Newtown resident and dentist Kevin Braun got his first taste of the acting life last year when he played the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come in the Newtown Players' production of "A Christmas Carol."
"It was (a) very enjoyable experience; I learned a lot as I went along," he said on Sunday when he auditioned with the Newtown Players for a part in "Whodunnit," a comedy that features a half-blind archeologist, a half-witted socialite, and a half-baked detective.
"If I get this part, I may get some words this time!" Braun joked.
One of the hallmarks of community theaters is that people often end up taking on multiple roles. Last year, Braun ended up doubling as the stage manager. According to his wife, Phyllis Braun, a biology professor at Fairfield University, he had so much fun she decided to audition for "Whodunnit" with him.
This was Phyllis Braun's first experience with acting, but she figured her teaching experience will help.
"I spend 90 minutes (during lectures) trying to keep undergraduates interested. Now, that's a performance!" said Braun, who is also a student at the Lathrop School of Dance and has taken lessons as an adult for the last 22 years.
With husband and wife both auditioning, one wonders what would happen if only one of them gets a part.
"That's OK," said Phyllis Braun, adding that if she doesn't get a part, she'll try to help out behind the scenes. "It's nice to do things together."
Although previous experience is helpful when auditioning for community theater, it isn't necessary.
According to producer Gene Golaszewki, people who wind up getting parts run the gamut from first timers to people with some professional acting experience.
"The main thing you need is good friend who tells you, 'You can do it!" said Golaszewki, adding that he tried out for his first acting part on a lark, and was shocked when he actually got the part.
When auditioning people, Golaszewki said he can usually tell if they have previous acting experience.
"I want to see how comfortable they are on the stage," he said.
One of the common mistakes made by people auditioning for community theater is "overdoing" a part.
"Don't try too hard to be a character," Golaszewki advised. "Let the director guide you."
Newtown resident Beth Young also tried out for a part in "Whodunnit."
A nurse who works in a corporate setting, Young did professional acting in New York City when she was younger. She gave up acting when she had children, but now that they are in college, she decided to rekindle her acting dreams.
"I love everything about the theater," she said.
Young has taken acting classes at Western Connecticut State University and is studying at the Ridgefield Theater with Susan Cohen, who is on the faculty at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
Last year, Young tried out the Newtown Players production "The Importance of Being Earnest," but did not get a part. She's not giving up, though.
"It's my total passion," Young said with grin. "And I figure I'm not getting any younger!"
Final auditions are tonight from 7:30-9 p.m. at the Town Players Theater on Orchard Hill Road in Newtown. For more information, contact Pam Meister at 203-270-9144 or email@example.com, or visit the Town Players website.
"Murderers," the Town Players' next production, opens on August 20.