2020 Cutlass Crew Auditions



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The Cutlass Crew is based on the true story of Lady Mary Killigrew, an English aristocrat-turned-pirate who briefly terrorized the high seas in the time of Queen Elizabeth I. Presented by an inter-generational cast in English with side titles.
[Download an auditions flyer in full colorcolor with less toner, or grayscale]



PERFORMERS: Everyone who wishes to perform needs to schedule an audition! The audition process includes the vocal evaluation as well as time to fill out forms, be photographed, and discuss schedules and volunteer job requirements.

NON-PERFORMERS: If you would like to be involved in some capacity other than as a performer, we welcome people who would like to experience other aspects of our production. Opportunities are available in areas such as set construction, ushering, makeup and backstage! If interested, contact auditions20@familyopera.org or call 617-835-3162.

FAMILIES OF PERFORMERS: PLEASE NOTE that every family must sign up for a volunteer job at the time of auditions. In order to be prepared to choose a job, please read through this entire web-page, especially the section entitled FAMILY PARTICIPATION AND WORK REQUIREMENTS below.


Saturday and Sunday October 19 and 20, 2019
Saturday and Sunday October 26 and 27, 2019
Auditions will be scheduled at 15-20 minute intervals from 1:00 PM until 7:00 PM.


23 Norris Street
Cambridge, MA 02140


Email auditions20@familyopera.org
Or call 617-835-3162.


The entire audition process (which includes filling out forms, photographing, and discussing the schedule and participants' responsibilities, as well as the vocal evaluation) usually takes about an hour and a half.


Anyone currently 7 or older can participate, from children to adults, inexperienced to classically trained. There is no maximum age.

We ENCOURAGE participation in our productions by multiple family members, both onstage and offstage.

We REQUIRE that:

  • an adult perform onstage with all children currently younger than 10
  • an adult attend rehearsals with all children currently younger than 12

We may also ask that an adult perform or attend rehearsals with some children above these age limits.


We ask all cast member families to help in the following ways:

  • We require all participating families to sign up for a minimum of 8 hours of work on general tasks that support the production (set construction, painting, rehearsal cleanup, concession table, sewing costumes, etc.).
  • Participants may sign up to manage a specific task for the production (time commitment varies).
  • Participants may sign up to join an NCFO standing committee, working on issues not related solely to the current production (e.g., fundraising and development, publicity and marketing, logistics, etc.)

When you come to auditions, we will ask you to tell us what jobs you would be willing to do. You can download a description of all available jobs HERE. Please come with more than one job in mind. You can improve your chances of getting the job you want by discussing it with the auditions manager beforehand, when you schedule your audition.


NCFO is a self-supporting non-profit organization. We do not charge a fee for participating in our production, nor do we charge admission to our performances. We gratefully accept voluntary, tax-deductible donations to help cover our production costs. Please consider donating to North Cambridge Family Opera, in any amount, if you enjoy being part of our production or attending our performances.


Please bring information about your schedule (and/or your family's schedule) for November through early April, so that we can discuss potential conflicts.

Also, please bring your checkbook, in case you would like to make a donation to the opera company at auditions, before it slips your mind.

Come prepared to be photographed.


We will hold an organizational meeting and first rehearsal on SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17 (tentatively at 3:00pm). It is extremely important for everyone in the cast as well as for at least one responsible adult from every family to attend this meeting. Regular rehearsals begin (tentatively) on SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 24. We then rehearse every subsequent Sunday until performances EXCEPT:

  • Christmas Eve eve eve (Sunday, December 22)
  • Bowl Game Weekend (Sunday, December 29)
  • President's Day weekend (Sunday, February 16)

Please note that we WILL be rehearsing on Martin Luther King Day weekend (Sunday, January 19), as well as the second Sunday of school vacation week (Sunday, February 23).

The ENTIRE CAST rehearses on Sunday afternoons. The entire company rehearses from about 4:00 to 6:30. In addition, some members of the chorus are also in small ensembles, which rehearse between 2:30 and 4:00 (which of the several small ensembles that rehearse in this time window will vary from week to week). Major soloists may be scheduled to rehearse at any time between 12:30 and 6:30 every week, and minor soloists will also be called to rehearse early at one or two rehearsals. We always end all rehearsals on time at 6:30. We try to plan and publish a rehearsal schedule for each month, but things change from week to week. We send emails with the final schedule, usually the Friday before each Sunday rehearsal.

On very rare occasions, we may require major and some minor soloists to rehearse on a weekday evening or two as well, but we're not expecting the need for this to arise.

Final rehearsal and performance schedule (tentative):

Runthrough Rehearsals March 14 and 15
Dress Rehearsals March 21 and 22
Performances March 28 and 29, April 4 and 5


ALL CAST MEMBERS must attend scheduled runthrough rehearsals (tentatively scheduled for Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15, 2020) and dress rehearsals (Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22, 2020); therefore it is important to check your family's schedule before accepting a role in this show. You will be scheduled for two 4-hour runthroughs (one on Saturday and one on Sunday) and two 4-hour dress rehearsals (one on Saturday and one on Sunday) on these very important weekends. These are the rehearsals where everything comes together and many things get changed, so it is critical to be there!

Tentatively, two performances a day are scheduled for March 28 and 29 and for April 4 and 5, with each cast member scheduled for four of these eight performances (ordinarily one per day). However, this schedule may be modified pending availability of the venue and number of participants.


