A Confederacy of Dunces Invited Auditions; Dynamic Staged Reading Performances Slated for the 2019 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival

NEW ORLEANS–The 2019 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival (March 27-31) will include performances of a dynamic staged reading of an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole directed by Francine Segal. This production will include costumes, projections, and music of the 1960s. Actors will hold scripts in this well-rehearsed, innovative theatrical show. The novel was adapted for the stage by New Orleans scholar Kenneth Holditch, who deems Toole’s work “the best book ever written about New Orleans.” This newly revised adaptation has additional material written by Francine Segal. This is the second collaboration between Holditch and Segal for the TW/NOLF.

The following roles are currently being cast, and some roles will be double cast: Irene Reilly, Santa Battaglia, Burma Jones, Darlene, Dorian Greene, Claude Robichaux, Mancuso, Myrna Minkoff, Lana Lee, and Thelma Toole (mother of the novelist). See Character Descriptions below. Both Equity and non-Equity members are invited to audition and will be compensated for their work. The iconic role of Ignatius Reilly will be played by film actor and comedian Charlie Talbert.

Invited auditions for actors and stage managers will take place mid November in New Orleans. The production schedule includes rehearsals and performances from March 6 to March 30, 2019. If you are heavily scheduled during these dates, please do not apply.

Please email photo, resume, contact information (phone number and email) and any scheduling conflicts between March 6-30 to no later than November 15, 2018. Please include the role or roles that interest you. The dialogue in this production is lifted straight from the novel, A Confederacy of Dunces. It is helpful if you are familiar with the book. We will contact you with audition dates via email.

Character Descriptions

Thelma Toole: Mother of John Kennedy Toole, author of the novel. She serves as the narrator in this adaptation. A relic from a Tennessee Williams play, she is a confident speaker who wanders into Mid-Atlantic speech and gets the most out of her consonants while using her gloved hands expressively. This character was written for this adaptation and is not in the original novel. Thelma was able to get the book published after her son committed suicide. She is moving, whimsical, and must have the passionate energy to move the show forward. Age is 50s-70s.

Burma Jones: A perpetually wisecracking African American in sunglasses. John Kennedy Toole called Jones the most intelligent person in the book. Jones, written as a character in the 60’s during the Civil Rights era, tells it like it is in 2018. In this adaptation, the actor playing Jones needs physicality, comedic skills and the ability to speak in ethnic vernacular. Jones is an iconic character from the novel.

Claude Robichaux: An elderly, conservative man from the Ninth Ward, he is convinced that communists are taking over the country. He is arrested by mistake by Mancuso in Scene One and becomes a love interest of Irene’s during the play. An endearing, misguided, and funny character.

Darlene: B-Girl at the Night of Joy, she dreams of becoming an exotic dancer. She has a pet cockatoo that plays a prominent role in her stripper routine, since it has been trained to rip her clothes off.

Dorian Greene: An outrageous gay man who runs a vintage clothes shop in the French Quarter and throws extravagant parties. Ignatius tries to recruit Dorian to help infiltrate the armed forces and highest levels of government—so that war would be replaced with orgies. Actor needs to have comedic skills and move well.

Ignatius J. Reilly (this role has been cast): The story’s protagonist, he is the giant belching heart of A Confederacy of Dunces. A medieval man at heart, Ignatius loathes everything modern or commercial. He is a constant observer, recording his own peculiar version of history on Big Chief tablets. Ignatius is also quite lazy and would prefer to spend most of his time at home in bed, in front of the television, or at the Prytania Theatre. Yet, when his mother crashes her Plymouth into a building, Ignatius is forced to enter the working world in order to help pay off the debt. He speaks in educated Standard American Speech and uses language for power.

Lana Lee: The hard-edged owner of the Night of Joy, she rules the club with an iron fist. Ignatius refers to her as the “Nazi Proprietress.” She is also the mastermind behind the largest high school pornography ring in the city. This role will be double cast.

Mrs. Irene Reilly: Long suffering Irene Reilly, the mother of Ignatius, drowns her maternal sorrows in cheap wine until she is finally able to stand up to her selfish and bullying son. Irene speaks with a Ninth Ward dialect. Ignatius has made her life “hawd.” She finally gets enough courage to commit her son to the psychiatric ward of Charity Hospital. Her best friend Santa fixes her up with Claude Robichaux, but she denies his interest in her.

Myrna Minkoff: Ignatius refers to her as the “minx.” She is a Jewish beatnik from New York, whom Ignatius met in college. Throughout the novel, she corresponds with Ignatius by mail, and she serves as the motivation for many of his actions, as he tries to get even with the minx for her latest effrontery. Actress needs a New York accent and comedic skills. Age is late 20s-40s.

Patrolman Mancuso: An inept, yet hardworking, police officer who suspects Ignatius of being a pervert and attempts to arrest him. His sergeant, frustrated with his incompetence, punishes him by forcing him to wear a new costume each day. Actor must have comedic skills. This role will be double cast with other characters.

Santa Battaglia: Irene Reilly’s friend and bowling partner is of Italian descent and lives in the Ninth Ward. She decides to play matchmaker with Mrs. Reilly with Claude Robichaux. She is the primary proponent of Ignatius being committed to Charity Hospital. She cooks with a lot of “gawlic” and yells at her grandchildren. There is nothing subtle about her while she moves the plot to fix up Irene and get rid of Ignatius. A funny character with great lines. Age is 50s-70s.

About the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival: TW/NOLF celebrates the genius of Tennessee Williams, who once called our city his “spiritual home,” and the contemporary artists who are as honest and unflinching in their examination of the human condition as our patron playwright. Founded in 1986 by a group of cultural enthusiasts, the Festival has grown from a small gathering of 500 to a five-day literary and multi-cultural event, which sees 11,000+ seats filled each year. In late March, we toast Williams’ birthday with theater, literary panels, food, and music events featuring luminaries and the brightest new talents in American arts. For more information, visit or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @TWFestNOLA.

MEDIA CONTACT: Marian Hawk, or 706-840-0257