WELLSBORO - A New York City production company is bringing the premiere performance of a new musical geared toward rural audiences here in February, and one actor and several local dancers are being sought to perform in it, according to Drew Bastian, a local musician who performed with the show in workshops held in New York, and is acting as a local liaison for the show.
Auditions will be held next Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Deane Center for "Smile: A Country Rock Musical," seeking one male actor aged 40 to 60 for a speaking role who can play multiple characters and dancers who must be over 18 and have experience in jazz, hip hop or musical theater style dance.
"We also are looking for one ballet point dancer to do a solo," Bastian said.
Bastian said he feels confident that the talent needed to perform with the 10 New York City actors from the original workshop will be found in the region.
"We have been in touch with local dance groups and have reached out to Williamsport and Elmira, N.Y. The only tricky part is they have to be over 18," he added. "It is an adult-themed show not recommended for children."
According to Bastian, the show, written and directed by Peter Zinn, is a love story about a young couple who are a part of a "new generation of southerners dealing with post 911 challenges in the south."
"It takes place in Louisiana, about a young man who falls in love with a girl. He joins National Guard and then 911 happens and he is shipped to Iraq. It is powerful It makes you proud of our solders and makes you feel for them," he said.
The music, written by hit country writer J.T. Harding, includes the title song "Smile," which is an Uncle Kracker hit, Bastian said.
Harding also writes songs for such country stars as Kenny Chesney and other country artists, many of which are performed in the musical.
"The music is so fun, but it has harder elements to it," he added
Bastian said the show was purposely written to appeal to more rural audiences.
"J.T. and Peter decided to put this musical together and they said they don't want to make another 'high fallutin' theater piece, but one that country music fans and military people can see and be proud of their service," Bastian said.
Bastian said he was in New York performing as a drummer for the show and when he suggested the Deane Center as a good location for the premiere showing of the musical, both the producers, Bleeker Company of New York, and "the folks at the Deane Center jumped on this right away."
"There is a scene in a bar and I thought I was sitting in a bar in Mansfield," Bastian added.
Bastian said he was "super excited" that "every single one of the actors we asked to come out, about 10, said we will come out and are coming."
"It is a real night at the theater," he added.
Bastian, 24, of Mansfield, majored in integrative arts, percussion and theater at Penn State University
After spending the summer touring with a band, Bastian said he wanted to be involved with the Deane Center and "came back here because it is something we can work with."
The show will open on Valentine's Day and run through Feb. 16. For ticket information, visit the Deane Center website.
The show is sponsored by the Deane Center board of directors and Indigo Wireless.