Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart on Tuesday, October 24 and Wednesday, October 25 at 6 p.m. at SCC’s Levitas Center for the Arts. Actors will be expected to begin promptly at these times with readings from the script. Crimes of the Heart will be directed by Joan M. Lyons and performances will run from Friday, January 12 through Sunday, January 28.
Crimes of the Heart takes place in Hazlehurst, Mississippi where the three Magrath sisters have gathered to await news of the family patriarch, their grandfather, who is living out his last hours at the local hospital. The eldest sister, Lenny, is 30-years-old and unmarried. Meg, the middle sister, has quickly outgrown Hazlehurst and is back after a failed singing career on the West Coast. Babe, the youngest sister, is out on bail after having shot her husband in the stomach. Each sister is at a very different place in their life, though their circumstances are grave and somehow depicted hilariously by their priggish cousin, Chick. An awkward young lawyer tries to keep Babe out of jail, while helplessly falling in love with her. By the end of the play, the young characters escape their past to seize the future.
This was the first of Henley’s professionally produced plays. It opened at the Actors Theatre of Louisville in 1978 where it was declared the co-winner of a new American play contest. The play then moved on to the New York stage and was produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club. Crimes of the Heart won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1981 as well as the award for Best American Play of 1981 from the New York Drama Critics’ Circle. The play also earned Henley a nomination for a Tony Award, and her screenplay for the film adaptation was nominated for an Oscar as Best Adapted Screenplay. Henley has stated that growing up with three sisters was a major inspiration for Crimes of the Heart. Other plays penned by Henley include The Miss Firecracker Contest, Ridiculous Fraud and Family Week.
“It took me two years to obtain the rights to produce this play,” Lyons noted. “It was and will be worth the wait.”
The roles being cast include Lenny (female, 30) – responsible, yet lonely. She is celebrating her birthday; Meg (female 27) – the middle sister, was wild in high school, left for California to pursue her singing career, and breaks hearts along the way; Babe (female, 24) – sweet, a bit crazy, and naïve; Chick (female, 29) – the first cousin to the McGrath sisters. She exudes a superficial Southern charm, is self-absorbed, and obsessed with appearances. Doc (male, 30) – Meg’s ex-boyfriend who has recently returned to Hazelhurst, but is now married to a Yankee with children. Barnette (male, 26) – Babe’s lawyer who is bright and ambitious, though he holds grudges and wants revenge.
For more information or a script, email [email protected].
The Levitas Center for the Arts is located at 25 Pond Lane in Southampton. For more information, call 631-287-4377 or visit www.scc-arts.org.