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It's Time to Audition!
Saint Charles Christmas Traditions® 2020 Auditions
Saint Charles Christmas Traditions® is seeking a cast for their 46th season!
Saint Charles Christmas Traditions® is an equal opportunity employer and seeks a diverse cast.
If you would like to audition:
Schedule your audition time here!
Friday, June 26 and Saturday, June 27
All positions are paid at the starting rate of $11.19 per hour for performance dates and rehearsals.
If cast, you will be required to complete pre-employment testing.
Full Cast Rehearsal Dates: September 12th, September 26th, November 21st
*Note: Carolers will have additional vocal rehearsals prior to the beginning of the season.
- Opening Day: Friday (November 27) 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM
- Wednesdays (December 2, 9, 16, 23) 6:00-9:00 PM
- Fridays (December 4, 11, 18) 6:00-9:00 PM
- Saturdays (November 28, December 5, 12, 19) Noon to 9:00 PM (an 8 hour call in that period)
- Sundays (November 29, December 6, 13, 20) Noon-5:00 PM
- Christmas Eve (December 24) 11:00 AM-2:00 PM
Minimum Age: All persons auditioning (with the exception of those auditioning for the role of “Tiny Tim”) should be at least 16 years of age by September 12th.
Description: Saint Charles Christmas Traditions brings to life the nostalgic charm of holiday celebrations of yesteryear. As guests stroll the brick-lined streets, they are transported back to Dickensian England as they interact with a variety of iconic Christmas figures from mythology, folklore, and history that help illustrate the different ways the holiday season is celebrated across the globe. Characters and carolers share their stories and offer visitors a small keepsake (in the form of a small collectible trading card featuring their image and history).
These roles will require an outgoing personality and the ability to engage with thousands of guests of all ages “in character” without a script. Applicants should be in good physical health, as these positions will require long periods of standing and walking outdoors throughout the day/evening in all types of weather.
We look forward to seeing you at auditions!
For any questions, e-mail Festival Director Ryan Cooper
WHAT TO PREPARE FOR YOUR AUDITION:
For CHARACTERS: For your audition, choose three (3) of the characters listed below and prepare a 1-minute interactive performance as each. Present each of your chosen characters’ personalities in a unique, engaging, and entertaining way. Show us what you would bring to the role. Be creative!
For SINGERS/CAROLERS: The St. Charles Christmas Traditions festival features vocal groups of several different types: Victorian SATB quartets, modern SATB quartets, and SSA/SSAA/TTBB trios/quartets. Singing ensembles present music appropriate to the historical period of their group and in the vocal stylings of that period. Auditioning singers may be considered for an open position in any appropriate group.
FEMALE SINGERS: Prepare both the melody and your specific vocal part for WINTER WONDERLAND. A copy of the music cut can be found HERE and the rehearsal tracks can be found HERE. Be prepared to sing with an instrumental recording of the other vocal parts.
MALE SINGERS: Prepare both the melody and your specific vocal part for HERE WE COME A-WASSAILING. A copy of the music cut cut can be found HERE and the rehearsal tracks can be found HERE. Be prepared to sing with an instrumental recording of the other vocal parts.
THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE OF 1914: New for 2020. Amidst the rage and destruction of World War I, came an unexpected moment of peace. On a crisp Christmas morning in 1914, thousands of British, French, and German soldiers put down their rifles and emerged from their trenches to mingle with their so-called "enemies" along the Western Front. They shared stories, exchanged gifts, and played soccer. For only a brief night, there was no “us versus them,” but instead the pure wish of “peace on earth and goodwill to men.” Four singing actors will portray a British, French, and two German soldiers, who will share the stories of this truce, while singing traditional British, French, and German carols that they may have sung that night. Performers interested in auditioning for one of these four roles should prepare the musical material that is being asked of carolers.
MRS. CLAUS: The true matriarch of merriment. Where would Santa be without the support of the kind, cheerful, and spirited Mrs. Claus? Having first made an appearance in the 1849 short story, “A Christmas Legend” by James Rees, Mrs. Claus has since kept very busy at the North Pole where she keeps Santa up-to-date on all of the modern toys and gizmos that children like, supervises the elves, takes care of the reindeer, and is famous for her legendary cookie-making skills. Warm and loving, Mrs. Claus has an adventurous side, too (as evidenced by Katharine Lee Bates’ 1889 poem “Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride” where she attempts to convince Santa to let her deliver the gifts herself).
MTOA HADITHI: May be cast as male or female. Swahili for “storyteller,” the joyful Mtoa Hadithi shares the origins and practices of the festival of Kwanzaa. Founded in 1966, Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration of African-American culture and heritage that often includes feasts, gift-giving, reflection, and artistic presentation. Every year from December 26-January 1, celebrants reflect on the Nguzu Saba, the seven principles of African heritage. Mtoa Hadithi will explain these concepts as well as some of the familiar symbols (such as the kinera, candle holder).