This opera will run about 90 minutes in performance, plus a 20-minute intermission.


The vocal audition is easy and low-key: our musical director will:

  1. lead you through a set of vocalization exercises
  2. probably listen to you sing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (or some other song you are comfortable with singing)
  3. have you sing any music you may have prepared for solo roles or close harmony ensembles

Ordinarily, all family members who want to perform in our show audition at the same time. We will make an audio recording of a portion of your audition to help us with casting. If you are auditioning for a lead role, we will make a video recording of your prepared solo (see below) so that we can evaluate both your singing and your acting abilities.

If you wish to be considered for one of the principal roles, please come prepared to sing the music provided. The printed and recorded music to audition for lead roles is available for download in the AUDITION MATERIALS section below, or can be obtained from:

You don't have to decide which role to sing for: how we cast you will not depend on which song you sing, so just choose the song(s) that fit well in your range. Please do NOT ask the director what role you or your child should try out for, as it really doesn't matter.

If you are not auditioning for a lead role but are interested in a small, more challenging chorus, you should learn a short passage (see below) to demonstrate your skill at singing harmony.  Even if you are not interested in a close harmony ensemble, it would be helpful for my casting efforts if you could learn and sing this passage to show me your abilitiy to sing harmony, but it is not required. If you do not want a lead solo or to be in a close harmony ensemble, you don't need to prepare anything to sing.


We put a great deal of thought into casting the opera. We double cast each role, so each soloist sings in four of the eight performances. We often are able to give everyone who wants one a solo, although we cannot guarantee it. There is always a lot of singing to do in the chorus and in smaller ensembles, though.

Because our shows are double cast, we must divide participants into two casts before final role assignments can be made. It may be a month or two before you find out your solo assignment, so please be patient.

We endeavor to assign solos that will challenge you but not overwhelm you. We consider not only ability to sing, act and dance the role, but also age, number of years participating in the opera, and roles sung in previous NCFO operas. We will not assign you a solo role that requires you to sing harmony (see the table below) unless you have demonstrated the ability to do so in audition (to do otherwise would not be fair to the other ensemble members).


If you want to be considered for one of the larger solo roles: you MUST prepare using the sheet music and MP3s provided below (your choice which of the four songs to prepare). You will be asked to sing a solo with just the accompaniment and a line from "Tom O'Bedlam" with other voices singing as well. It is therefore important that you practice both songs, with all of the MP3s provided, especially the one that will be played in your audition (noted below).

If you are not interested in one of the larger roles, but would like to be considered for a close harmony ensemble, or if you would just like to have fun demonstrating your harmony skills (which I appreciate, helps me with casting), you may sing "Tom O'Bedlam" (under "Materials for Harmony Auditions" below).

All other auditions require no preparation.


Materials for Principal Solo Auditions

Piper's Galliard - Sing Queen Elizabeth's part, bars 48-93. This has some dramatic high notes. (The spoiled rotten royalty, but with an unrequited crush on the immensely charming but roguish Sir Digory Piper)
                 ALSO sing the Harmony Line from Tom O'Bedlam below
          See the score
          Hear the passage with all voices
          Hear the passage with just Queen Elizabeth singing
          Hear the passage without Queen Elizabeth singing (this is what will be played at your audition)

Lady Mary's Lament - Sing bars 122-157. A mezzo soprano passage with some tricky intervals. (Lady Mary is experiencing perhaps the first historical case of FOMO syndrome)
                 ALSO sing the Harmony Line from Tom O'Bedlam below
          See the score
          Hear the passage with Mary and chorus singing
          Hear the passage with just piano and chorus (this is what will be played at your audition)

The Last Unicorn - Sing bars 67-100. If you have a huge vocal range, this is your chance to show it off. (Sir Digory Piper has been sentenced to death for piracy, and must charm his way back onto Queen Elizabeth's good side by giving her a piece of wash-up jetsam while telling her a preposterous story about it.)
                 ALSO sing the Harmony Line from Tom O'Bedlam below
          See the score
          Hear the passage with Piper's part sung
          Hear the passage with just the accompaniment playing (this is what will be played at your audition)

Master of the Rolls - Sing bars 1-37. Yes, there really was a Sir Julius Caesar. (A real hanging judge, Sir Julius was. No mercy.)
                 ALSO sing the Harmony Line from Tom O'Bedlam below
          See the score
          Hear the passage with all voices
          Hear the passage with just Caesar singing
          Hear the passage without Caesar singing (this is what will be played at your audition)


Materials for Harmony Auditions ("Tom O'Bedlam")

Soprano and Alto
     See the score
     Hear bars 201-209 with just Thomasina's part sung
     Hear bars 201-209 with just the orchestra
     Hear bars 201-209 with all parts sung
     Hear bars 201-209 with all voices except Thomasina and Myles (this is what will be played at your audition)

Tenor and Bass
     See the score
     Hear bars 201-209 with just Myles's part sung
     Hear bars 201-209 with just the orchestra
     Hear bars 201-209 with all parts sung
     Hear bars 201-209 with all voices except Thomasina and Myles (this is what will be played at your audition)

Optional - If you're interested in a supporting role and want to show off how beautiful your voice is, you can sing Clement's part.
     See the score
     Hear bars 189-205 with Clement's part sung
     Hear bars 189-205 without Clement's part (this is what will be played at your audition)