Over The River and Through The Woods
By Joe DiPietro
Directed by Ken Clark
Performance Dates: Apr 25, 26, 27, 28, May 2, 3, 4, 5
Auditions, by appointment: March 4 & 5 beginning at 5:30pm. AUDITION SIGN UP: Click Here
Callbacks, by invitation: Wednesday, March 6 at 7PM
The Show: Nick Cristano may be living the life of a modern young professional in New York City, but his loving grandparents never let him forget where he belongs: in New Jersey and in the bosom of his tenacious, passionate, and well-fed Italian-American grandparents. Both sets of grandparents live two doors down from each other in Hoboken and lavish all their affection on their last unmarried grandson. Faithfully, Nick goes “over the river” to Grandma’s house every week for Sunday dinner. When he is offered an important promotion in Seattle, Washington, Nick threatens to break this routine by moving 2,800 miles away! Frank, Aida, Emma, and Nunzio are heartbroken at the prospect of their beloved grandson raising a family all the way across the country — or worse, not raising a family at all! Besides the usual tactics of emotional blackmail, to keep him safe at home, these wily elders cook up a matchmaking scheme, inviting lovely nurse Caitlin O’Hare over for Sunday dinner. Will the prospect of true love keep Nick from moving across the country? Over the River and Through the Woods is a warm-hearted, boisterously funny, and touching story about intergenerational relationships, deep familial love, and the inevitable heartbreaks that occur as time passes and children grow.
ROLES-All Roles are available. Age ranges listed below are “stage-ages” and fluid. Act Two Theatre is committed to diversity and inclusion and encourages all interested to audition. Please bring your AUDITION FORM filled out in advance.
Rehearsal/Schedule: Rehearsals are at Act Two’s scene shop and/or theatre in St. Peters. This show utilizes a six-week rehearsal format followed by tech week. The show runs for 8 performances over two consecutive weeks; with a brush-up rehearsal on the Wednesday evening prior to the second week of performances. Read-Through will be held on Sunday, March 10 at 3pm. Rehearsals in March will be on Sundays from 3-6pm, and Monday, Wednesday, Thursday from 6:30-9:30pm. In April, we will rehearse Monday through Thursday from 6:30-9:30pm. Tech week will have expanded dates and hours beginning April 20.
Conflicts will not necessarily eliminate you from being cast. However, excessive additional conflicts after being cast may result in a role being recast. Please do not audition if you are not available for all rehearsals during tech week and all performances.
What to Prepare: Complete the Audition Form (DOWNLOAD AUDITION FORM) including your resume of onstage experience and a list of all potential conflicts for all days during the rehearsal window. Please bring your audition form filled out in advance. (If you do not have access to a printer, copies will be available at auditions (please arrive early to complete). The audition will consist of individual and paired reading from the script.
Audition Sides (script excerpts) are available at: DOWNLOAD SIDES (printed copies will be available at auditions).
Perusal Script (entire script): Please read the show to properly prepare for your audition. DOWNLOAD SCRIPT
If you need specific accommodations to audition, or you have a show-specific question, please contact the director Ken Clark (OTRTTW.ActTwo@gmail.com), using the subject line “Audition.”
Age ranges listed below are “stage-ages” and fluid.
Nick Cristano (Lead, male, 30s), New Jersey accent. Nick Cristano works in marketing, and lives the life of a young, professional, single man in New York City. He retains close ties to his roots in New Jersey, visiting his four loving grandparents every week for Sunday dinner. When he is offered an executive promotion in Seattle, Nick has difficulty reconciling his ambitions and the homebound, family-first, community-centered beliefs of his Italian-American grandparents. He is a sensitive, emotional man, who feels an immense amount of pressure: to his work and promotional opportunity which won’t come around again, and to his grandparents, who bemoan the fact that the rest of their family members have moved away and pin all their hopes on Nick to marry and produce the next generation. Nick’s perennial exasperation with his family, which manifests as loud, uncomfortable disrespect, can come off as obnoxious and callous, especially to Caitlin O’Hare, the beautiful woman whom his grandparents use as bait to get him to stay at home. Nick does, however, have a deep love for his family elders. He expresses his love and generosity by showering them with “new” technologies. Sometimes stepping out of the action to become the calmer, wiser narrator of his own memory play.
