Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play
#4 Best American Play since Angels in America” – New York Times, 2018
By Anne Washburn
Music By Michael Friedman
Lyrics By Anne Washburn
Directed By: Michael Smith-Gallo
After the collapse of civilization, a group of survivors share a campfire and begin to piece together the plot of “The Simpsons” episode “Cape Feare” entirely from memory. 7 years later, this and other snippets of pop culture (sitcom plots, commercials, jingles, and pop songs) have become the live entertainment of a post-apocalyptic society, sincerely trying to hold onto its past. 75 years later, these are the myths and legends from which new forms of performance are created.
In the ever changing face of the COVID pandemic, Studio Players has made the following changes to meet or exceed CDC Guidelines as well as local, state, and federal laws.
Attendees of Shows, Staff, Performers, Volunteers
- All Patrons of Studio Players, staff, performers, volunteers must be fully vaccinated with an FDA or WHO authorized COVID vaccine, no exceptions. WE WILL NO LONGER BE ADMITTING ANYONE WHO IS NOT FULLY VACCINATED (2 doses minimum)
- This means:
- 2 weeks after second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine (J&J).
- This means:
- All Patrons of Studio Players, staff, performers, volunteers must show proof of vaccination to enter. Accepted methods include:
- Original CDC Vaccination Card and photo ID.
- Photo of CDC Vaccination Card and photo ID.
- Docket App (New Jersey Residents only): Docket is a free app from the NJ Department of Health that makes it easier for you and your family to securely access your COVID-19 vaccination record. The Docket App is available on Apple’s App Store and Google Play. https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaxrecords
- Excelsior Pass (New York residents only)is a free app from the NYS Dept of Health that makes it easy for you to access your vaccination record. It is available on Apple’s App Store and Google Play. https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/excelsior-pass
- All patrons during events and actors, staff, volunteers during rehearsals are required to wear masks that cover both their nose and mouth while inside Studio Players. Acceptable masks via:
- CDC Mask Guidelines are as follows:
- Disposable surgical masks
- Cloth masks
- KN95/N95 masks
- Not Acceptable Masks are as follows:
- Neck gaiters or bandanas
- Masks with an exhalation valve or vent
- Plastic face shield alone
- CDC Mask Guidelines are as follows:
Precautions Studio Players Is Taking
- Tickets are touchless. They are purchased ahead of time online or may be purchased at the door.
- Seating unlike our previous policy is general seating so audience members may space themselves out as needed.
- We will not be selling refreshments.
- Hand sanitizer, wipes, and masks are available to all at no charge.
- We have upgraded our filtration system.
- We ask that patrons do not linger in the lobby before the show, during intermission unless online for bathroom, after the show. Immediately exit the building after the show. Performers can meet you outside.
- Our performers while on stage will not be masked. They are over 10 feet away at minimum from audience members while they are on the stage.
Liability and Personal Responsibility
- By choosing to attend any Studio Players event, you are assuming all risks related to being exposed to COVID-19 and Studio Players will not be held responsible.
- Monitor your health. If you don’t feel well, please stay at home.
- If you have exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 10 days, have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 10 days, or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 in the past 10 days, please stay home.
While attending any Studio Players event, please follow the directions of our staff and volunteers. For the safety of all of our patrons, we reserve the right to ask you to leave the premises if you are unable or unwilling to follow these guidelines in their entirety. Thank you for your full support!
Auditions dates and times February 6 and 7 at 7:00 pm.
Rehearsals begin February 28
Performance Dates: May 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21 at 8:00 pm and May 8 and 15 at 3:00 pm
Submit resume and sign up for audition time slot
Please sign up for an audition timeslot ahead of time. Walk-ins accepted, but those with a time slot will be given priority.
Our Commitment to Diversity
As stated on our home page, Studio Players stands committed to casting people of color and people of all faiths, genders, sexual orientations, ages, and abilities in any role that will showcase their talent, and to inviting all people in our diverse communities to join us onstage (or behind the scenes). Mr. Burns is meant to be an early exemplar of that. In the narrative, the characters are thrown together irrespective of life circumstances. There are no expectations on race, religion, or orientation. There are scant suggestions of age, and though pronouns are suggested below, even gender is malleable. We truly hope this show is the best of all of us!
