Art Beat: Lionheart seeks 'Homecoming' cast

Lionheart Theatre is holding open auditions Aug. 29 and 30 for its annual production of "The Homecoming." Twenty-two actors are required to bring to life this special telling of a Depression Era family from the Virginia foothills, set on a snowy Christmas Eve in 1933. The book upon which the play is based was turned into the highly popular television show, "The Waltons."

The audition Aug. 29 will be held at 7 and at 2 p.m. the Aug. 30. These auditions will be held at the Norcross Cultural Arts and Community Center at 10 Britt Ave. in Norcross. Those auditioning can expect to give cold readings from a script. Headshots and resumes are helpful but not required.

In all, the cast requirements are seven men ages 30 and older; five women ages 30 and older; six boys from ages 12 to 20 and four girls ages 5 to 15. Lionheart's Producing Artistic Director Tanya Carroll said, "It is a large cast with parts for all ages."

Carroll has a unique relationship with the story this play is based upon. She explained, "I have always loved the television show 'The Waltons' and was very interested to find out that it is known the world over. In speaking with two German friends recently about Lionheart Theatre, they asked what plays were coming up, and I mentioned 'The Homecoming' and the show it is based upon. They immediately smiled and said 'We know that show! It is still on TV in Germany now!' They excitedly spouted out all the names of the children, leading, of course, with John Boy."

Lionheart's production of "The Homecoming" will run Nov. 7 through 9, 15 and 16, and 21 through 23 at the Norcross Cultural Arts and Community Center. It is considered the theater's Christmas production.

This adaptation was written by Earl Hamner and Peter Coy. The story is a heart-tugging one: The family waits for the magic of Christmas to arrive - not Santa, but Daddy, who has had to take the only available job a long way from home. The story is told by the adult Clay-Boy as he remembers that long ago Christmas Eve when he had to journey out into the snow to find his father. Interestingly, the book on which "The Waltons" was based had the family named "The Spencers" and John-Boy's real name was "Clay."

Lionheart also has an exciting show set to open Sept. 6. "Radio TBS Trailer Broadcasting Scandals" by Mark L. Smith will be reprised with two new cast members.

"We recently performed this play at the first annual Aurora Community Theatre Festival," Carroll said. "We won the award for the highest attended show. We were fortunate enough to be selected to perform it on the main stage there."

For more information about the auditions, about Lionheart Theatre or the Sept. 6 opening, call 770-885-0425 or visit the Web site at www.lionhearttheatre.org.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. E-mail hcalmes@mindspring.com.