Auditions Announced for SANDERS’ FAMILY CHRISTMAS at RiverStage Community Theater – Music Director Needed

RSCT_logo.jpgSanders’ Family Christmas
Book by Connie Ray

Directed by Richard Zenk
Produced by Linda Shuck and Pat Mattingly Norman

RiverStage Community Theater seeks a Musical Director and actors for the Christmas show. 

Audition Dates: 

  • Saturday, October 1st from 1-3pm
  • Sunday, October 2nd from 1-3pm

Headshots and resumes are appreciated but not required. 

Market Street School Auditorium
212 Market Street
New Richmond, Oh 45157 

Performances run December 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, and 11.

Rehearsals start October 11th and will be held Saturdays and Sundays 1-3P and some Tuesdays 7-9P in October.  Schedule for November TBD.

Actors are expected to be off-book November 1st. 

Synopsis: This play with bluegrass/gospel music is set in the small country sanctuary of the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina near the Blue Ridge Mountains.  It is Wednesday night, December 24, 1941, eighteen days after Pearl Harbor and FDR’s declaration of war.

The fictional Sanders Family first performed at Mount Pleasant on June 15, 1938 after a five-year hiatus from the Gospel Circuit (the setting of the musical Smoke on the Mountain – the prequel show).  This will be their last performance before the war forces the group to disband since Dennis will be shipping out to Boot Camp the day after Christmas. 


  • Burl Sanders: Father (40 – 60s) – Baritone – Strong patriarch, and proud leader of his family.
  • Vera Sanders: Mother (40 -60s) – Alto –  Strong faith, adores her children, challenges the Reverend with knowledge of scriptures. Good comic timing.
  • Stanley Sanders: Uncle (40 – 50s) – Bass – Burl’s brother, formerly served prison time and most recently returned from a role in a Hollywood western. Rough but sweet on the inside.
  • Dennis Sanders: Twin brother (20s) – Tenor – Has become a “real” preacher since his first visit to Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church.  He is proud to have enlisted in the Marines instead of being drafted. He is the younger of the twins and seems willing to follow the lead of others.
  • Denise Sanders: Twin sister (20s) – Soprano – Naïve, with good intentions that cause the family some embarrassment. She is the oldest of the twins and has a bubbly personality. Good comic timing.
  • June Sanders: Sister (20-30s) – June contributes to the family’s performances by playing hand-held percussion instruments and demonstrating her own interpretive “sign language.” The only role thatdoes notrequire singing.
  • Reverend Mervin Oglethorpe: – Tenor – Pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church (30s) An enthusiastic minister who recently lost his beloved mother. Good comic timing.

Note about stage ages: The director must select individuals that look age appropriate as parents and children.  In addition, Melvin must be appear to be just a few years older than June as he proposes marriage to her in the show. 

Audition Expectations

  • Those auditioning should be prepared to sing with or without musical accompaniment.  Prepare to sing any popular church Christmas song rather than the songs listed in the audition notice. and bring the sheet music if you have it. Looking forward to your audition. 
  • Each character, except June, must be able to sing bluegrass/folk/gospel styles. There is both group singing and solo singing.  We are looking for heartfelt quality singing as might be heard in a church choir.
  • Those auditioning for Denise will be asked to sing I Wonder as I Wonder. Those auditioning for men’s roles will be asked to sing Onward, Christian Soldiers. Those auditioning for Vera will be asked to singHold Fast to the Night. You will be asked to sing Angels We Have Heard on Highand/or A Country Type of Christmas with others. The songs will be played by a keyboard accompanist.
  • Listen to the cast recording on iTunes or watch both acts of the show on YouTube (member name: korggrok).
  • The ability to play instruments such as piano, guitar, mandolin, upright bass, ukulele, banjo, fiddle, even a harmonica, is a plus (but not required) for each family member. No dancing is required for this show.
  • Familiarize yourself with the Baptist religion (e.g.,
  • For the role of June, prepare your own version of sign language to A Country Type of Christmas. The more original and humorous the better.
  • All will be asked to do readings from the script. Email the director ( if you would like to review  for the sections of the script each character will be asked to perform. In addition, you may be asked to read other parts with others.

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