Open Auditions for “The Book of Will” by Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Adrienne Miller

Audition Information:
Sunday 8/14: 2-5pm at the Iowa City Public Library, Room D
Tuesday 8/16: 6:30-9pm at The James Theater
Callbacks: Thursday 8/18: 6:30-9pm, as arranged by the director.

Performances at The James Theater:
November 17-19, 7:30pm
and November 20, 2 pm
(Show run time is approximately 2 hours plus an intermission).

Actors will be asked to read sides from the script. You do not need to prepare a monologue. If you are in need of accommodations, please contact us as soon as possible. You may send an email to

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Please bring your scheduling availability, including any conflicts for September 25 through November 20, 2022.

Casting should be diverse. Shakespeare is for everyone! At least 10 individuals will be cast, with most performers playing multiple roles. Though the script is historical fiction written for 3F and 7M actors, all ethnicities and identities are welcome and encouraged to audition for any role.

Scripts are available for your perusal at the Iowa City Public Library at the 2nd Floor Help Desk.

Synopsis: Set in 17th century England, “The Book of Will” is the charming and funny story of Shakespeare’s First Folio. Henry Condell and John Heminges, members of the King’s Men and close friends of the recently deceased bard, witness an awful staging of “Hamlet.” After commiserating with fellow player Richard Burbage, the friends realize they must collect and preserve Shakespeare’s authentic works before they’re lost to history.


HENRY CONDELL (40s): Feisty, hopeful friend and actor in the King’s Men.

JOHN HEMINGES (50s): Reasonable friend and financial manager of the King’s Men. Owner of the Globe Tap House. A good man and a gentleman, if serious.

RICHARD BURBAGE (50s): Seasoned lion of the stage. Famous across England. Loud and proud.

ALICE HEMINGES (25-35): John’s daughter and alewife. Knows everyone and hangs with the boys.
BOY HAMLET (20): Aspiring young actor. Bad at acting.

BEN JONSON (40s): Poet laureate of England. Friend/rival of Shakespeare. Amazing drunk. A bear of a man. Surprisingly weepy.

ELIZABETH CONDELL (40s): Henry’s wife. Savvy and fun.

REBECCA HEMINGES (50s): John’s wife. A good wife who’s strong and busy with their grocery business. A woman who has weathered much but loves her husband and sons and God.

ED KNIGHT (flexible age): “Stage manager” for the King’s Men. Self-serious and particular. A jerk.

RALPH CRANE (flexible age): Humble scrivener of the King’s Men. Quick, sure, quiet.

WILLIAM JAGGARD (50+). Blind. Successful if shady publisher of books, plays, and playbills. Confident in his ability to get what he wants. Very experienced, very connected, willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. An ass.

ISAAC JAGGARD (25-35): William’s son who will inherit the business. Sensitive, an artist at heart.

MARCUS (20): Printer’s apprentice at the Jaggard print shop. Nosy but honest.

COMPOSITOR (flexible age): Works for Jaggard.

EMILIA BASSANO LANIER (50s): Fiery Italian feminist and poet, independent woman, lover of life (and of Shakespeare).

ANNE HATHAWAY SHAKESPEARE (60): Shakespeare’s now ailing wife. Strong-willed, a classy lady, a survivor.

SUSANNAH SHAKESPEARE (30): Good girl and daughter of Shakespeare.

CRIER (teen-20): Newsboy.

SIR EDWARD DERING (60): Book and theatre lover.

Suggested Doubling for 10 Actors:
1—Henry Condell
2—John Heminges
3—Richard Burbage / William Jaggard / Horatio
4—Elizabeth Condell / Emilia Bassano Lanier / Fruit Seller / Marcellus
5—Rebecca Heminges / Anne Hathaway Shakespeare
6—Ralph Crane / Barman / Compositor / Francisco
7—Alice Heminges / Susannah Shakespeare
8—Ed Knight / Isaac Jaggard
9—Marcus / Boy Hamlet / Crier / Bernardo
10—Ben Jonson / Barman 2 / Sir Edward Dering