Auditions Being Held for Marshall County Line

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Audition Notice

The SUNY Sullivan Theater Program is proud to announce auditions for MARSHALL COUNTY LINE by SUNY Sullivan professor Gabe Rikard.* A new jam-band musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s MEASURE FOR MEASURE.

*Directed by Jessica López-Barkl, Assistant Professor of Theater and Speech at SUNY Sullivan.


Wednesday-Friday, January 25-27, from 6-9PM*.
*Callbacks will occur, if needed.


Call for an appointment (505)270-6220, or drop-ins are permitted.


The Seelig Theater
Sullivan County Community College
112 College Road
Loch Sheldrake, NY, 12759

Show Dates

April 13-23, 2017, Thursday- Saturday at 8pm, Sundays at 2PM.
Please Contact Jessica López-Barkl with any questions:

What to expect at auditions

You will be asked to fill in an audition form. Please bring your personal calendar or schedule. You will be required to list any conflicts you may have during the rehearsal period which start January 30, through the closing of the productions on April 23, 2017. If you have a resume and headshot, please attach to your audition form.

If you are interested in a singing role, please prepare a 1-2 minute song from any jam-band musical (PASSING STRANGE, TOTAL BENT, THE DIRTY HIPPIE JAM BAND) or any song from a jam-band (Phish, Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic, the Allman Brothers, Dave Matthews Band, etc.). You will not need a prepared monologue. We will be reading sides from the play. You may asked to read individually, but most likely with others. Scripts are available and can be checked out in advance by contacting Jessica López-Barkl. Dancers are encouraged to audition. We will be adapting traditional Elizabethan era dances (“a measure”, galliards, morris-dances, lovoltas, and corantos) into more modern movements. Actors who can play an instrument are highly encouraged. Please bring the instrument, if you can play, to the audition.

The Theater Program at SUNY Sullivan is also looking for participants interested in technical crew, stage management, designers, and musicians. If you are interested, please come by to the auditions to meet the director, Jessica López-Barkl, or contact her with the information above.

Rehearsal Schedule

Rehearsals will be from 6-9PM for Mondays through Fridays. There will be a rehearsal schedule developed based on the actors’ conflict schedules, you will not be called for all rehearsals. On Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:15-6:00PM, there is a lecture class associated with the productions that covers the background on the productions and technical/design aspects of the productions (all participants are not required to come to this class, but they are welcome to observe or take it as a class for 3 credits that will transfer to any SUNY 4-year school – the cost for this about $700.00). Technical rehearsals will be held on Saturday, April 1 from 6-11PM and Sunday, April 2. All actors, designers, crew, musicians, and production staff will be called for these technical rehearsals.

During the dual production weeks April 1-13, 2017 everyone is called from 6-11PM – Please clear your schedules. The details of this will be worked out during the first week of rehearsal.

MARSHALL COUNTY LINE Synopsis & Musical Numbers

In this new jam-band musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s MEASURE FOR MEASURE, Gabe Rikard explores the idiom that absolute power corrupts absolutely in the cloistered halls of a religious university.

The story of the plot (based on William Shakespeare’s MEASURE FOR MEASURE) centers on Angel, who has been empowered by Vincent Duke, the President of Heritage University, to be the interim President, while he wanders about disguised as a female choir mistress to investigate the hypocritical practices of his university’s policies on morals. Angel fires the choir director, Claude, to make an example of him because he and his fianceé Julia are going to have a child out of wedlock. Isabella, Claude’s sister, pleads her brother’s case because he needs the money and the job to help take care of their infirm parents. Angel’s own lust is aroused and he uses his power to blackmail Isabella into his bed. Fortunately Duke overhears this plan. Angel ends up in the bed of Mary Anne, a woman from his undisclosed past. Claude is allowed to live happily ever after with his fiancée. This basic plot is expanded with the mad-cap adventures of the Jam-Band that is center stage for the entire production under scoring the action of the play. This story-line adds to Duke’s exploration of the hypocrisy that surround his of his University with the sub-plot of a United States border county that deals with the moral dissensions that abound from a dry vs. a wet county.

Marshall County Line Song list/Vocal Ranges

Character Descriptions

Vincent Duke- President of Heritage College – late 30s early 40s – Vince to his friends, Dr. Duke is organized, proficient, thoughtful, and imminently qualified for his position—think Paul Reifenheiser, minus all of the aforementioned accolades. He carries himself like a man who holds weight of the world on his shoulders, but maintains pride and confidence in his abilities, not in spite of this, but because of it. He dresses like a typical college President, but one with a flair for fashion [think Jay Quaintence] An academic at heart, Dr. Duke is a genuinely devout Christian who detests the thought of pharisaical dogmatism, et he also well understands the necessity of playing the proper political games when the good of the College demands it. Liberally educated at a private undergraduate institution outside his own religious background as well as at a State sponsored University and an Ivy League School, Dr. Duke has seen much more of the world than many of his provincial colleagues, but he does not hold that over them with conceit. He recognizes both veracity and falsehood quickly, appreciates genuine people even when he disagrees with them, tempers his actions with wisdom, and strives to live his life in the light of God, while refusing to deny his less-than-saintly past.

