Auditions for Murder on the Orient Express


Sense & Sensibility

 OpenStage values equity, diversity and inclusion and will continue to strive toward a broader telling of the human story with our Company of Artists and the plays we produce.  If specific age/race/ethnicity/gender or other attributes are key to the story, it will be clearly stated in the character descriptions for auditions. Otherwise we are seeking actors from all races/ethnicities/ages/genders/physical abilities.

In reference to the character descriptions below—most characters we encounter currently are on the binary and are written with he/him or she/her pronouns and you will see that in the following descriptions. But however limiting the descriptions are, our casting seeks to be as inclusive as possible and we invite gender non-conforming, genderqueer, transgender and non-binary actors to submit for the roles they most identify with.

Please let us know if you have any questions, concerns, or if there are any accommodations we can provide.

Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express

By, Ken Ludwig

Directed by Bruce K. Freestone
Performs October 30 - November 27
Rehearsals begin Aug/September 2021
Essential Season
Venue: Lincoln Center - Magnolia Theatre

Notes from the Director

Exotic locales; complex plots; richly crafted characters. These are what make an Agatha Christie murder mystery. Yet MOTOE is less about murder and more about justice. Our Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, is challenged to locate a (presumed) phantom visitor to the train while dismantling the deceptions of each of the remaining passengers. Each of these characters is an intriguing psychological study – an amalgam of real people and emotions but still fulfilling the audience’s expectation of a stereotypical villain. Ultimately each character, including Poirot, must face his or her inner demons and a fundamental moral choice.

The detective genre was developed between the two great wars at a time when the general populace struggled with incorporating modern attitudes with the remnants of class and prejudice. Our style is of the 1930’s and incorporates those assumptions. Our suspects are Russian, Hungarian, French, British, Swedish and American and each is a product of the societal values and ideas of the day. The entitlement of the rich and the helplessness of the underclasses are both represented. The clever detective offers the reader an escape by showing that intelligence and self-reliance can be sufficient following a pervasive loss of faith in the Law and Justice.

Within this genre the acting style will demand realism and verisimilitude. Dialects will be addressed in rehearsal but not required for auditions.

Character Descriptions

**Precasting Notice: Princess Dragmiroff will be played by  Denise Burson Freestone**

Hercule Poirot  (45-60 male-identifying) Famous Belgian detective, dapper, very proper manners

Monsieur Bouc (mid 40s male-identifying) Belgian manager of the railway, good-natured businessman

Mary Debenham ( late 20s female-identifying) English beauty, an innocent

Hector McQueen  (30s male-identifying) American secretary to Samuel Ratchett, nervous type

Michel  (35-40ish male-identifying) French head porter on the train, quiet, good-looking

Princess Dragomiroff (70s female-identifying) Russian aristocrat in exile, haughty

Greta Ohlsson (30s female-identifying) Swedish companion to the Princess, religious, frightened

Countess Andrenyi  (20s, female-identifying) Hungarian beauty, flirtatious

Helen Hubbord  (50s, female-identifying) American socialite, flamboyant

Colonel Arbuthnot  (30s, male-identifying) Scotsman, handsome, military to the bone

Samuel Ratchett  (30-35, male-identifying) American gangster type, threatening

Daisy Armstrong  (8-12, female-identifying) seen only in flashbacks



 Sense & Sensibility

By Kate Hamill

Based on the novel by Jane Austen


Directed by Noah Racey
Performs January 15 - Feburary 12
Rehearsals begin October 2021
Essential Season
Venue: Lincoln Center - Magnolia Theatre

