Ready for the Stage?

Adult Auditions


2020-2021 Season




IN-PERSON AUDTIONS- 90 min timeslots available from Sunday, May 16 through Wednesday, May 19 (7pm- 9pm).

SUMMARY: Written by Beth Henley (Pulitzer Prize-winning author of CRIMES OF THE HEART) and directed by Scott Dunlap, THE MISS FIRECRACKER CONTEST will be performed on the MainStage.

The story is set in Brookhaven, Mississippi, as Carnelle Scott attempts to find validation and salvage her tarnished reputation by entering the “Miss Firecracker Contest,” the town’s annual beauty pageant held on the Fourth of July. Orphaned at a young age, Carnelle was taken in by her Aunt Ronelle and raised with her two selfish and vain cousins, Elain and Delmount. After Aunt Ronelle’s death, Elain, a former pageant winner, has returned home to escape a loveless, but otherwise perfect marriage. While her brother Delmount, recently released from a mental institution (placed there by Elain) has also returned home to sell off the house and its belongings so he can finally escape his family. Fireworks fly as the sibling rivalry threatens to steal the spotlight (once again) from Carnelle’s dreams. Throw in a delightfully daffy “fairy-godmother” with a sewing kit, Popeye Jackson, and past paramours both terrifying (beauty pageant organizer Tessy Mahoney), and sapient (a carny named Mac Sam), and the path to winning might get a bit bumpier, but no one will be the same after the contest.


The show will be performed live on the MainStage at CTC.

We are looking at the option of “double-casting.” This will depend on the availability and prospects of the volunteer actors. The two casts will rotate in-person rehearsals, along with performances. Most rehearsals will be masked.

***Performers should be vaccinated for COVID-19, or be willing to be vaccinated prior to performances. Please note: Some of the scenes in the play require characters or scenes that contain physical contact (i.e. kissing, hugging) that makes it impossible to block using social distancing guidelines, therefore we are requiring actors to be vaccinated.***

The show opens on July 9 and runs through July 25, 2021.

The potential performance schedule would proceed as follows:

BOTTLE ROCKET CAST PERFORMANCES- JULY 9 at 8pm, JULY 10 at 2:30pm, JULY 15 at 7pm, JULY 17 at 8pm, JULY 18 at 2:30pm, JULY 23 at 8pm, and JULY 24 at 2:30pm

CHERRY BOMB CAST PERFORMANCES- JULY 10 at 8pm, JULY 11 at 2:30pm, JULY 16 at 8pm, JULY 17 at 2:30pm, JULY 22 at 7pm, JULY 24 at 8pm, and JULY 25 at 2:30pm


Auditions will be held Sunday, May 16 through Wednesday, May 19 from 7pm – 10:30pm at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, in the Circle Lobby.

You MUST sign-up for an audition time. “Walk-ups” will not be permitted.

You can sign-up here:

Parking is free. Obtain a parking pass upon your arrival for our parking lot, adjacent to CTC.

You only need to come to one initial audition. Please DO NOT come to multiple days.

Callbacks, if needed, will be held on Thursday, May 20 at 7pm.

Auditions and callbacks should last about 60-90 minutes.

Your picture may be taken as a part of the audition process. Your audition might be recorded as a part of the audition process. This helps track who has auditioned and gives us a record of those who are auditioning.

You should know your conflicts. Your conflict list should specify conflicts from the rehearsal start date until the date of the last show. You should have NO CONFLICTS during show performances or the week of rehearsals (“tech week”).

Bottled water is permitted during the audition and in the backstage area. NO FOOD, GUM/CANDY, or DRINKS in the theatre or rehearsal space.

If you are not called back, you might already be cast, and we saw everything we needed to at the initial audition. If you are called back, we will give you some sides (short parts of the script) to read with a partner. You will be able to look them over when you arrive.

You will be emailed a link to the audition form, along with sides that you can prepare (It doesn’t have to be memorized, but you should be familiar enough with it that you can act it and not have to read.)

The link to sign-up for auditions is here:


Please be aware of any date you might have a conflict with our normal rehearsal schedule; Sunday through Friday from 7-10pm.

