ETSU theater alumnus John Kaywood is directing the Johnson City Community Theatre production of RENT this June and will be holding auditions at 7 p.m. on Feb. 15 and 16 at the Johnson City Community Theatre.

“Those interested in auditioning should prepare 16-24 bars of a song of their choice,” Kaywood said. “Auditionees will be able to sing to an instrumental track or provide the sheet music clearly marked start and stop to the pianist who will be present during the auditions.”

Kaywood is looking for individuals with tenor, baritone, alto, soprano and contralto vocal ranges, he said. “The show requires no fewer than 12 actors and no more than 20. I’m aiming for 20.”

Actors who are 17 will be required to be accompanied to callbacks by a parent or guardian so that the appropriate permission forms can be signed.

Kaywood said based on availability, rehearsals will occur at a time that will be determined after auditions Sunday through Thursday. Anyone with questions about auditions or the rehearsal schedule can contact Kaywood via email at

“It was important to me to do the show to educate crowds about the result of living the way the characters do in this story,” Kaywood said. “Johnson City is pretty sheltered. So, I wanted to do this show to open the floodgates and start conversations about drugs and AIDS.”

According to Music Theatre International, the New York Theatre Workshop first produced RENT on Jan. 25, 1996, and the show moved to Broadway later the same year. Since then, the show has received numerous awards, including the TONY Award for Best Musical and Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The Johnson City Community Theatre paid for the opportunity to produce RENT in cooperation with Music Theatre International, the agency that owns the rights to the show.

“The show will be a great success because this theatrical production really pushes the envelope in terms of subject matter,” Kaywood said. “I hope that the Johnson City Community Theatre’s capacity of about 170 is crammed every show.”