Notes from the Director

Nineteen-year-old Elinor and seventeen-year-old Marianne Dashwood are sisters, one prudent,
the other romantic. On the death of their father they are left with little money or status, and they
move with their mother and youngest sister to a humble cottage on the Devonshire estate of a
rich relation, Sir John Middleton. Here, Marianne is soon swept off her feet by the handsome,
dashing Willoughby. Elinor quietly nurses her preference for Edward Ferrars, a sensible but
strangely melancholic young man whose feelings towards her she struggles to understand.
Meanwhile, Colonel Brandon, a serious man of thirty-five, is evidently attracted to Marianne,
though his grave manner cannot compete with Willoughby’s charm. Things go wrong for both
sisters when pert, self-serving Lucy Steele confides in Elinor that she is secretly engaged to
Edward, and Willoughby suddenly leaves the neighborhood without explanation. The conduct of
the sisters contrasts; Elinor keeping her misery to herself while Marianne indulges and even
feeds her grief, encouraged by her fond mother.
The scene moves to London, where the sisters are guests of Mrs. Jennings, the vulgar but kindly
mother-in-law of Sir John. In the highly contrived world of London society, Marianne’s open
pursuit of Willoughby leads to more heartbreak as he spurns her and plans to marry an heiress.
Lucy’s sister Nancy betrays the secret of Lucy’s engagement to Edward, whereupon Edward’s
snobbish, domineering mother cuts off his allowance, and he decides to become ordained.
Colonel Brandon kindly offers him a modest living on his estate, Delaford, in Dorset. As this
dwelling is not posh enough for Lucy, she rapidly transfers her affections to Edward’s younger
brother Robert and persuades him to elope. Meanwhile, while staying with Mrs. Jennings’
married daughter in Somerset on the way back to Devon, Marianne falls seriously ill through
self-neglect. Colonel Brandon rides off to collect Mrs. Dashwood. Edward is now free to propose
to his true love Elinor, and before too long a recovered and chastened Marianne freely agrees to
become the wife of the worthy Colonel Brandon.

Character Descriptions

ELINOR DASHWOOD  (late teens - 30s, female-indentifying) The eldest daughter of  Mr. and Mrs. Henry Dashwood. Sensible.

MARIANNE DASHWOOD  (late teens - 30s, female indentifying)   The second daughter of  Mr. and Mrs. Henry Dashwood. Sensitive.

MARGARET DASHWOOD/MRS. FERRARS/GOSSIP  (20's - 40s, female-indentifying)

Margaret Dashwood:  The youngest Dashwood sister; 10-13 yrs old. Margaret shares her sister  Marianne's romantic tendencies.

Mrs. Ferrars:  The wealthy, manipulative mother of Edward and Robert who disinherits her first son when he refuses to marry a rich heiress.

Gossip:  A member of a chorus of high-society creatures.                  

MRS. DASHWOOD/ANNE STEELE/GOSSIP (20s - 60s, female-identifying)

Mrs. Dashwood:  The kind and loving mother of Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret. Shares Marianne's romantic sensibilities.

Anne Steele:  Lucy Steele's sister, indiscrete.

Gossip: A member of a chorus of high-society creatures.


Colonel Brandon:  An older bachelor; over 45 years old. Kindly, honorable, and gracious.

Thomas:  A servant.

Lady Middleton:  An over-bred lady; a distant relation of the Dashwoods who lives  at Barton Cottage with her husband Sir John Middleton.

 Gossip:  A member of a chorus of high-society creatures.

JOHN WILLOUGHBY/JOHN DASHWOOD/GOSSIP (20s - 40s, male- indentifying)

John Willoughby:  An unusually handsome young man.

John Dashwood:  Half-brother to the Dashwood sisters (from their father’s side; no blood relation to Mrs. Dashwood). A push-over to his manipulative wife.

Gossip:  A member of a chorus of high-society creatures.


Edward Ferrars:  A gentleman; an earnest, friendly and sensible bachelor.

Robert Ferrars:  A callow young man; Edward Ferrars’ younger brother.

Lady Middleton:  An over-bred lady; a distant relation of the Dashwoods who lives at Barton Cottage with her husband Sir John Middleton.

Gossip:  A member of a chorus of high-society creatures.

MRS. JENNINGS/GOSSIP (20s - 60s, male-identifying)

Mrs. Jennings A good-natured, boisterous woman; mother-in-law to Sir John and a terror to the countryside. Lady Middleton's gossipy but well-intentioned mother who invites the Dashwood sisters to stay with her in London and makes it her "project" to marry them off as soon as possible.

Gossip A member of a chorus of high-society creatures.