TITUS FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS (37A.D.-100A.D.): Born Yosef ben Matityahu, Titus Flavius Josephus was a prominent Romano-Jewish historian who recorded the origins of the Chanukah story. Josephus will share the account of the Maccabean revolt that we celebrate today as the “Festival of Lights” (a name he gave to the holiday), while at the same time explaining the rich traditions of this eight-night celebration (from menorahs and dreidels, to delicacies like latkes and sufganiot).
CHRISTKIND: The traditional Christmas gift-bring in Austria and Germany. Popularized by Martin Luther during the Protestant Reformation in the 16th-17th century, the Christkind (literally “Christ child”) is usually depicted as an angelic young woman with blonde hair and gold wings. She is an expert at sharing the history of many Christmas traditions that originated in Germany. After the Christkind has left gifts under the Weihnachtsbaum (Christmas Tree), she marks her departure with the ringing of a small bell. The Christkind is often honored as the main figure of traditional German Christmas markets (aptly named Christkindlmarkts) which feature regional German food, music, drink (including a mulled wine called Gluhwein) as well as traditiional trinkets. German accent.
FATHER TIME: “We wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.” With his long grey beard, flowing robes, and scythe, Father Time will explain how different cultures around the world ring in the new year (including smashing plates and glasses against friends’ doors in Denmark, carrying around empty suitcases in Columbia with hopes of a travel-filled year, and hanging an onion above your doorway in Greece). Most importantly of all, Father Time will reveal what the words to “Auld Lang Syne” really mean.
BOB CRATCHIT: The long-suffering and underpaid clerk of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, Bob Cratchit represents the thousands of working poor that existed in Victorian London. Despite working 60 hours a week for 15 shillings (about $94 a week in today’s money), Cratchit is a father of six (including his ill, but optimistic son, “Tiny Tim,”). English/Cockney accent.
TINY TIM: The youngest of Bob Cratchit’s six children. Though he is ill and walks with a crutch and limp, he is bubbly and optimistic and embodies the true spirit of the holidays. He places emphasis on good cheer and togetherness, rather than on material possessions as he joyfully exclaims his famous catchphrase: “God bless us, everyone!” Cockney accent. Willing to cast a boy or a girl who can play a boy. For their audition, children should be able to demonstrate an enthusiastic personality, a believable limp, and Cockney accent while being able to tell a very engaging 1-minute story about Tiny Tim’s life.
MR. & MRS. FEZZIWIG: Hold on to your mistletoe, nobody parties like the Fezziwigs! Before he turned miserly, a young Ebenezer Scrooge once apprenticed for the jovial Mr. Fezziwig. On his fateful trip back in time with the Ghost of Christmas Past, Scrooge sees Fezziwig and his equally eccentric wife doing what they did best, throwing a festive yuletide banquet, as their generous personalities and kind hearts embody the holiday spirit.
SANTA LUCIA: A fourth century Christian martyr from Syracuse, Sicily, Santa Lucia often brought food and aid to Christians in hiding using a candle-lit wreath to light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible. In addition to being the patron saint of her hometown of Syracuse, she is also the Saint of Light. The popularity of Santa Lucia spread throughout Europe, particularly in Sweden and the Scandinavian region, where the symbolism of St. Lucy as the bearer of light in the darkness of winter, has led to many unique holiday traditions during her feast day on December 13th where it is customary for girls to dress in white robes, red sashes, and wear a wreath of candles on their heads while serving saffron buns known as “Lucia buns.” This character may be presented as Sicilian (Lucia’s birthplace) or Swedish (where Lucia is popularized).
VICTORIAN MERCHANTS (Chestnut Roasters, Flower Girl, Piccadilly Peddlers): **May be cast as male or female. Multiple roles available.** Whether selling flowers, genuine chestnuts (roasting on an open fire), or various new products and inventions, these purveyors of fine goods hearken back to the by-gone era of street merchants who lined the squares and alleys of Victorian London. Loveable, funny tricksters with a heart of gold, these brash and enterprising peddlers will hawk their wares as they entertain you with zany pitches and slogans for their newest products and inventions (and may even lead their adoring crowds in a rollicking tune) as they showcase their various flowers, holiday snacks, or festive products. The performers in this role will be selling various items to guests (flowers, chestnuts, or festival souvenirs) and should be comfortable handling money. Cockney accent preferred.
