Auditions for 'The Boy Next Door' set for Sunday, Monday


Peter Thomson


From staff reports

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Ever since playing what he describes as “a small role” in helping start Elizabeth City’s Benjamin House, Peter Thomson said he’s been looking for a way to get the themes explored in the play “The Boys Next Door” on stage.

Thomson will finally get his chance this spring when Encore Theatre Company presents five performances of the 1980s Tom Griffin comedy.

Set in Boston, “The Boys Next Door” is a play about four men with intellectual disabilities who live in a group home. The plot of the play — as well as its comedy — centers on the men’s interactions with one another and their social worker.

Although Encore isn’t scheduled to perform the play until April, auditions will be held Sunday and Monday.

“It was important to look for actors early because of the show’s requirements,” said Thomson, who is directing the show. “On the one hand we want to mirror the community we are in with a multi-racial cast. On the other, even though it is a broad and very funny comedy, (the play) deals with the mentally challenged and the folks that work with them, so it has to be dealt with sensitively — which means really good actors who can play honestly and joyfully.”

Because Encore’s musical “Time Warp” is in full rehearsal, Thomson said he initially didn’t have a place to hold auditions for “The Boys Next Door.” But then Arts of the Albemarle stepped in and offered Thomson use of its Maguire Theater — the venue where Encore performs its shows — to cast the play.

“Thanks to AoA we have a perfect venue to see people,” he said.

Thomson said the cast for “The Boys Next Door” calls for seven male actors between the ages of 20 and 50, and two women actors in the same age group. Race and body type aren’t important, he said. Neither is previous experience as a performer. 

“Talent is more important than experience,” he said. 

The auditions at AoA will be Sunday starting at 1 p.m. and Monday starting at 6 p.m. The play’s performance dates are April 12-14 and April 18-19.

“With this terrific play and some good actors, we’re going to wow the audience,” Thomson said.

For more information about the play or to get a copy of the script, call Thomson at 252 267-4154.