Orson Wells bringing life to the 1938 radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds”

If you have a stage voice that can convey the panic of an alien invasion with one astonished gasp, Nehalem’s Riverbend Players has a role for you in its summer production of “The War of the Worlds.”

The group will holding open auditions on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 2 and 3, for its reader’s theater staging of the classic tale, directed by Sue Jelineo.

Broadcast from New York’s Mercury Theatre in 1938, this infamous radio play, based on the novel by H. G. Wells, had many terrified listeners convinced that an actual alien invasion of Earth was taking place. Adapted by Howard E. Koch, co-writer of “Casablanca,” and directed and narrated by Orson Welles, this original script details an extraterrestrial takeover with frightening realism.

Jelineo is looking for a cast of 11 to bring the play to life. Some role genders may be altered based on audition turnout. All parts are read live on stage, meaning no memorization is required. Cast members will need to be available for all scheduled tech week and performance dates.

Tuesday’s audition will start at 1 pm and Wednesday’s at 5 pm, with both featuring cold readings from the script. No preparation is required but participants are encouraged to review the original 1936 broadcast on YouTube to get a flavor of the characters and reading style.

Auditions will be held at the NCRD Performing Arts Center, 36155 9th Street. Participants should bring their theater resume if they have one and a list of any key dates they are not available to rehearse between mid-May and June 28. Beginners and theater novices are welcome and encouraged.

Participants who are planning to attend should contact the director at 503-475-3383 or sjelineo@nehalemtel.net or simply show up at the designated audition start time. Anyone who cannot attend either audition date should contact the director to arrange a phone interview.

Performance dates for this production are July 5, 6, 12 and 13 at 7 pm and July 8 and 14 at 2 pm.

Cast members should anticipate rehearsals two nights per week until tech week starting June 24.

For more information about Riverbend Players, go to www.riverbendplayers.org or facebook.com/Nehalemriverbendplayers.

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