We might not rehearse every night. No one will be required to be at rehearsal every night, the exception being the actress who plays Carnelle.

The schedule will be based on the conflicts of the actors who are cast, therefore any conflicts AFTER the cast list is posted, may result in being recast.

You will be given the option of your preference of casts, based on the performance schedule.

There should be no conflicts with “Tech Week,” the week prior to opening night.

A full potential rehearsal/performance schedule will be a part of your digital audition form.


Rehearsals MIGHT begin as early as Friday, May 21 at 7pm.

Potential rehearsal days and times are Sundays through Fridays from 7-10pm. This is not definitive, because an actual rehearsal schedule is NOT made until we know your availability.

Please note that not everyone may be called for every rehearsal.

Actors will only be called when they are needed to work.

If you have ANY conflicts, please let the director know on your audition form.

Be certain there are no conflicts with performances or tech week.

The link to sign-up is here:


2 MALE AND 4 FEMALE ROLES in each CAST. We are committed to “non-traditional casting,” or “color-conscious casting” of ethnic minority actors in roles where race or ethnicity is not germane.


DELMOUNT WILLIAMS: Delmount is the “black sheep” of the family. He has a checkered past, having been in trouble with the law and admitted to a mental hospital. He might be mentally unstable or may be just passionate and loud. He is highly intelligent and a bit of a “Casanova” with the ladies. Fancies himself a poet or great philosopher. He has an antagonistic relationship with Elain, but he loves her. He is confused and amused by Carnelle, who dotes on him. Onstage, he has been portrayed by Mark Linn-Baker (TV: “Perfect Strangers”) and by Tim Robbins in the movie version. [Age in script: 28, however he could be as old as 35.]

MAC SAM: Mac Sam is a carny, specifically he is a balloon seller. He is good-hearted and good-natured and a former lover of Carnelle. He is quite sick, but still has a sex appeal. He finds the humor in situations and able to discern the hearts of others. Most famously portrayed by Scott Glenn in the film. [Age in script: mid-30s, but could be as old as mid to late 50s]


CARNELLE SCOTT: This role was made famous by Holly Hunter, onstage and in the film. Carnelle is complicated. She is trying so hard to change herself for the better but has yet to find the proper tools or outlet to improve. She is lovable, optimistic, insecure, prone to big emotions and driven, borderline obsessed. The actress cast in this role will be on-stage in a swimsuit and a leotard at another point. [Age in script: 24, could be as old as 30]

ELAIN RUTLEDGE: Another complicated role, Elain is pretty and smart; somewhat shallow and vain, but not always the villain. Truly, she loves her cousin and her brother but isn’t always kind or helpful to them. She won the Miss Firecracker Contest, when she was 17 and has been struggling to ‘find herself’ since then. The character is similar to “Suzanne Sugarbaker in TV’s Designing Women.” Onstage she was played by Patricia Richardson (TV: “Home Improvement”) and by Mary Steenburgen in the film. [Age in script: 32, could be as old as 40)

POPEYE JACKSON: Popeye is an outsider. She is adorably kooky and quirky. She appears to be a simple person but might be the wisest character in the play. She is also child-like in her responses to shocking news with big reactions (and everything is shocking news to her). She and Carnelle are like two adorable children, who just met on the playground and instantly bonded with their newfound soulmate! She has been portrayed by Belita Moreno (Most famous for playing George Lopez’s mother on TV) and by Alfre Woodard in the film. [Age in script: 23, could also be as old as 35]

TESS MAHONEY: Tess is overly sweet to cover insecurities and incompetency. She is lonely, but not necessarily in an appealing way. She is naïve, but not necessarily in a way that might illicit empathy. She is proud of her role as pageant coordinator – and is good at it. She has been portrayed by the brilliant character actress, Margo Martindale, in the original stage production. [Age in script: mid-to-late 20s but could be as old as 35.]

NOTE – The suggested ages in the script can be altered or ‘aged up’ as appropriate to auditions, with Carnelle being in her 30s and the other characters’ ages changing as needed. Popeye, Mac Sam, and Tessy can be ‘aged up’ a good bit, even if other characters’ ages are not altered.

