Auditions: “Playing Juliet, Casting Othello”

by Caleen Sinnette Jennings
Directed by Eleanore Tapscott

The New Vistas Theatre Company sets out to put on Romeo and Juliet and Othello using a multi-racial cast. Wendy, the determined white director, has cast her long-time black friend, Georgia, in the role of Juliet. Tempers flare and friendships are strained when Jimmy, Georgia’s maintenance-man boyfriend, tries to prevent her from playing the role.  In a later production of Othello, Jimmy, now married to the pregnant Georgia, has grown accustomed to being a stand-in for the lead in rehearsals. Despite his lack of training, Wendy thinks Jimmy could perform the role of Othello in front of an audience.  The atmosphere is charged as Georgia vigorously opposes this casting.  In these companion one-acts, issues of race, class, gender, politics and nontraditional casting emerge as the Bard brings out surprising fears, animosities, love and laughter in this company of players.

Providence Players of Fairfax is:

  • A non-profit community theater troupe. All participation is on a volunteer basis. No members of the cast or crew are compensated.
  • A membership organization. Membership is not required to audition. If cast, all actors (and in fact, all volunteers), are required to become members of Providence Players of Fairfax ($25 per individual or $60 per family – three or more) for the season (if not already a member).

Urgent Casting Announcement

Providence Players is still seeking one male actor, African American, that can play a role in his 30s.  Providence Players is looking for one actor to play the role of “Jimmy” in its spring production of Playing Juliet and Casting Othello, by Caleen Sinnette Jennings.  If interested in the role, please send an email to to schedule an audition.

Download all three documents: Audition AnnouncementForm (in word and pdf) and Playing Juliet, Casting Othello Rehearsal Conflict Schedule.Auditions will take place in groups in one-hour increments.  Please RSVP to and indicate the date and time (just one slot, please) you wish to audition. Groups are filled on a first come first serve basis. QUESTIONS?  Email us at

The Director reserves the right to extend the audition period pending initial audition response.

Performance Dates and Times

Preview:   Thursday, June 9, 2022; 7:00 pm
Evening Performances:    Thursday, Friday, Saturday; June 10 – 25, 7:30 pm
Matinees:   Sundays, June 12  & 19, 2:00 pm

About the Director: Eleanore Tapscott

Eleanore Tapscott (Director) is a classically trained actress and director who has worked with various metro-DC theatres. She is also the executive director of the Actors Center, a nonprofit service organization created by and for actors in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Previous productions include Radio Golf for Peace Mountain Theatre, The Fantasticks and Fences for Little Theatre of Alexandria, The Bluest Eye for Dominion Stage, and By the Way, Meet Vera Stark for Colonial Players, Leading Ladies for Vienna Theatre Company, Bus Stop and The Count of Monte Cristo for ACCT.

From the Director, Eleanore Tapscott

This play reminds me of my early days as young actress auditioning and trying to get cast in classical plays not only because it was my training but because I loved the language of Shakespeare, Moliere, Shaw, et al. I found and appreciated those directors who were open to what was then called nontraditional casting and also ran into more than a few directors who kindly told me my acting was fine but I was not your typical ingenue and that roles for me in classical theatre would be those of maids and servants. I find this play extremely relevant today as theatres consider how to incorporate diversity and inclusion initiatives in front of and behind the curtain.  Playing Juliet/Casting Othello runs the gamut of emotions as the multi-ethnic company of New Vistas Theater deal with race and relationships while rehearsing two of the Bard’s most famous works. In Playing Juliet (PJ), the cast finds itself at odds with their leading lady, who can’t quite reconcile Shakespeare’s ideal of beauty with her own dark skin. Seven months later, issues of race and troubled love threaten to halt production while they’re casting Othello.

REHEARSALS:  Download a copy of the Theater Access Schedule for this show.  This is NOT the specific rehearsal schedule (which will be supplied by the Stage Manager), but it will give you an idea for the commitment you are making – rehearsal space and performance – and how to identify conflicts.

A copy of the preliminary stage rehearsal schedule is included with this announcement and will be available online and at auditions. First read-thru will be scheduled the week of April 11 and will be in-person. In addition to the stage rehearsal schedule, additional full cast readings/text work of the play will take place, via Zoom, evenings the weeks of April 18 and 25.  Additional in-person rehearsals will be held the week of May 2. Unless indicated otherwise, all other rehearsals will happen at the James Lee Community Center. Rehearsals will be held in the evenings roughly from 6:30/6:45 to 9:45pm. and on Saturdays and Sundays as indicated.

Please come to auditions prepared to list any availability conflicts with rehearsal or the performance schedule.  Space is provided on the audition form for this purpose.

About the Play


New Vistas, a tiny theatre outside of a major U.S. city.


The present


Notes on character ages:  Actors should be able to believably play people in the listed age ranges.PJ = Playing Juliet (first act of the show); CO = Casting Othello (second act of the show).

  • LORRAINE: Female, light-skinned African American, plays NURSE (PJ) and BIANCA and Production Stage Manager (CO), 20’s-30’s
  • CHRIS: Male, Caucasian, plays ROMEO (PJ) and CASSIO and Director (CO), 20’s-30’s. Eager to prove himself after a disappointing sojourn in Hollywood.
  • WENDY: Caucasian, plays Director (PJ) and DESDEMONA (CO), Early 30’s. Overly anxious to make a statement with her production of Romeo and Juliet.
  • GEORGIA: Female, dark-skinned African-American, plays JULIET (PJ) and EMILIA (CO), 20’s-30’s. Seriously concerned about her acting career and playing Juliet because her boyfriend does not support her interest in theatre and because she does not fit the ‘traditional’ image of an ingenue.
  • DAVID: Male, Caucasian, plays CAPULET and Production Stage Manager (PJ) and IAGO (CO), experienced classical actor and director. 40’s. Has serious concerns with Wendy’s direction of Romeo and Juliet.
  • JIMMY: Male, African-American, Georgia’s boyfriend, smart, working class non-actor, 30’s. Has no tolerance for theatre until he is bitten by the bug while standing in for Othello.

Additional Audition Information/Instructions:

  • HOW WE WORK: Most Providence auditions have actors up and down to read multiple times in multiple combinations and scenes. Most actors find this fun. As space allows, you will be able to watch the auditions. You may be asked to go outside with audition partners and work a bit on a scene. We will do our best to get you up multiple times reading for parts you are interested in. You will also be asked to read for other parts you may not be auditioning for. The Providence Players strives to make our productions open to interested and engaged actors & actresses, regardless of their level of experience. We try and make our auditions as relaxing and fun as possible.
  • AUDITION PROCESS & SIDES: Auditions will consist of readings from the script. No monologue required. Sides for the audition process will be supplied at auditions. There will be a brief movement/improv exercise.
  • AUDITION FORM: Please ALSO COMPLETE the attached Providence Audition Form and bring it with you to the audition. Resumes and headshots will be accepted but are not required. We may ask to take a picture of you, but this is for internal use only and will not be shared.

We look forward to seeing you at Auditions!