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World premiere musical ‘Come Out Swingin’: A Lewiston Story’

World premiere of a NEW MUSICAL in Lewiston/Auburn, Come Out Swingin’: A Lewiston Story

A co-production of
Gendron Franco Center,
Community Little Theatre,
written by Brian Daly

 LEWISTON — In February, L/A Community Little Theatre in Auburn and the Gendron Franco Center in Lewiston will co-produce the world premiere production of “Come Out Swingin’: A Lewiston Story,” a musical written by Portland native Brian Daly. Open auditions are scheduled for Sunday and Monday, Sept. 24 and 25, at 6 p.m. each day. They will be held at the Franco Center, 46 Cedar St.  Call-back auditions will by invitation and those unable to make it on these dates and times are encouraged to call the director to request an appointment.

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 Production dates for the show are Friday and Saturday, Feb. 2 and 3, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 4,  at 2 p.m.  Friday, Feb. 16, at 7:30 p.m. has been set aside as a snow date, if needed.

 “It’s May of 1965, just months after the assassination of Malcolm X, and the controversial Muhammad Ali-Sonny Liston title bout has been moved at the last minute to Lewiston, Maine, a Franco-American mill town in decline – the unlikeliest venue ever for a world championship fight,”   Brian Daly of Portland, the musical’s writer and composer, said. “The fictional Mickey St. Pierre, second- assistant deputy city manager of Lewiston, sees this as his hometown’s one-and- only chance to take its rightful place among the world’s great cities. By dint of his boundless enthusiasm, he gets the colorful characters of Lewiston fired up to play host to celebrity jetsetters and the world’s top sportswriters.” 

 Daly’s story continues as the word gets out, and what follows is a musical adventure throughout the neighborhoods of Maine’s second-largest city.  Franco Center staff, Richard Martin and Mitchell Clyde Thomas will serve as director and music director for the show, and Jake Boyce of Portland, a regular CLT choreographer, will take on the dance.  Both Martin and Thomas are also long-time CLT directors and serve on the organization’s board of directors.

Interested performers may be asked to audition in all three parts (vocal, choreography and dialogue) in order to be considered for roles. There are numerous lead and supporting roles and there is an ensemble.  There are both singing and nonsinging roles in “Come Out Swingin: A Lewiston Story.”

 In preparation for the audition, singers are asked to bring sheet music for the piano accompanist. No prerecorded music will be allowed and there will be no a cappella singing. Recorded samples of six of the show’s songs are posted on the show’s Facebook event page and can be sent directly by request. With questions about singing auditions, contact Thomas in advance at (207) 838-1722 or mthomas@francocenter.org.

 The show involves a great deal of movement.  There will be time allotted for participants to change clothes and shoes prior to the beginning of dance auditions, if needed.  People are asked to bring character shoes, sneakers or jazz shoes. Those with all levels of dance experience are welcome to audition.

The principal and supporting roles include six men and six women. All but two are solo singing roles and the ages vary.  Five of the roles ideally require African-American male vocalists who make up the group, “The Sapphires,” and they need to be able to do some strong Temptations-style singing and dancing.  Only one of them, Preston, the cool and charismatic African-American leader of the group, will be cast in a role with dialogue. 

 The ensemble is made up of all ages and they play citizens of Lewiston and out-of-towners who have come to Lewiston for the fight.  There is singing, dancing, and some dialogue. Neither of the boxers in the infamous 1965 fight are characters in the show.  

 With any questions or to request a perusal script, contact the director, Richard Martin at 754-9828 or rmartin@francocenter.org

In this May 25, 1965 file photo, challenger Sonny Liston, right, lands a body blow to heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in the first moments of their heavyweight title fight, in Lewiston, Maine. Just months before the 50th anniversary of the fight, which became one of the most controversial sporting events of the 20th century when Ali knocked out Liston less than two minutes into the first round, both pairs of gloves are going on the auction block for the first time. Heritage Auctions is offering them as a single lot on Feb. 21 in New York. The auctioneer expects they will sell for more than $1 million. Bidding will start at $500,000. (AP Photo/File)

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