Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Character Descriptions

In the 1920s and 1930s, the battle to create and control television came down to two men: David Sarnoff, a self-made titan of industry and the president of RCA; and Philo T. Farnsworth, an unsophisticated but brilliant inventor working independently in a private laboratory. Their separate paths eventually collide in a legal battle for control of the 20th century’s most powerful communications tool. The turning point of the 20th century wasn't on television. It was television.

There are about 60 speaking parts (more than are listed below), plus crowd scenes and other dialogue. With the exception of several male leads, every performer will play multiple roles. Some redistribution of roles may be possible. The + others indicates how many other roles this actor will play. The last number in parentheses indicates the number of SCENES in which each actor appears.

Actor 40s-50s: DAVID SARNOFF The first media mogul. Smart, relentless, savvy. Appears confident and determined. (almost all scenes)

Actor 30s-40s: PHILO T FARNSWORTH The last lone inventor. Even smarter, equally relentless but not as savvy. Appears distracted. (almost all scenes)

Actress 30s-40s: LIZETTE (Sarnoff’s elegantFrench wife), MARY PICKFORD (the movie star, a potential investor) (6)

Actress, 20s-30s: PEM FARNSWORTH (Philo’s wife, loving and down-to-earth) (8)

Actor 40s-60s: WILLIAM CROCKER (Farnsworth’s main investor, a father figure) + 4 others (12)

Actor 20s-30s: CLIFF GARDNER (Pem’s brother) +5 others (13)

Actor 30s-50s: ATKINS (Crocker’s assistant), WALTER GIFFORD (a crass radio station owner), DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS (the movie star, a potential investor) + 4 others (13)

Actor 30s-40s: WILKINS (Crocker’s assistant) +6 others (12)

Actor 40s-60s: GEORGE EVERSON (a Farnsworth investor, more trusting than his partner Gorrell) (11)

Actor 40s-60s: VLADIMIR ZWORYKIN (the RCA scientist) + 5 others (11)

Actor 30s-50s: LESLIE GORRELL (a Farnsworth investor, more cynical and doubting than his partner Everson) (11)

Actor 20s-30s: STAN WILLIS (a Farnsworth assistant) and +3 others (12)

Actor 50s-60s: JUSTIN TOLMAN (Farnsworth’s high school teacher) +6 others (11)

Actor 40s-50s:JIM HARBORD (a top RCA executive) + 5 others (12)

Actor 40s-50s: SIMMS (an RCA executive) Lippincott (Philo's attorney) + 4 others (8)

Actress 20s-30s: BETTY (Sarnoff’s secretary) +1 other (11)

Actor 20s-30s: HARLAN HONN (a Farnsworth assistant) +3 others (12)

Actress 2os- 30s AGNES (Philo’s sister) +1 other (12)

Actress 30s-50s MINA EDISON (Thomas Edison’s widow) +4 others (7)

Actor 40s-50s: WACHTEL (an RCA executive) +1 other (10)

Actor 10-14: YOUNG DAVID SARNOFF (3)


  1. Jane, I'm so looking forward to auditions! Thanks for the updates.

  2. They are mounting this in Lakewood, WA in 2012. What would a good monologue to audtion with? Supporting male 40-50. Comedy? Drama? Both. How about a period piece?