by Ashlee Moon

CORNELIUS – Local actors can audition to perform on a New York stage. Auditions will be held July 22-24 at the Warehouse Performing Arts Center.

Cornelius resident and playwright Doug Johnston’s comedy “Sweet Dreams,” was chosen to be performed in the 2012 Thespis NY Festival.  The show will hit the city lights in September.

Johnston, 71, has only written two plays in his writing career and was shocked to find out “Sweet Dreams” was one of the 22 selected plays out of 240 submitted for the festival.

Franco Moschetti, the Italian filmmaker, writer, director and playwright who founded the Thespis NY Festival, said the play delighted him.

“It is so funny and full of surprises that it’s hard not to be captivated,” Moschetti said. “The fact that he manages to treat profound love with fun and a touch of lightness and courage, you have to be young at heart to think and write as he did.”

The play tells the story of two monks in a monastery in the Land of AZ. The monks build a Dream Machine that can go back in time and turn bad and impossible dreams into “Sweet Dreams.”

But something goes wrong and the Dream Machine starts sending people back into the wrong stories. But in the end, it’s all “Sweet Dreams,” Johnston said.

“If you wish to fly above the harsh realities of life and dream, Sweet Dreams can be your wings,” Moschetti said.

Johnston said the humor of the play is a mix between “Saturday Night Live” and Monty Python.

The production of the New York show is still an ongoing process for Johnston, who is trying to raise $3,500 in T-shirt sales and ad programs to help offset costs.

“I went from just being a guy writing a play to all of a sudden having my dreams come true by becoming a producer, now all I want is to help make the cast have their once-in-a-lifetime dreams come true,” Johnston said.

He’s now responsible for finding a director and a cast of 16 who would be able to pay their way to New York for six days. He chose Della Freedman, of WFAE, to direct the show.

“It is a daunting task, and I am praying that our community will help our actors and the production to play in New York in its world premiere performances,” Johnston said. “In so many ways, I feel like I am the Don Quixote that I wrote about in my play. Somehow I need to find actors who really have a desire and passion to play in New York and who want to show New York we have talent here locally to make people laugh and dream.

He’s also planning three local performances in Cornelius after the cast returns from New York.

“It takes a lot of guts to put together such a grand production and bring it to New York City. Talk about enthusiasm! Johnston has pounds to sell,” Moschetti said.

To order a T-shirt, which costs $25 by cash or check, email sweetdreams Send tax-deductible donations to the Metrolina Theatre Association, P.O. Box 30861, Charlotte, NC 28230. Those who buy T-shirts and ads or make donations will get recognition in the show’s program and a $5 discount on tickets for local shows.

For more information on sponsorship and other details, contact 704-960-2228 or

Audition for ‘Sweet Dreams’

Auditions will be held Tuesday-Thursday, July 22-24, 3:30-6:30 p.m. at Warehouse Performing Arts Center, 9216-A Westmoreland Road, Cornelius.

The show calls for male and female actors 18 to 75 years old and children 5 to 9 years old.