TOWN CRIER: The unofficial master-of-ceremonies and welcome committee of St. Charles Christmas Traditions, the Town Crier greets festival visitors with a larger-than-life personality, booming voice, and healthy dose of Christmas spirit. Town Criers were important communication figures in towns and villages throughout Europe and the United States, where they would share important announcements, news, and proclamations. During Christmas Traditions, our Town Crier, entertains the masses by ringing a bell and shouting "oyez! Oyez! Oyez!" while sharing information about festival events, fun stories, trivia, and this-day-in-history facts.
THE MOUSE KING*: The main antagonist in Prussian author’s E.T.A. Hoffman’s 1816 story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, that eventually became the basis for Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet. This rodent monarch and his mouse army is eternally locked in battle with the Nutcracker Prince and his toy soldiers. This performer should be comfortable wearing stage makeup including (but not limited to) spirit gum adhesive and foam latex prosthetics. *This role may be cast as male or female
NUTCRACKER PRINCE: The title character of the popular holiday ballet The Nutcracker. Once merely a wooden toy, the Nutcracker Prince has been brought to life by the magic of a mysterious man named Herr Drosselmeyer (though, his movements are wood-like and stiff as one would expect from a toy soldier). This monarch has traveled from the Land of the Sweets in order to recruit fellow toys and nutcrackers as soldiers in his epic fight with the dreaded Mouse King (and his army of mice and gingerbread men). Watch as the Nutcracker Prince teaches you the proper marching techniques to become a member of his army of playthings. Seeking a performer with strong movement/physicality to portray the toy-like aspects of this character.
CAPTAIN P.L. JINGLEHEIMER (THE REINDEER FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR): May be cast as male or female. You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen...but who do you supposed helped Santa's favorite form of transportation take flight? This highly decorated pilot and adventurer from the North Pole has been teaching reindeer the tips and tricks of a smooth take-off and landing for centuries. The larger-than-life Reindeer Flight Instructor has stories of all of your favorite reindeer celebrities (as well as the many reindeer you may have never heard of) and has come to Main Street to ensure the "runway" is clear for Santa's big night.
SANTA’S ELVES: When traveling to St. Charles, Santa brings along some of his most trusted Elves from the North Pole. For your elf audition, create a performance based around one (1) of the following elves:
- Elf 1: An over-the-top news anchor for the cheesy Christmas gossip program “North Pole Tonight!”
- Elf 2: A coach and head of the North Pole athletic department. This elf tests all of the sport equipment before Santa delivers it. A multi-silver medal winning champion of the Reindeer Games.
- Elf 3: Santa’s snooty Chef de Cuisine. Knows all of the secret recipes to creating the perfect holiday treats from fruit cakes to figgy puddings. Views cooking as a high art.
LATVIAN MUMMERS: New for 2020. **NOTE: These characters will only appear on Wednesday and Friday evenings during the Festival (excluding Friday, November 27th)** May be cast as male or female. More than one role may be available. In Latvia, midwinter is prime time to get rid of evil spirits in a practice known as “mumming.” Mummers are local members of the community who disguise themselves in animal pelts and various other-worldly, goblin costumes (not unlike the ancient tradition that became “Trick or Treating”). These Mummers travel from house to house, chasing off evil spirits with their singing and dancing. Eastern European accent.
KALLIKANTZAROI: **NOTE: These characters will only appear on Wednesday and Friday evenings during the Festival (excluding Friday, November 27th)** May be cast as male or female. These impish Greek goblins reside at the center of the earth and rise to the surface during the Twelve Days of Christmas, where they play pranks and cause trouble. You can keep them from entering your house by putting a colander on your doorstep. Kallikantzaroi are notoriously unintelligent, and can’t count higher than two (therefore, they will spend all night trying to count the holes of the colander, and never enter). They are banished back to the center of the earth on Epiphany (January 6th), when Greek priests go around from house-to-house, blessing them with holy water.
GRYLA: **Note: This character will only appear on Wednesday and Friday evening of the Festival (excluding Friday, November 27th)** With a name that roughly translates to “growler,” this tough ogress resides in a cave in the Icelandic hinterlands where she is the matriarch of a family of bizarre creatures (including the 13 Yule Lads and the ferocious Jolakotturinn or “Yule Cat.”) During the Icelandic midwinter festival of Jol, this mythical giant with her multiple tails descends from the mountains into local villages, where she snatches up naughty children to make into stew. Seeking a performer who can present the bizarre and curious folklore of Gryla in a comedic fashion.
*All applicants must be available for the typical festival performance schedule during the season. While flexibility in regard to prior commitments may be given to some degree, availability for performances will be given strong consideration when casting. In addition, carolers will be expected to meet for one two-hour rehearsal each week beginning in October for the purposes of learning music and developing quartet performances.