As the world of Mr. Burns unfolds, we start on a group of 5 characters, but 2 new characters are introduced as time unfolds, and then all these characters rehearse a performance of a play, enacting various roles from The Simpsons (Season 5, Episode 2: “Cape Feare”), mentioned below. By Act III, it is 2098, and the full cast is in an musical performance of a “bizarro” version of The Simpsons, and they are only defined (in the play and below) by their Simpsons roles.
If you are auditioning for one of the 7 acting roles, please read through the character descriptions below. Regardless of your gender, please pick any one of the following sides and specifically look at the main character: Matt in Side 1, Gibson in Side 2, Maria in Side 3, Quincy in Side 5, or Jenny in Side 7. Be prepared to “read in” as other characters for other auditioners in your slot, but do not feel the need to overly prepare these roles.
Please also be able to read roles from the Ensemble Sides – Side 4 and Side 6. We will be mixing it up among the group of auditioners in your time slot. If there is a particular track or tracks you are more interested in, we will certainly accommodate this in the audition.
If you are NOT auditioning for one of the 7 acting roles, please briefly read through the Ensemble sides (#4 and #6) regardless so we can see your charisma on stage.
All performers sing in Act III. The music is simple and straightforward. You do not need to be a “singer” to participate. Being generally musical, familiar with sheet music, or simply able to hold your own in the car or shower is likely welcomed—but a willingness to sing on stage, in itself, is a requirement. Please be willing to sing a brief ditty of your choosing (a cappella).
Character Descriptions and Audition Sides
Players in Act I, II and III (Acting and Singing Roles)
Matt: A natural ringleader. Loves The Simpsons. Striking up a relationship with Jenny. Plays Homer in Act II and Scratchy in Act III.
Jenny: A bit of a “cool girl.” Fan of The Simpsons. Starting to date Matt. Friend to Maria. Is the Stage Manager in Act II and also plays Marge in Acts II and III.
Maria: A bit of “weird chick.” Doesn’t really know The Simpsons. Smart but anxious. Not very worldly. Plays Lisa and an FBI agent in Act II and Itchy in Act III.
Sam: Ex-military. The “dad” or lieutenant of the group. Not so charismatic, but smart, reasonable, and cunning. Values protocol, but maybe a bit of a pedant. From a small town, with few personal connections. Plays Bart in Act II and Mr. Burns in Act III.
Colleen: Separatist, damaged, frightened; has a missing daughter (aged 12). Is the Director and plays an FBI agent in Act II and plays Lisa in Act III.
Gibson: [Arrives later in Act I—not part of the group] Has never seen The Simpsons, but instead loves Gilbert & Sullivan. Presents with a bit of false bravery to make up for that. Still he is genuinely resourceful—he has hiked solo about 250 miles by the time he arrives. Plays Side Show Bob in Act II and Homer in Act III.
Quincy: [Arrives in Act II] A diva (somewhere between Jessica Rabbit and Retta.) She is not getting the attention she wants at first, but is developing a plan. Has started dating Matt. When she arrives, she plays “a “Businesswoman”, but this actor plays Bart in Act III.
Players in Act III (Singing and/or Musician Roles)
- Edna Krabapell: a sort of priestess, or maybe a dictator. In the Style of Lady Gaga, Beyonce, or Eminem. A Strong Singer. Has a larger singing role apart from the established characters below.
The Featured Players all have discrete solo moments in character.
- Groundskeeper Willy
- Ned Flanders
- Nelson Muntz
- Troy McClure
- Apu Nahasapeemapetilon: It is not lost on the director, Studio Players, and presumably the playwright that the character of Apu is problematic in many contexts. As Act III is set in 2098, this character has morphed quite a bit. He does not have an accent. The known tropes of the character are largely dispensed with. Presumably, he still does run a convenience store, as he says, “There will be no charge for that.” But, that is all that remains of the vestiges of the 20th- and early 21st-century incarnations of the character familiar today.
The Ensemble portray distinct characters and round out the cast (and potentially, if you want to, play instruments—don’t worry: nothing too hard. We’ll teach you.)
- Chief Piggum [sic]: a bizzaro version of Chief Wiggum
- Principal Skinner
- Mayor Quincy
- More Slyslak
- Thelma [sic] & Patty Bouvier: another bizzaro name change, and a “dual” role