Racial diversity is welcomed! There are some references to race that can be changed or altered based on casting.

All characters would need a southern accent, but Mac Sam is not identified as being from the south, so a southern accent for that character is not a given.

To audition, sign-up here:


“Where do I park?”

Free Parking is available in our parking lot, across the street from the theatre. You will need to come inside to get a parking pass from a staff member and return to your car with the pass before auditioning.

“How old do I need to be to audition?”

For this show, you need to be at least 18 years old.

“There are multiple days of auditions, should I come more than once?”

The short answer is: “no.” Sign-up for the day and time that works best for you. Please, don’t come to multiple auditions, it doesn’t help your chances of getting a role. However, the Callbacks for the show will be held on the Thursday immediately following the audition (May 20 at 7pm), so if you have a conflict with that day, please let us know as soon as possible.

“Do I need to prepare anything?”

We will email you “sides” which you can familiarize yourself with, approximately 48 hours prior to your audition. It does not need to be memorized, but you need to be familiar with the lines so that you can “act” and not just “read.”

“What do I need to do to sign-up?”

Follow this link:

After signing up, an email with an audition form, along with sides for the audition will be sent to you.

“Do I have to sign-up? Can’t I just come on the day?”

In the past that has been the case, but trying to protect the health and safety of those auditioning, we are requiring that you sign-up for an audition time for this audition.

“Where is the play performed?”

This show will be performed live (audience will be masked, the performers will not) on the MainStage at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre.

“When will the cast be announced?”

We hope to have it announced by noon on May 21, 2021, but if we have any issues with casting, those who have auditioned will be notified on updates.

Any other questions can be emailed to the director, Scott Dunlap at [email protected]

Thank you and hope to see you soon!


Frequently Asked Questions about Auditions

Where do I park?

You can park in the lot right across from the Theatre Centre. It is free to park there, though you will need to pick up a parking pass inside and place it in your car before you audition. We recommend that you pull up to the Circle Lobby doors and obtain the pass from the greeting station set up at the concession stand, before parking in the lot.

There are two days of auditions. Do I come to both?

The short answer is: “no.” You can come to either Monday or Tuesday, whichever works best for you. Please don’t come to both audition days, it doesn’t help your chances of getting a role. However, the Callbacks for the show will be held on the Thursday immediately following the audition, so if you have a conflict with that day, please let us know at the audition.

Is it okay to arrive at 7:30 pm for the audition?

Sort of. Yes, if you have to hurry from school and/or work to get here by 7:30 pm; that is fine. Just be aware that there is an audition form that must be filled out before you can audition, so if you can arrive 15-30 minutes early, it would be less stressful for you and more helpful for us if you can have that done by 7:30 pm.

How old do I need to be to audition?

All actors should be age appropriate for the characters. We are committed to non-traditional casting, or color-conscious casting of ethnic minority actors in roles where race or ethnicity is not germane. Which means actors of all races are encouraged to audition.

Do I need to prepare a monologue?

No, if there is a scene or “sides” we want you to read, we will provide that. The only preparation necessary is that you have a list of ANY conflicts you might have with rehearsal. This is vital! We MUST know any days you will miss in ADVANCE of casting.

Is there a fee to audition or perform?

Participation at CTC is COMPLETELY FREE! You don’t have to purchase a script, or your costume…there are no fees…nothing! All we ask is that you commit to arriving to scheduled rehearsals on time and agree to attend all the rehearsals and performances that are required!

Where do I find out if I have a callback?

“Like” our Facebook page and look for notices. If you don’t have Facebook, you can check our website: We typically announce callbacks on the Wednesday immediately following the Monday and Tuesday auditions. Callbacks are usually at 7:30 pm on Thursday of that same week. If your name isn’t on the callback list, you might still be cast, so check back for a complete cast list on Friday after 12 noon.

When is the cast announced?

Usually a cast will be posted on our Theatre Centre Facebook page or on Friday of the same week as the audition.

Thank you and hope to see you there!