“He Needed Killin’” is not only a well-known southern defense, it’s also the title of the first show of The Theatre Downstream’s sixth season. Billed as “Steel Magnolias” meets “Arsenic and Old Lace,” this world premiere comedy-drama is co-authored by local writers Rebekah Raymer and Ashley Raymer-Brown.

Between the two writers, their previous experience covers a wide range of genres, from books to plays to feature films. Rebekah has written three novels, “One Life,” “Liberty’s Adventures in Time,” and “Murder at Haven Everlasting,” and a short play, “Jump,” the first two of which are currently available on Amazon, while the second two are in the editing phase of publication. She considers her strengths to be plot and action sequences, along with character development.

Ashley has a long history of playwriting. She has previously written several pieces for TTD, including sketches that appeared in “Holiday Homecoming,” (2014) four out of the five one acts for “It’s Complicated: An Evening of One Acts” (2015), Act One of “Corney County” (2015), and all of the sketch material performed by campers for TTD’s Summer Theatre Camp (2017). She has also written one screenplay, "The Hepburn Girls," and co-authored a book, "The Why Not Philosophy." Ashley’s skill set includes character development and dialogue.

In “He Needed Killin’,” the story focuses on the friendship between five neighbor women (aged 40’s to 80) who meet for a weekly “bridge” game in their mid-size Kentucky town. The matriarch, Ruth, once rubbed elbows with the Kennedy’s, and knows everyone and everything in town, Joan, the resident curmudgeon, has an answer for everything, even when no one asked her the question; Carole, a former model, is a recent transplant, searching for true love after a difficult divorce, while elementary school teacher Melissa is pining for her husband who left two years ago under mysterious circumstances. And finally, Luetta, the quiet, genteel soul enmeshed in a long-term emotionally abusive marriage with the local district judge. The relationship between the narcissistic Frank and the long-suffering Luetta is at the heart of the story.

The younger supporting cast includes 21 year old aspiring crime writer Dylan, (daughter of Carole), Jeremiah, the delinquent son of Melissa, and Amelia, the quirky, non-verbal niece of Ruth.

While the subject matter has some very serious undertones, the authors flavor the script with many light moments to keep the melodrama at bay. The overall themes of community, family, true love, and deep friendships (bordering on accomplices) make “He Needed Killin’” the must see show of the summer.

Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. However, because this is a new property, 2 loaner copies of the script are available for perusal. Please post in the discussion section if you would like to be placed on the list.

Additional audition information:

Auditions (April 5&6) are during Spring Break for Henry County High School, therefore, Monday, April 8, will be reserved for Callbacks from the first two days, and those who have already made previous vacation plans.

The character of Dylan has a plot specific side job as a bartender, therefore, the young woman playing her needs to have a stage age of 21. However, the director will accept auditions from actresses who will be at least 16 years old by opening night (July 26) and be able to convincingly look aged 21 on stage.

Character Descriptions:

RUTH CLAYTON 79 year old widow. Well-dressed, comfortably rich, southern socialite bordering on eccentricity in her advanced age. Always ready with sage advice, she is also clearly the ringleader of the group.

JOAN BORACK Late 40's - early 60's. Joan's age is not as important as her attitude, which is crotchety. She says whatever is on her mind, whenever she feels like it. Extremely wealthy, dresses for comfort, not style. Always on a diet and always eating. Ruth's wingman.

CAROLE FORRESTER 40's. Upper middle class. Former model. Sophisticated, graceful, stylish, and extremely cultured. Sees the bright side of every situation. In search of true love. A later addition to the circle of friends.

MELISSA HYLTON Late 30's - late 40's. Flustered, scatter-brained, and moralistic. Naive, trusting, supportive. Devoted to her delinquent son and missing husband. Sings a karaoke song at the end of Act II.

LUETTA MURPHY 30's - 40's. Melancholy, dignified, a work-horse, giving, honest, faithful, loyal, emotionally fragile, an empath. Practical dresser. Feels stuck in her life, but can't find the strength to make the change needed to give her freedom.

DYLAN FORRESTER 21 years old. Daughter of Carole. Talented, clever, quick-witted, down-to-earth. Dresses practically and thinks logically. Comfortable in her own skin. Knows karate.

AMELIA CLAYTON 30's - 40's. Quirky, eccentric, non-verbal niece of Ruth. Takes everything literally. Awkward in social situations. Dresses in costume for every task she undertakes. Devoted to Ruth.

FRANK MURPHY 40's - 50's. District Judge. Expensive, tailored clothing. Charming, vain, narcissistic, alcoholic, emotionally abusive husband to Luetta.

JEREMIAH HYLTON Early 20's. Funny, rebellious, handsome, smart, doesn't live up to his potential. Has an unrequited crush on Dylan. Has a criminal record due to intense desire to be 'cool' and fit in. Son of Melissa.

BILL HYLTON 40's - 50's. Husband of Melissa. Disappeared two years ago under unusual circumstances. Handsome, smart, mysterious.

FERNANDO 20's - 30's. Handsome, charming handyman of Joan's. Real name unknown.

EUGENE WEBSTER Around the same age as Luetta. Upper middle class doctor. Loves Luetta from afar.

MILO OAKEY 40's. Former podiatrist. Has a nerdy haircut. Runs an alpaca farm, and wears sweaters made from their wool.

CHIEF OF POLICE 40's - 60's. Honest, serious, has a flirtation with Ruth.

MR. FABOTTO Late 40's - 60's. Mayor. Genial fellow. Good business sense. Party guest.

MRS. FABOTTO Late 40's - 60's. Self-important wife of the mayor. Party guest.

MRS. TAYLOR 40's - 60's. Runs the humane society. Enjoys wise-cracking. Party guest.

VARIOUS PARTY GUESTS Multiple ages. Only appear in Act Two, Scene 3. All dressed in Egyptian costumes. 

Auditions:  April 5 / 6-9 pm

and April 6 /1-4 pm 

​Rehearsals begin May 21, 2019

He Needed Killin'