Cal Estus – Heritage College Trustee and Vice President- 60ish – A man who looks to be eighty, stooped and hobbling, dressed in a baby blue seersucker suit with a pink and blue thick stripped bow tie, a straw fedora, which he holds in his hands, and shabbily polished white wingtips, cane is more for show then necessity, and his gait more of a costume than a condition. He is a wise, gregarious, loquacious councilor which does not prohibit him from giving good advice [think about a cross between Colonel Sanders, Grand Maester Picel and Tommy Lambert]. His tenure at the College exceeds all others.

Angel Seemers – Head of Heritage College Security- late 30s, early 40s – He’s well dressed and spiffy, but in only black and white—black suit, tie, shoes; white shirt—looks like a televangelist with a shiny badge apparent on his belt. The looks suits him as does the perpetual scowl on his face; he appears as though he has never had a day of real fun in his life, which in fact, he hasn’t. He has a flattop haircut and a square jaw and the demeanor of someone who has always dreamt of being a military man—perhaps an Eagle Scout whose flat feet kept him out of the National Guard. In his eyes gleams the righteousness indignation of a man who has never questioned the validity of his salvation, the veracity of his convictions or the necessity of bringing others to the Lord, [kicking and screaming if necessary]

Claude Abbott – Choirmaster of Heritage Concert Singers- late 30s early 40s – A genuinely good man whose talent as a conductor, clinician, and teacher far outpace his ability as a singer. He dresses like a college professor—a patch-elbowed jacket and a button up with tan or grey slacks, maybe a sweater vest on cool winter days; aesthetically, he’d wear a tie, but it constricts his conducting. A contemporary of both Lucius Lightfoot and Vincent Duke, like the two of them, he found education outside the traditional trappings of the conservative Heritage sect of Christianity. Nevertheless, he is a believer. He appreciates the finer things of life subtly—good wine, good classical music, and good intellectual conversation—and he hides his liberal notions on God and love and society under a well-constructed veneer of Christian pragmatism. He respects tradition and understands his position at Heritage perfectly well. Nevertheless, he flaunts the social norms of his community willingly (though covertly) in his relationship with Julie. Dedicated to his long-suffering mother, dementia-dimmed father, and his precocious little sister, he is torn between shouldering the continued responsibility of his birthright and saying “fuck it” and leaving it all behind to be with the true love of his life.

Lucius Lightfoot – lead guitarist/ singer of Shakespeare’s Curse- late 30s early 40s – A libertine contemporary of Duke and Abbott who eschewed his higher educational pursuits to form a jam band and travel the country in the back of a variety of increasingly elaborately shabby motorhomes/ buses. Life on the road has expanded his philosophical horizons, making him realize that the strictures of his conservative upbringing and other social morays are just man made systems of social control; he actively rejects them, though not reflexively. He will wear a suit one day, overalls the next, but he’s most at home in stage wear: jeans, cowboy boots, and an untucked button-down that doesn’t get in his way while he plays. Pragmatic and bright, but somewhat obtuse as to how his actions directly affect those around him, he has a son with his estranged ex-girlfriend Francisca. Though he always swore that he would end his time on the road if the band was playing the same venues and making the same money ten years in, his ulterior motive for returning to Vienna is a reconciliation with Fran and their son.

Murphy “Catfish” Frothers – Road Manager for Shakespeare’s Curse- early 30s – A bottomfeeder. He’s got a heart of gold, and would give someone the shirt off his back—if he hadn’t lost it last night in a drunken escapade. He is successful with certain women, because they want to take care of him as though he is a big-footed, lost puppy. Within the context of the jam band, he would be considered a schnazzy dresser, despite the Captain Caveman beard. He has a clinically addictive personality and has never met a substance he wouldn’t throw down his gullet, suck into his lungs, or sniff up his nose: he can’t help himself. Frustrating to his bandmates and family, he is nevertheless the life of the party, keeping others in stitches with his antidotes and antics.

Will Jonson – member of Shakespeare’s Curse, custodian at Heritage College- mid 30s – The consummate musician’s musician, he is the foundation to the band’s limited success. A reliable, earnest, hard-working guy, he views any problem or situation (including relationships) as a mechanic might [he was the band member that kept the buses running]: there’s a logical way to fix everything. In fact, he’s more at home in a mechanics coveralls than in a shirt and tie. He is a dependable secret keeper.

Barnard “Barney” Tankerd – Lighting Engineer of Shakespeare’s Curse- late 20s – A harmless drunk who is just along for the ride; he’s Murphy’s reliable sidekick and foil. Occupationally, he’s better at the design aspect of lighting than the practical application thereof. In another, younger life, he was a skater, and he still dresses as such.

Shane Woble – Deputy of Heritage College Security- 30s or 40s – A big man, given to strict and somewhat uninformed interpretations of the rules, the deputy never stops shifting from side to side. He’s not terribly bright or educated, and he is convinced that his higher-ups will be impressed with his expansive and liberal use of words, even though he’s unsure of their meanings. New on the job and simply glad to have it, he becomes sycophantic to Angel and Cal Estus rather quickly.

