Audition: The Dresser

Audition: The Dresser


Jan. 19 @ 1pm
Jan. 20 @ 7pm
Callbacks - Jan. 22nd @7pm

CENTERstage Productions is pleased to announce auditions for The Dresser by Ronald Harwood, directed by Michael Juzwak & Tina Reilly.

Based on the author's own experiences as dresser to Sir Donald Wolfit, this bracing, heartbreaking drama is an elegy to a bygone era. Backstage at a theatre in the English provinces during WWII, Sir, the last of the great breed of English actor/managers, is in a bad way tonight, as his dresser Norman tries valiantly to prepare him to go on stage as King Lear. Unsure of his lines as well as who and where he is supposed to be, Sir is adamantly determined to roar his last. With herculean effort on the part of Norman, Sir finally makes it on stage and through the performance no thanks to an air raid courtesy of the Luftwaffe. 

Location: The CENTER for Performing Arts at Rhinbeck

Performance Dates: March 15-24, 2019. Two field trip shows possible on March 20th and 21st at 10 am.

Seeking:  3W, 4M plus a small ensemble of any gender.  Ages 18-80.  All ethnicities are encouraged to audition.   See detailed character descriptions below. No appointment necessary.

Prepare: Cold readings will be from the script. British accents are planned to be utilized in the show but are not required for the audition.  

Bring: Please bring your personal schedule and be prepared to list your conflicts. 

Questions: Email Director Michael Juzwak at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Character Breakdown:

Norman "The Dresser" (Lead): Male, 40’s-50’s.  Sir’s dresser, fiercely loyal and protective, openly gay, secretly in love with Sir. A very witty, charming man. He has been with Sir for 16 years.  Throughout the play, he offers many hints of the life that he has led, building a picture of a fascinating multi-layered character.  He is resentful of how Sir habitually turns first to Her Ladyship for emotional support and jealous of Madge’s devotion to Sir.

Sir –Head of the Acting Company (Lead): Male, 55+.  A famous Shakespearian actor now running a touring company all over England during WWII with declining health relies on Norman for everything but rules the company with a rod of iron.  A long serving classical actor, whose own perception of his achievement and renown is greater than reality.  He resents what he sees as lack of national recognition, which has compelled him to spend much of his career touring. A complex and deeply troubled man, unable to see life from any perspective other than his own.

Her Ladyship (Supporting): Female, 40+. Classy, elegant. Sir's partner on and offstage; she also plays Cordelia. A fading beauty who wants Sir to finally retire. Has great compassion but can be stern and direct. Her relationship with Norman is complicated.  She has been playing Sir’s leading ladies, and she’s still playing Cordelia 20 years on. She’s been playing Cordelia since her mid-20’s, she’s now in her mid-40’s.  As a young actress, she was drawn to the promise of glamour in the company of a leading man of the theatre. Over the years the stars have long faded, but she remains devoted to Sir, and is resigned to the ingratitude and seeming indifference she receives in return.

Madge (Supporting): Female, 40-50. Has been stage manager of Sir’s company for 20 years. Pragmatic, practical, does everything by the book. Often at odds with Norman and secretly in love with Sir. 

Mr. Oxenby (Supporting): Male, 35-50. The youngest man in the company of old and mostly gay actors has a very heavy limp, angry at the world.  The only person Sir is afraid of.  An aspiring playwright who plays Edmund in King Lear.  Angry but treats Sir with respect. Oxenby is a good actor who feels he is being wasted in Sir’s theater company.  Highly critical of Sir and the way the company is managed.

Geoffrey Thornton (Supporting): Male, 60+. A very nice elderly timid man who suffers from stage fright but, adores acting even though he is not very good or confident at it.  He is frequently called upon to play roles for which he barely suited, (in this case the Fool in King Lear), which he does stoically and uncomplainingly, but he still harbors an ambition to play bigger parts.

Irene (Supporting): Female, 18 – 30. A pretty young actress. Sweet but willing to do anything to get ahead. An ambitious young actress who is infatuated with Sir, and determined to become his leading lady. Sir is flattered by her attentions, which threaten to undermine the stability of the company. In Irene, Her Ladyship can see disturbing signs of her younger self.

Duke of Albany/Earl of Gloucester/Duke of Kent/Knight1/Knight2//Gentleman (Ensemble): Various Ages.  All roles have lines in the play King Lear within the play and run the onstage sound effects and off stage voices.