The Kenai Performers are holding auditions this weekend for the upcoming production of “Anne of Green Gables.”
Director Terri Burdick said that she’s “hoping that we get a good cross mix of adults and kids. I have a feeling I’m going to have a lot of girls auditioning.”
Burdick said she chose to produce “Anne of Green Gables” because she’s familiar with the source material, and also because it’s a good option for younger audiences.
“I don’t think there’s enough family friendly theater,” she said. “Something that would be good for a first time theatergoer to come to and be interested in.”
The play is based on the first in a series of novels written by Lucy Maud Montgomery, published in 1908. It follows a young orphan girl who is brought to live with an older couple on a farm. They expected a boy.
“Anne of Green Gables” is a shorter piece, only around 90 minutes long. Even with an intermission, Burdick said it will be considerably shorter than most of the other productions Kenai Performers has done.
“Musicals we do are sometimes between three and four hours long,” she said.
The shorter length may make the production a better entry point for a first-time performer.
“We always encourage everybody to come out,” Burdick said.
She said she always hears from people who did theater in high school and not since, or who say they always intended to try it.
“When I’m directing I like to have a good selection of both experienced performers and also encourage some new people to get involved,” Burdick said.
Different productions call for different abilities, and especially in community theater, Burdick says she has to see the pieces in front of her and assemble them as best as she can.
“Each director usually has an artistic vision they’re kind of envisioning when they read the play. With community theater you get what you get,” she said. “You sometimes adapt, and many times it changes and you go, ‘Yeah, I never thought that would have worked that way but look, here it did.’”
Burdick said everyone brings strengths, so someone who maybe isn’t a great fit for one part can find success in another. She described one woman who had auditioned a few times without being cast. Her voice was exactly what Burdick was looking for in “Beverly Hillbillies,” a musical put on last fall.
As far as roles being offered, Burdick said she expected most of the attention to be on Anne Shirley, the title character.
“She’s kind of a talker, a dreamer,” she said. “She has a great imagination, she’s very caring. I think there’s going to be a lot of girls that want to get that part.”
Other major characters include the older brother and sister who run a farm together. They end up adopting Anne.
“Those two characters also have a really nice relationship together. Marilla is kind of stern, Matthew is shy,” Burdick said.
There is also a boy named Gilbert, who is mean to Anne at school; Anne’s best friend, Diana; and gossipy Rachel, Marilla’s friend from next door.
A full list of available parts can be found at the Kenai Performers website. Four to six men are being sought, as well as 13 to 14 women.
Youths aged 11 to 16 are desired for some of the roles. Auditions will be held Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at noon in the Kenai Performers black box theater behind Subway on Kalifornsky Beach Road. Anne of Green Gables will be performed Nov. 3 to 6, 10 to 13 and 17 to 20.
Reach reporter Jake Dye at firstname.lastname@example.org