Directed by: Elizabeth Perkins
Audition Dates: September 18th at 2:00PM and September 19th at 5:00PM.
CAST SIZE: 7 men, 2 Women
Show Dates: January 14-30, 2022
18-year-old Eugene Morris Jerome from Brooklyn, is drafted into the United States Army during World War II and is sent to Biloxi, Mississippi for basic training. There he meets a diverse assortment of soldiers, including the gentle and intelligent Arnold Epstein, who is the play’s central figure. The piece portrays Epstein’s struggle for power with middle-aged, hard-drinking platoon leader Sergeant Merwin J. Toomey.
AUDITION REQUIREMENTS: Auditions will consist of cold readings of the script. If auditioning for one of the soldiers in the play, please be prepared to do 10 push-ups. Please bring a headshot or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to your audition. You may prefill the audition form and bring it or it may be filled out upon arrival. Auditions will begin promptly at the times listed above. You only need to attend one session. If callbacks are needed, they will be scheduled for one evening the week after the audition.
Eugene Morris Jerome
Eugene Morris Jerome, an Army recruit from Brooklyn, New York. Eugene is a young Jewish man who aspires to be a writer. He fervently records his deepest thoughts and impressions in his journal, often leaving himself more an observer than a participant in human interactions. He does have principles—respect, compassion, and open-mindedness—but he is hesitant to act on them. He always sees the lighter side of life, and he enlists his quick and acerbic wit to ease him through difficult situations. Having lived a sheltered life, Eugene is eager and determined to lose his virginity and fall in love. At least at the beginning of the play, he does not quite know the difference.
Arnold Epstein, an Army recruit from Queens, New York. Epstein is a stubborn Jewish intellectual who has very strong principles and absolutely refuses to compromise them. He has a nervous stomach and resents being in basic training, and he cannot understand why rigorous discipline and blind obedience are considered superior to respect and compassion in the shaping of soldiers. He immediately identifies Toomey as his enemy and squares off for a fierce battle. To Epstein, life is serious business, a continuous moral quandary. He is clever and sardonic, but rarely light-spirited. When humiliated, and even when beaten on his own terms, he accepts defeat stoically.
Joseph Wykowski, a recruit of Polish background from Bridgeport, Connecticut, with a stomach of steel and an irrepressible sex drive. Wykowski accepts the rigors of Army discipline without question: To him it is a game that, like any game, he can win. He is decidedly nonintellectual and occasionally anti-Semitic, and he has no patience for moral ruminations. He is the self-proclaimed leader of the platoon. His simple strength and basic clear vision validate his arrogance.
Roy Selridge, a recruit from Schenectady, New York. Selridge is a young man with an engaging, though often overbearing, sense of humor. He falls in behind Wykowski as a coarse masculine voice in the group but ultimately lacks the courage to speak out or stand alone. Though his bravado is often hollow, his spirit is always generous and optimistic.
Donald Carney, a recruit from Montclair, New Jersey. Carney loves to sing—he sings in his sleep—and dreams of becoming a recording star. He is basically honest and good-natured but thoughtful to a fault: He has a hard time making decisions. He is faithful to his fiancée in Albany but views the prospect of marriage with serious trepidation.
James Hennesey, another recruit. He is a timid young man, relatively innocent and humorless. He misses his family but seems to be adapting well enough to Army life until he is discovered in a homosexual liaison with another soldier.
Merwyn J. Toomey
Merwyn J. Toomey, the sergeant overseeing the platoon’s basic training. Toomey is a hard-boiled Southern military man who knows how to deal with trickery and back talk. He pits the recruits against one another to subjugate them to Army discipline. He accepts the special challenge that Epstein directs at him and determines to win the battle of wills. He has a steel plate in his head, a souvenir from the North African campaign, that accounts for his wholehearted commitment to the rigorous treatment of his soldiers, his sublimated sense of sadness and doom, and, ultimately, his premature retirement from active duty.
Rowena, a Biloxi prostitute. Rowena is direct and realistic: She is a happily married woman whose business is satisfying the sexual needs of young soldiers and peddling perfume and lingerie for them to send home to their girlfriends.
Daisy Hannigan, a local Catholic schoolgirl. Daisy is friendly, pretty, innocent, and dutiful. the daughter of a journalist from Chicago, she likes books and is enchanted with Eugene’s literary aspirations.