STAGED LIVE-READ of TV PILOT SCRIPT
Character breakdowns are below.
A staged Live-Reading of the original TV pilot script, “On Cannery Row” - a projected 12-part limited series based on the lives of John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts. Written by P.J. Palmer and Eric Enno Tamm – Q&A with writers, cast and audience to follow.
The exceptional friendship of two extraordinary men.
Culled from the letters, biographies, journals and works of John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts, this limited-series TV drama, “On Cannery Row”, tells the story of a young, talented but struggling writer who finds literary greatness after befriending an inspiring and deeply charming bohemian philosopher-scientist. The series follows their epic 18-year friendship and travels through the hedonistic parties and romances, the great adventures, the heights of celebrity, the crushing failures and the betrayals of friends and lovers. Set against the storied backdrop of the 1930’s and 40’s--the dawn of free-thinking, sexual liberation and political non-conformity. And it all started in a little ramshackle lab on what has become known as “America’s Most Famous Street,” Cannery Row.
Auditions via Skype:
April 10th – 14th – sides to be sent and appointments booked the week before
Rehearsal via Skype
April 24th – 28th – one hour per cast member, schedule TBD w/ cast availability
Blocking Rehearsal – National Steinbeck Center
Saturday May 6th | 5pm – 6pm
Performance – National Steinbeck Center
Saturday May 6th | 6:30pm – 8:30pm
+ We are offering an Honorarium of $50 per performer (favored nations).
+ This reading is not union-affiliated. As such, we will only advertise names of cast members with written permission of that cast member.
+ Talent will need to sign an NDA before receiving the script.
+ Staged Reading is to benefit the National Steinbeck Center, a 501(c)(3), based in Salinas, California. www.steinbeck.org
+ Writer biographies, links and other information available at: www.twenty2films.com/oncanneryrow
HEADSHOT + RESUME to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please indicate which role(s) you are submitting for using the corresponding reader numbers (1 - 13) below.
READER 1: Narrator (40’s – 60’s) Male or Female - Lead
This is the MOST important role of the reading and is not for the faint of heart. There are over 60 pages with narration on each. Looking for an excellent reader / orator with a love for telling a good visual story packed with emotion. This performance will set the pace, tone and energy of the reading.
READER 2: John Steinbeck (28 and 46 in one scene) Male – Lead
At 28, John is still struggling to break into a writing career. He is serious, maybe a bit too pessimistic at times – he enjoys his wife, Carol’s wit and enthusiasm – it’s what gets him through each day. At 46 he has risen to the heights of success – and now suffers the most profound loss of his life.
READER 3: Ed Ricketts (32) Male – Lead
Kind-hearted and open to the world around him – is described by Sasha as” The most charming married man in Monterey County”. Ed is a brilliant man, - a scientist and philosopher. He is dedicated to his work and loves his young family. – but his journey of self-discovery is testing the limits of his marriage.
READER 4: Carol Steinbeck (25) Female – Lead
Carol is one of the wittiest and most intelligent people in this story filled with funny and smart characters. She has a love for her partner, John - at least his talent if not the man. Carol types and edits all of John’s work and is the sole-breadwinner doing odd jobs to help make ends meet. She’s creative, enthusiastic and sharply funny.
READER 5: Nan Ricketts (31) Female – Lead
Nan is a practical person – married to Ed and is raising their three young children. She builds homemade wooden furniture and runs a tight household. She is traditional - unlike Ed – and often feels alone in the world. She knows of Ed’s infidelities but has no real options other than to try and bear it while attempting to hold together the family she loves.
READER 6: Xenia Kasheveroff (18) Female – Lead
Fearless, defiant – striking out on her own as a new transplant in Monterey County. She uses her stunning beauty as a tool for getting her way. She loves to push boundaries wherever she can. She is enamored with Ed, and has decided to lose her virginity to him – regardless that he is married.
READER 7: Harold “Gabe” Otis Bicknell (40’s) | Boy 1 (10) | Louis (40’s)
GABE: Alcoholism has ruined Gabe, a former boxer who is homeless on Cannery Row. He is friendly when sober, and violent when drunk.
BOY: Meets his match when he and his friends try to catch an alley-cat.
LOUIS: Pragmatic bouncer at a speakeasy / brothel on Cannery Row.
READER 8: Sheriff Larsen (50’s) | John Sr. (50’s) | Engineer (50’s)
LARSEN: No-nonsense. Runs the driest little town in America. Has an eye on Ed.
JOHN SR: Steinbeck’s father – a patient and generous man who helps his son follow his dream of becoming writer.
ENGINEER: Is distraught in the aftermath of a horrific train accident .
READER 9: Won Yee (50’s) | Ritchie Lovejoy (24) | Ed. Jr (9)
YEE: Owns and operates Wing Chong Market with his family on Cannery Row. Follows Chinese tradition but is also an American capitalist as he runs a brisk side-business selling beer and moonshine.
RITCHIE: Young and eager to be liked by the guys he looks up to.
ED. JR: Son of Ed – very smart - has the mind of an engineer. Looks up to his father
READER 10: Sasha Kasheveroff-Calvin (27) | Crowd 1 (30’s) | Mrs. Curry (50’s)
SASHA: A bohemian artist – lives with her partner Jack in Carmel – has a deep fondness for Ed. Is protective of her younger sister, Xenia.
CROWD 1: Is a witness to a horrific train accident.
MRS. CURRY: Runs a dental practice with her husband. Is unfazed by gruesomeness of 1930’s dentistry.
READER 11: Olive Steinbeck (50’s) | Flora Wood (50’s) | Beth Ingalls (28’s)
OLIVE: Pragmatic. Even old-fashioned. Would rather her son, John, have a more stable career than writing. She is controlling but also dotes on her son. Is trying to like her daughter-in-law, Carol.
FLORA: A big woman with an even bigger heart. Is the Madame of the Lone Star – a brothel on Cannery Row. Wears flame-red wigs and Nile-green evening dresses. Is a good friend to Ed.
BETH: Gregarious, fun. A modern woman who parties like the 20’s are still roaring. She is lesbian and proud. a rarity for this time-period. Is a close friend to Carol.
READER 12: Tal Lovejoy-Kasheveroff (22) | Nancy Ricketts (7) | Crowd 2 (20’s)
TAL: Sister to Sasha and Xenia – she is a friend of the Steinbeck’s and is glad that they have moved back to the area. Ritchie is her husband.
NANCY: The middle child of Ed and Nan’s. She loves her family and especially her father – likes to compete with her older brother.
CROWD 3: Witness to a horrific train accident
READER 13: Jack Calvin (28) | Frankie (6) | Crowd 3 (20’s) | Truck Driver (30’s)
JACK: An author of teen-adventure novels, and a teacher at Stanford. Is a close friend of Ed’s, and really admires him. Has known John for years and competes with him. Is married to Sasha.
FRANKIE: This little boy hardly speaks – when he does, he stutters. He is slower than other children – and so he is not allowed in school. He lives in poverty and with abuse at home. Is a “Row-Rat”. He finds Ed as his only refuge.
CROWD 3: Witness to a horrific train accident.
TRUCK DRIVER: Foul-mouthed and filled with road rage – nearly runs Gabe over.