Isabella “Izzy” Abbott – Sister to Claude, freshman at Heritage- late teens – Freshman Soprano soloist in the Heritage Choir. If her particular sect of Christianity had a cloistered nunnery, she would be an acolyte. She sees life in blacks and whites, not because of some dogmatic Christian worldview, but because she has lived a sheltered existence surrounded by people who all share such a provincial worldview. The idea of situational ethics would never cross her mind: sex before marriage is a sin, period; those who engage in it are weak and ungodly. Thought gorgeous in a wholesome way, she hides any modicum of sexy with conservative dress—long skirts, long sleeve blouses; yet, she is malleable and her attitudes and dress change as she encounters more liberal views.

Julia Phillup – Espoused to Claude, graduate Choir assistant at Heritage- early 20s – Julie is a bit of an outsider in this hyper-conservative environment. A Minnesotan, she maintains a more compassionate and understanding take on religion and interpersonal interactions. Were she Catholic, she would adhere to the social justice philosophy espoused by Pope Francis. She has been enamored with Claude Abbott from the day she first stepped foot into his choir room, not because of his position, but because of his kindred spirit. Despite her difficult position, she glows with optimism; she dotes on Claude and is like a second daughter to the Abbott family, especially to Mr. Abbott. She abides by Heritage’s dress code, rebelling with only dangly earrings and multiple bracelets; and an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, of course.

Tap Clowney – Florist/ owner of Pompey’s Flowers and Costumes- 30s – Sweet, convincingly butch gay man who neither hides nor flaunts his sexuality. He is understated, though opinionated when comfortable with the company. He understands the precarious position of a gay man in a hyper-religious community on whom he depends for his livelihood. For his entire life, he has been thought of (and has thought of himself as) “different”from his contemporaries. He escapes Vienna every other weekend to spend time with his longtime companion, Devin, in Atlanta. He has immaculate tastes in clothes, flowers, men, booze—everything—and provides the perfect foil for his best friend and landlord, Misty Beavers, with whom he also shares a second business.

Misty Beavers – Second generation owner of Beavers’ Liquors- late 30s early 40s – For as sweet and understated as Tap Clowney is, Misty is equally raw and outspoken. She doesn’t give a fuck what anyone thinks about her and she has no time to suffer fools—religious or otherwise. Yet under that gruff exterior, she cultivates a genuine compassion for the underprivileged and outcast. Her liberal views on sexuality and booze are vilified from the pulpits of Wheeler and Marshall County churches and her store is often the flashpoint for condemnation. Like her father before her, she steams ahead; unlike her father, she understands the politics of Wheeler and Marshall Counties enough to work together behind the scenes with some of the religious leaders to maintain the status quo when it comes to alcohol sales.

Mary Anne LeGrange – Shunned girlfriend to Angel, clerk at Beavers’ Liquors- late 20s – At one time in love with Angel, since her father’s loss of his fortune due to a downturn in the stock market, she has lost her religion and her place. While not “content” to work as a cashier at the liquor store, Mary Anne doesn’t see many other options. Has Angel just quietly called off the marriage, she feels she could have recovered. However, his handling of the matter and the accusations of impropriety have caused resentment as the desire for revenge—on Angel and everything he represents

Francisca Nunnely – President Duke’s secretary- early 30s – Not excessively pleased with the turn of events at Heritage, she nonetheless does her job faithfully. She had a son with Lucius Lightfoot who, though Lucius supports as well as he can financially, she has raised by herself. Her feelings about Lucius are ambivalent—he is a charmer, but he chose the road and not her. She will not take him back without some serious reflection.

Mr. Abbott – Father to Claude and Izzy- late 60 to early 70s – Suffers from Alzheimer’s and has his good days, when he recognizes his children, and his bad ones when he can be terribly difficult.

Mrs. Abbott – Mother to Claude and Izzy- late 50s – Suffers from depression due to the difficult circumstances of her husband’s illness

Boy – Son to Francisca and Lucius- 10-12yrs

Claire – Choir Member, Friend to Izzy- late teens

[Students, patrons, police, dancers, etc]

The Playwright

Gabe Rikard (music and lyrics)
A graduate in English Literature from Rhodes College, Florida State University, and the University of Mississippi, Professor Gabe Rikard played music professionally for ten years in the Jam Band Absylom Rising, based out of Muscle Shoals, Alabama. His theatrical experience includes: Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees for the Ritz Community theater in Sheffield, Alabama; a soloist in Caberet, Charley Kringas in Merrily We Roll Along, and Billy Flynn in Chicago for the Rhodes College Theater; the “crazy-ass golfer” in Marisol, Benny Perkins in Hands on a Hardbody, and John Wilkes Booth in Assassins for the SUNY Sullivan theater department. Having previously published the academic treatise Authority and the Mountaineer in Cormac McCarthy’s Appalachia in 2013, Marshall County Line is Rikard’s first foray into the magic of creating musical theater.