Open Auditions: The Miss Firecracker Contest

Arts and Entertainment

November 22, 2014

From: Foothills Community Players


For immediate release

November 20, 2014



Foothills Community Players Announces Auditions for


The Miss Firecracker Contest


By Beth Henley

Auditions for FCP's production of The Miss Firecracker Contest by Beth Henley will be held on Saturday, December 13, 2014, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Monday, December 15, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at The Salvation Army (1414 Sevierville Rd., Maryville, TN, 37804).  Auditionees can come either day.

Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script.  Auditionees should bring a resume and headshot to the audition. A digital photo will be taken before sign-in for those who don't bring a headshot. All auditionees should be prepared to list any conflicts that may exist during the rehearsal and performance period at the auditions.

Those cast will be given scripts so that they may immediately begin learning their lines.  Rehearsals will not begin until February, however, there will likely be one or two read-throughs during the month of January. Once the show is cast, actors will be given a schedule of the actual dates and times for rehearsal.

Performances will be March 19 22, 2014 at the Clayton Center for the Arts, in Maryville, TN. Michael Higdon will direct the production.   


The place is the small Mississippi town of Brookhaven, the time a few days before the Fourth of July. Carnelle Scott is rehearsing furiously for the Miss Firecracker Contest hoping that a victory will salvage her tarnished reputation and allow her to leave town in a blaze of glory. Her preparations, however, are interrupted by the unexpected arrival of her cousin Elain, a former Miss Firecracker winner, who recently walked out on her husband and two children.  Further complicating matters is the repeated threat of Elain's eccentric brother, Delmount, to sell the family homestead and decamp for New Orleans. But, aided by a touchingly awkward seamstress named Popeye and several other cheerfully nutty characters, Carnelle perseveres leading to a denouement of unparalleled hilarity, compassion and moving lyricism as all concerned finally escape their unhappy pasts and turn hopefully toward what must surely be a better future.

Roles are available for four females and two males. All characters must have a natural-sounding Southern accent.

Carnelle Scott (20s) Likely the most enthusiastic, hard-working contestant in Miss Firecracker history, Carnelle wants very much to win the pageant to prove that she's a changed person and no longer the girl townspeople have cruelly nicknamed "Miss Hot Tamale." Carnelle has a heart of gold someone who only sees good in others, while sometimes failing to see the good in herself.  Carnelle briefly wears a swimsuit (it will be a tasteful, one-piece) during the show, so the actress playing this role should be comfortable in appearing onstage in such attire.  Carnelle also has fire red hair, and ideally the actress playing this role will be willing to color her hair for the run of the show.

Popeye Jackson (20s-early 30s) Carnelle's seamstress, Popeye is a local country girl who gets caught up in the pageant madness.  A funny character with a hard life, Popeye got her nickname from a childhood prank that caused her eyes to bulge, but left her with the ability to hear through her eyes. She learned to sew as a child by making outfits for bullfrogs because she didn't have any dolls.  Wide-eyed and innocent, she falls in love with Delmount.

Elain Rutledge (30s-early 40s) Carnelle's first cousin, Elain is a local beauty who won the Miss Firecracker Contest when she was 17.  Since then, she has moved away and married a wealthy man only to find herself dissatisfied and unfulfilled.  A sometimes shallow woman who wants desperately to break out of the small world she has built for herself, she returns home to sort out her life only to get caught up in helping Carnelle prepare for the pageant.

Delmount Williams (late 20s-early 30s) Carnelle's first cousin and Elain's brother, Delmount returns to town to sell his mother's house. Extremely well-spoken and intellectual, he fancies himself a philosopher but, at the same time, is somewhat unstable with a history of rash actions. He also has an obsession with classical beauty yet is repulsed by both the phoniness of the pageant and the shallow life his sister Elain has made for herself. He entrances Popeye with his ability to wiggle his ears and write poetry.

Tessy Mahoney (20s) The beauty pageant coordinator, Tessy is described as "the uglier of T.S. Mahoney's two ugly daughters." A high-strung, shrill young woman, she is obsessed with keeping the pageant on track.  In the past, she had a scandalous tryst with Delmount and, despite the outward anger she projects at him over the incident, seems determined for a repeat performance.  This role requires a strong comedienne, who is comfortable being made to look unattractive.  Tessy only appears in Act II, so this role is ideal for someone looking for a smaller role.

Mac Sam (late 20s-mid 30s) Known as the balloon man, Mac Sam is one of Carnelle's former lovers. He seems to truly care about her and cheers her on as she competes in the beauty contest. A complex and touching character, Sam is described as "thin, stoop-shouldered, and in drastically poor health," but at the same time, "there is something extraordinarily sensual about him." Mac Sam only appears in Act II, so this role is ideal for someone looking for a smaller role.

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