Auditions for
Men on Boats
by Jaclyn Backhaus

Silver Spring Stage is holding auditions for Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus. The production will be directed by Erin Bone Steele and produced by Lennie Magida. Performances will be January 27 – February 18, 2023. (See details below.)

Auditions will be held at Silver Spring Stage (10145 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, MD) on:
• Sunday, November 13, 7:00-10:00 PM
• Monday, November 14, 7:00-10:00 PM
Callbacks by invitation will be on Wednesday, November 16, 7:00-10:00 PM.

If you are unable to attend auditions in person, please email us at to arrange a video submission.

First read-through will be Monday, November 21, 7:00-10:00 PM. (This is the start of Thanksgiving week.)

***Silver Spring Stage is an all-volunteer theater. All roles are open and unpaid.***

To audition, sign up here for a five-minute slot. You will be asked to present a contemporary comedic monologue no longer than 90 seconds. Prepared, memorized monologues are preferred. However, actors may bring a copy of a monologue to read, and the Stage will also have printed monologues available. Walk-ups are permitted, but we will accommodate them only as time allows.

Some Notes About Auditions & Schedules:
Actors will need to fill out an audition form and submit a resume and headshot if available.
Access the form here to print it out and complete it prior to your audition.

Actors must note their conflicts throughout the rehearsal process and run of the show, November 21-February 18.

Rehearsals will typically be held four times a week, on both weeknights and weekends, depending on cast availability.

Tech and dress rehearsals begin Saturday, January 21, 2023.

Performances will run four weekends, January 27–February 18. Performances will be Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, with Sunday matinees on February 5 and 12 at 2:00 PM.

Brush-up rehearsals may be held Thursday evenings before Friday performances.

Cast attendance is required at all rehearsals as called by the director and stage manager, unless a conflict has been previously indicated. Cast must be available for all tech and dress rehearsals, performances, and brush ups.

Mask policy and health considerations: Please be prepared to do your audition monologue and on-stage tech/dress/performances without a mask. We currently plan for mask-wearing to be optional in call-backs, rehearsals (until tech/performances), and backstage. Masks are a useful tool for preventing the spread of many illnesses, and we may revise this policy to err on the side of caution as the public health situation or individual health conditions warrant.

** If you have any questions, please email us at **

This account of a geological expedition down the Green and Colorado Rivers in 1869 is based on the journals of John Wesley Powell and his crew of pioneers. Traveling in improbable wooden boats with limited supplies, these 10 explorers encountered rapids, waterfalls, native people, shipwrecks, snakes, and their own mental and physical limits. These historical figures were all cisgender white males; the cast portraying them will be made up entirely of people who are not. In this bold and refreshing approach, the play bridges the gap between then and now in ways that highlight the ludicrous arrogance of the Western colonizers while recognizing their bravery and fearlessness, while the theatrical dissonance between the performer and the role allows for comedy, commentary, and satire.

Men on Boats contains occasional profanity, characters consuming alcohol, and loud sound effects including rivers, rattlesnakes, and gunshots.

On boats and exploring the landscape, in and around the Green and Colorado Rivers, 1869.

Age range for all roles is 18-70. Accordingly, the director may ask actors to read for a variety of roles.

This production will honor the casting instructions from the playwright: “The characters in Men on Boats were historically cisgender white males. The cast should be made up entirely of people who are not. I’m talking about racially diverse actors who are female-identifying, trans-identifying, genderfluid, and/or non-gender conforming. It is my strong preference that Tsauwiat/OG and The Bishop/Seneca be played by Native cast members [or] must at least be cast as non-white.”

John Wesley Powell: One-armed leader of the expedition
William Dunn: A hunter and trapper
John Colton Sumner: Former soldier, now an explorer
Old Shady: Powell’s older brother, a Civil War veteran
Bradley: A lieutenant, youthful and energetic
O.G. Howland: A printer, now a hunter. This actor doubles as Tsauwiat, a Ute chief.
Seneca Howland: O.G.’s younger brother, quiet. This actor doubles as The Bishop, Tsauwiat’s wife.
Frank Goodman: British, so excited! This actor doubles as Mr. Asa, a desert settler.
Hall: A mapmaker, an old soul
Hawkins: The cook

** Again, if you have any questions, please email us at**

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