Casting call put out for “Gumbo Bottoms”

Sunday, August 17, 2008 | 6:32 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA - A new musical, "Gumbo Bottoms," is the story of Vivian Marks, who loses everything except a spit of land in Missouri, and the Turner Hall River Rats are extending a casting call to potential performers.

"Gumbo Bottoms," a collaboration by Meredith Ludwig and Cathy Barton, is 90 minutes long with one intermission. "(It's) based on local history and culture of river life," said Lesley Oswald, the show's director.

Barton said the play revolves around Vivian, "revealing a very gradual transformation of her character as she learns more about Missouri River life and about the folks living along the river. She is quite unlikable at first - narrow minded and haughty - but she learns in dramatic fashion to let go of her prejudices and accept her new river surroundings."

"Vivian Marks represents our resistance to change, blind racism and the power of nature to transform," Ludwig said.

The Turner Hall River Rats will hold the premiere for "Gumbo Bottoms" at Thespian Hall in Boonville.

People interested have until Aug. 31 to schedule an audition by calling 441-0240 or 660-882-3300. Auditioners should prepare a song and two-minute comedic monologue.

Oswald said they are looking to fill the following roles: Vivian Marks, a widowed Northeasterner with a wealthy past, between 30 and 40 years old; Lucy Taylor, a Missouri native, part Cherokee, who chews tobacco on occasion and has cleared acres of bottomland with a machete, between 35 and 60; Gabe Burns, Lucy's neighbor and best friend who makes a living on the river, black, between 25 and 50; Jacques Jeanrue, an opportunistic swindler who uses a fake French accent to impress folks, between 30 and 60.

Two smaller roles will double as running crew and cast and can be male or female between 20 and 65.



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