Casting Call for Scopes Festival Play 2015, April 11 & 12, Courtroom
Cumberland County Playhouse (CCP), in its 50th Anniversary Season, holds casting calls April 11 and 12 for the 2015 co-production of FRONT PAGE NEWS, in partnership with Dayton’s Scopes “Monkey Trial’ Festival, in the 90th Anniversary year of the “World’s Most Famous Trial.” The smash-hit play with music and media, by CCP’s Jim Crabtree and Grammy-nominated Nashville songwriter Bobby Taylor, is co-produced by the Scopes Festival, a project of MainStreet Dayton. The show based on court transcripts and a drama by Tennessee playwright Deb Harbin, sold out and was “held over” in 2014.
Casting calls are Sat., April 11 at 7: 30 pm EDT, and Sunday April 12 at 3 pm EDT in the Rhea County Courthouse, each lasting about two hours. Prepared auditions (short song and reading or monologue) are welcome, but not essential, and will be scheduled individually with Ms. Dearman by phone. Callbacks may then be requested for specific roles. Pictures and resumes of professionals, aspiring pros, and experienced volunteers interested in this and/or other CCP projects, are welcome by email to, as are video auditions (with resumes) from those distant from Crossville and Dayton.
Singing musicians and choir singers are especially welcome to audition, along with students from Bryan and other colleges, kids 9 and older, preachers, teachers, actors, attorneys and professors; students and all who enjoy history and hymns. All interested should register with Mandy Dearman (email@example.com), or call 931-484-4324 8am-5pm CDT, Monday-Friday.
Rehearsals begin late May in Dayton, in the Scopes Courtroom, Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and Saturday and Sundays until July, when the schedule intensifies. Frequency will vary with role assignments. FRONT PAGE NEWS is produced by the Scopes Festival/Playhouse Partnership, with support from MainStreet Dayton, Rhea County, and City of Dayton. Business sponsors interested in visibility with the Festival, Playhouse, and their combined 140,000 annual visitors, should contact Tom Davis for Rhea County sponsorship (by email at firstname.lastname@example.org), or Nicole Hackmann (Cumberland, Hamilton, other Tennessee counties, states) at 931-484-5000 or by email at email@example.com.
FPN plays in the famous courtroom July 17-19 and July 24-26, 2015, where William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow battled in 1925. FRONT PAGE NEWS (FPN) highlights the annual Scopes Festival’s indoor and outdoor events on the Courthouse Square in Dayton. See the Scopess Festival website at scopesfestival.com for details and other festival events including Music, Vendors and Artisans on the Courthouse lawn, a Vintage Car Cruise-In and Antique Tractor Show, Antique Quilt Exhibit, “Sc. See the Playhouse website (ccplayhouse.com, 931-484-5000) for tickets for FPN and other CCP reserved seat events, and events of CCP’s partners.
Front Page News sold out and was held over in 2014. “Townsfolk” became world-famous attorneys, reporters from across America and the world, church choirs, street musicians, and small town Tennesseans who were witnesses, judge and jury, choirs, preachers, spectators, all jamming town, courtroom, and courthouse lawn when the trial moved outside to ease July heat in a non-air conditioned Tennessee Valley summer. In 2015, author/director Crabtree may increase the size of the cast, who all portraying the “People of Dayton and Tennessee,” who welcome spectators and visitors, and take all back to 1925 through song and action. Says Crabtree, “FRONT PAGE NEWS is historically accurate, a celebration of faith, freedom and tolerance—not to be confused with the fictionalized Inherit the Wind. I find the real history has the most real excitement.”
Bryan College students filled several roles and production assignments as CCP professional interns in 2014, teaming with Playhouse designers, technicians, actors and musicians, with songwriter Taylor featured as “The Storyteller.” CCP musicians Ann Crabtree and Annetta Deck joined Taylor’s guitar and banjo on new songs and traditional hymns. Experienced volunteers from Valley and Plateau filled other roles, including veterans of past Scopes Fest plays, teaming with CCP pros.