With history that stretches back to the town’s founding in 1779, there are a lot of stories to tell about the town and the residents who have lived there in the past 238 years. To tell a handful of those stories, the play “I Am Home” debuted in 2011 to take audiences through Jonesborough’s history through the eyes of its residents.
Now, “I Am Home” is returning to the stage, and show runners are looking for a diverse cast of all ages to fill more than 70 roles when the play rolls out for a second running next year.
“The play itself is based on dozens and dozens of oral stories that were gathered throughout all parts of the community,” play director Jules Corriere said. “It features stories from the African American community, the Latino community, newcomers and families who had been here generationally.”
Roles need to be filled for children, teens and adults from all backgrounds, and Corriere said there are a few Spanish-speaking parts that need to be filled as well. Singers are also needed for the play’s five original songs.
Audiences will be taken through the celebration of the Migrant March in Jonesborough by the Latino community, the story of how Jonesborough schools become integrated sooner than the rest of Washington County schools, a story of a young mother who bakes bread for Union soldiers when they set up camp in town, remembrances from the old Jackson Theatre and a train trip to California that didn’t quite hit expectations, just to name a few.
In addition to chronicling history in live theater, the debut of the play also set in motion the birth of the McKinney Center. The play first debut in the Booker T. Washington School building that the McKinney Center occupies now, but before its renovation to house the Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts.
“When we performed there it kind of gave a vision for what the McKinney center could be,” Corriere recalls. “Now it is an art center that brings people together through the arts.”
The first run of the program also did its job of bringing the cast together, as after the final performance the actors set up a monthly radio show that today is known as the Jonesborough Yarn Exchange radio show.
To produce the show, Corriere will be working with Richard Owen Greer, who directed the 2011 production of the play alongside stage manager Phyllis Fabozzi, who is returning to the position from the play’s first run; David Kehs as the set designer; Kevin Glasper as choreographer; Karen Elb will design lights; and Brett McCluskey will serve as music director and accompanist.
Auditions for the play will be held at the McKinney Center in Jonesborough, 103 Franklin Ave., on Dec. 3 from 2 to 5 p.m. and Dec. 4 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. In most cases, rehearsals will center on actors’ availability, and the play will run in February.
Questions or more information can be reached by contacting Corriere by emailing her at [email protected] or by calling 794-6320.
Email Jessica Fuller at [email protected] Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.