Audition Information—Ruddigore


for our 2024 production are now closed

March 1, 2, 3, 2024

Mandel Hall
University of Chicago
1131 E. 57th Street
Chicago IL 60637

Show Description

Recognized as one of the gems of the Gilbert & Sullivan canon, Ruddigore haunts the stage of the legendary Mandel Hall on the University of Chicago campus in March 2024.  Equal parts spectacle and satire, Ruddigore features the duo’s topsy-turvy take on the classic British melodrama: kindhearted villiains, damsels in distress who would rather be kidnapped than rescued, and, of course, ghosts!


Character Descriptions

Robin Oakapple (light baritone) – our hero – and also our villain. Timid, passive, and diffident (though impeccably proper), he is actually Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd, disguised as a country farmer in an ultimately failed attempt to avoid the fatal curse imposed on all who hold that unfortunate title. He could be the shy, slightly awkward hero in any number of Tim Burton films. He must be able to at least affect the airs of a moustache-twirling villain, however; accordingly, a limber and rangy singer who can play Robin’s earnestness and his broad comedy in equal measure is required. A lighter voice and smaller physical type is ideal in the role. Some movement required but no formal dancing. RP accent preferred.

Dick Dauntless (tenor) – the nominal “hero,” Dauntless is actually more of a comic villain. Dauntless betrays his foster brother and steals his betrothed, all in the name of “following his heart.” Simple and direct, Dauntless has little capacity for self-reflection,  amusing himself with the simple pleasures of dancing, drinking, and damsels in distress.

He must be a gifted triple threat, with strong tenor vocals, broad, over-the-top comedychops, and capable dancing/movement all important qualities.  He has a silly voice he uses when he’s speaking for his heart. Rough West County accent (i.e., classic “pirate dialect”) preferred.

Rose Maybud (soprano) – Rose is an amalgamation of the principal characters from any number of Regency romantic novels; she could be pulled from any Jane Austen or Bronte work. She is, however, almost pathologically tied to her book of etiquette, and outsources all decisions of the heart to the dispassionate advice of her guidebook of manners. While she is often distressed, she is not a damsel in distress to be saved; all her distress derives from her own choices, and her most triumphant moments come when she makes her own decisions rather than outsourcing them to an etiquette book. A flexible soprano voice that pairs well with both Robin and Dick are important. Some movement required but no formal dancing. RP accent preferred.

Mad Margaret (mezzo) – “A caricature of theatrical madness” – Mad Margaret is the crown jewel of the G&S mezzo roles. Margaret was driven “mad” by her love for the evil Sir Despard, and oscilates between violent outbursts and fits of sobbing longing, with dreamlike missives in between. Wild-eyed and impulsively clownish, this performer needs to combine a larger-than-life comic presence with the vocals to match. Some movement required but no formal dancing. RP accent preferred.

Sir Despard Murgatroyd (bass-baritone) – the moustache-twirling, Snidley Whiplash-imitating, cackling spout of unbridled villainy, Despard is the “villain” of the melodrama, but in truth he despises his crimes and wants nothing more than to settle into a life of perfect suburban mundanity. Some movement required but no formal dancing. RP accent preferred.

Dame Hannah (contralto) – Rose Maybud’s doting aunt. She is all matronly wisdom and soft maternal care, but when threatened she reveals a warrior spirit that’s as hard as steel and as unyielding as iron. In the end, the flame she holds for the long-dead Sir Roderic Murgatroyd (uncle of Ruthven and Despard) proves to be burning as strong as ever, and she sings as tender of a love duet as Sullivan ever composed. Some movement required but no formal dancing. RP accent preferred.

Sir Roderic Murgatroyd (bass-baritone) – The decades-long dead ghost of the immediate past Baronet of Ruddigore, Sir Roderic is as otherwordly, commanding, and foreboding as can be imagined. He appears only in Act II – but his magical appearance and
showstopping solo is the highlight of the opera. No formal dancing required. RP accent preferred.

Zorah (soprano – comprimario) – Rose Maybud’s First Bridesmaid. She is the leader of the professional core of bridesmaids endowed by the village connected to Castle Ruddigore, whose task is to remain ready to perform whatever bridesmaid services are requiring on command. Flighty and flirtatious, she, along with the rest of the women, want Rose to choose a husband so the rest of them can get married as well. Movement required.

Women’s Ensemble – Core of Professional Bridesmaids. The women are increasingly frustrated and flighty, wanting desperately to marry someone – mostly so they can then get married themselves. Movement and physical comedy required.

Men’s Ensemble – Act I city dwellers who have come to the country village in search of hunting and country women. Ostensibly attending Sir Despard, but terrified of him and trying to avoid him as much as possible. The men in Act II are the ghosts of the long- dead past Baronets of Ruddigore, dating from the time of James I to the present Regency period. Some movement required.

All artists, backstage crew, and staff must comply with vaccination requirements and testing protocols to promote the safety of all visitors to the University of Chicago campus.  Accordingly, all auditioners attending callbacks in person, and all those ultimately cast, will be required to provide proof of vaccination or a valid University of Chicago ID (UCID).

Proof of vaccination can be provided:

• Digitally, using either a photo of the vaccination card or test result or by logging into a verification app used for events or travel (such as Clear to Go, CrowdPass, Verifly, EU Pass, My Bindle, etc.).

• Physical vaccination card.

• Proof of vaccination or COVID test must be in English.

Additional Questions
Please contact the production team with any questions: