Auditions are next week for the first Panhandle Players' production of the 2017-18 season, “Murder at the Gibson Inn: An Oyster City Mystery,” an original play written and directed by Royce Rolstad III.

Auditions will be Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 21 and 22 from 6-7 p.m. at the Chapman Auditorium, in Apalachicola at the corner of U.S. Highway 98 and 14th Street.

The play calls for a cast of five women and seven men, all over the age of 18.

“Murder at the Gibson Inn: An Oyster City Mystery,” will make its world premiere at the Chapman, with performances set for Oct. 20, 21 and 22, just in time for Halloween.

Rolstad's first full-length play reveals a riveting plot of murder and mayhem in this fictionalized depiction of some of the ghosts thought to haunt Apalachicola's historic Gibson Inn. How did they become ghosts? Did they pass peacefully in their sleep, or did a dastardly deed do them in?

In the opening scene, visitors seeking a room ask Miss Cleo, desk clerk at the Gibson, "Is the inn really haunted?" Miss Cleo answers with a sinister look, "Maybe jes, maybe no! Would ju like to find out?" Through the exotic accent of Miss Cleo, the two curious tourists listen wide-eyed with fascination as she takes them from present day back to the past, the 1930s.

Slyly, she tells the tale of how a pirate's hidden treasure was the seed for mayhem among townfolk. The possible discovery of a map leading to the treasure's location in the sands of St. George Island drove the dreams and greed that led to murder. As the tale unfolds, ghosts of some of Apalachicola's legendary citizens will come to life (or death) on the Chapman stage when they gather once again in the Gibson's parlor, in the midst of a hurricane, to become entangled in the search for riches, and the fateful outcomes that come to pass.

A seasoned actor and director for Panhandle Players, newly-minted playwright Rolstad is excited about the world premier, choosing to direct it to fully realize his vision. “I am thrilled the Panhandle Players chose to open their season with my show,” Rolstad said. “I hope locals and visitors alike will come out and enjoy this tale of murder and greed.”

Those auditioning are asked to do a cold read from the script, demonstrating voice projection, clear enunciation, and availability for a minimum of six weeks of rehearsals and the mid-October premier performances.

For additional information contact Rolstad at 653-5586.