Frank Gianelli (Featured, male, 80s). New Jersey or slight Italian accent. Frank Gianelli is a husband, father, and grandfather, a retired carpenter, living with his wife in Hoboken, New Jersey. When his beloved grandson Nick, the last descendant to stay in the area, plans a move to Seattle, Frank has a hard time coming to terms with the fact. His words and actions are motivated by a hope to change Nick’s mind, and at the same time, he tries to understand this urge to head West for a new life in the context of his own immigration narrative. Frank can be somewhat gruff and may not always find the words to express his emotions, but he is charming and has the confidence of a patriarch. His relationship with his beloved wife Aida, can be mildly quarrelsome, and he stubbornly insists on driving, even after numerous accidents. He is taking lessons on the mandolin. A native of Italy, Frank has lived in the United States for 60 or 70 years. The choice of whether to emphasize an Italian accent will be determined (by the actor and director) after casting.
Aida Gianelli (Featured, female, 70s). New Jersey accent, Aida Gianelli is Frank’s wife. She has no formal education, and cannot drive, but “lock her in the kitchen with a tomato, pasta dough, and garlic, and the woman was Einstein.” She is a loving, hard-working housewife, devoted to feeding her family, and anyone who walks in her door. Aida is a strong woman, who will bicker with her husband (both aggressively and passive-aggressively) when he refuses to stop driving, but there is a sweet and gentle side to her personality, and she is an excellent caretaker.
Nunzio Cristano (Featured, male, 70s). New Jersey accent. Nunzio is the son of Italian immigrants, a father and grandfather, retired from Ford’s automobile factory, who lives with his wife Emma in Hoboken. He is described by his beloved grandson, Nick, as one of the “loudest people I’ve ever met.” Nunzio is boisterous, enthusiastic, and mischievous. A grand storyteller, he boasts about lying about his nationality to get a job and spins a how-we-met story of love at first sight and moonlight serenades. When the grandparents learn that Nick is considering a move to faraway Seattle, Washington, they all scheme to keep him at home. Nunzio considers telling Nick about his illness, knowing that if he goes, their goodbye will be forever, but eventually determines that Nick’s cross-country move is something he must do.
Emma Cristano (Featured, female, 70s). New Jersey accent. Emma is boisterous, enthusiastic, energetic, and strong. She loves to travel, and drags Nunzio to Atlantic City for the casinos, and on occasional tours of Italy. We never see Emma entertain, as the Cristano’s spend much of their time at the home of the Gianelli’s, who are their close neighbors, but she is a very sociable woman. When Nick, her beloved grandson, considers a move to Seattle, Emma leaps into action with a scheme to keep him in town. She plays matchmaker, inviting Caitlin O’Hare, the single niece of her canasta partner, Margaret O’Hare, to the Gianelli’s for Sunday dinner. Like the other grandparents, Emma is perpetually concerned with Nick’s single life, and pays for a mass at St Anne’s, to be said in specific hope that Nick will find a girl to marry. She can be pushy and a little tactless, but her actions are motivated out of care and love for her family. Emma bickers frequently with Nunzio, but they share a deep love. One thing Emma knows for sure, “you can’t keep the people you love around forever.”
Caitlin O’Hare (Cameo, female, late 20s – early 30s). Caitlin is a nurse living and working in New Jersey. Single and looking for love, she agrees to a set-up, to meet Nick Cristano, the grandson of her aunt’s canasta partner, Emma Cristano. Caitlin is friendly, attractive, and extremely personable. She gets along beautifully with all four of Nick’s grandparents, who love her. Caitlin is attracted to Nick, but she is put off by the rudeness he displays towards his family. She feels that Nick is extremely lucky to have four living grandparents.
Auditions for LOVE LETTERS: This show has been cast.
Auditions for ONCE UPON A MATTRESS: Sept. 9 & 10. Additional information will be posted to this page later this year.
Theatre Location for Auditions
St. Peters Cultural Arts Centre
One St. Peters Centre Blvd.
St. Peters, MO 63376
The Performing Arts Theatre is in the City Hall building, Western(far right) most building at the opposite end from the Rec-Plex. Act Two Theatre performs in St. Peters to one of the largest average audiences of local St. Louis area theatre companies. Each show runs for 8 performances with attendance numbers ranging between 1300-1800 per show run. Act Two’s loyal, large and enthusiastic season ticket subscriber base allows many to receive the gift, joy and magic of live theatre that our talented actors, directors, tech crew and volunteers create.
About Act Two Theatre:
2024 marks Act Two Theatre’s 31st Anniversary Season. We are proud to present another year of high-quality theatre in St. Peters, Missouri. We are located in the beautiful 318-seat Performing Arts Theater at the St. Peters City Hall Cultural Arts Centre, adjacent to the Rec-Plex. The theater has comfortable seating and a terrific stage!
Act Two Theatre performs to one of the largest average audiences as compared to other local St. Louis area theatre companies. Except for the Muny and Stages no other professional, regional or community theatre company boasts a larger following. Act Two’s loyal, large and enthusiastic season ticket subscriber base allows many to share in the joy and magic of live theatre that our talented actors, directors, tech crew and volunteers create.