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The Cast

Ensemble A


John Glenn

Annie Glenn

Dallas Townsend - CBS News Radio Anchor



David Glenn

Lyn Glenn

Mr and Mrs HW Glenn Senior - John's parents

Dr and Mrs Caster - Annie's parents

Colonel Powers

Ensemble B - Matrix for role distribution

Louden Wainwright - Life Magazine

Henri Landwirth - Space Cake

Cake Chef and baking hands

Tracking Station Operators - Ship & Shore

NASA officials-operators

President Kennedy (voice-over)

Press & CBS News reporters

Reverend Frank Erwin 

Total Cast No:16-36+

Doubling matrix

Ensemble A

Three (3) main: John, Annie and Townsend, the CBS radio anchor.

Seven (7) in support:  This is a traditional core cast, with a balance of distributed lines for most players. 


School Education & Community Productions

For schools that might desire full class participation, the cast can be expanded up to 36+ roles. The cast has a balanced-gender (i.e. equal numbers) participation.

Ensemble B : Matrix

In Act 1, there is a kitchen scene, whereby a replica cake of the capsule is being baked to celebrate Glenn's return. (This actually occurred. On 23 February 1962 a cake was delivered in a 'cold truck' and served to 2000+ personnel in the NASA Astronauts hanger).


By Act 1 end, the cake scene with the ensemble of 10, conclude the bake. It makes practical sense, that in Act 2, they would change and return as NASA pre-launch officials and so forth. In Act 3, some would play the tracking station operators. In Act 4-5 on splashdown, some would re-appear as the press reporters. This ensemble can be a group of 10 actors; each being assigned  4+ appearance's over the 5 Acts (i.e. 10 actors may make 40+ appearances per the Matrix Chart below. Sometimes they will have lines, sometimes not.)


This offers excellent challenges. Costuming (from a bakers hat and tunic in Act 1) to a blue lab cap and jacket with a NASA badge in Act 2, demonstrates costume changes are not necessarily onerous, or expensive either.  There is humour to be had if this is done transparently, by allowing the audience to know it is being invited to watch the 'theatre sport' of the ensemble making the simple costume and character changes. This can feature in the programme and through a narrator at the start of the performance if desired.  


Commercial Productions

With commercial productions, budget tends to mandate cast minimisation. To this end, the cast matrix for Ensemble B, sets out how 'doubling' is used to distribute the ensemble roles to fit a specific budget or stage size. This is an historic, epic story that required thousands of humans on an industrial level, to make the MA-6 flight possible. So 'doubling' is an important feature of the design, in telling the story.  

Ensemble B Role Matrix

ACT 1 Sc1

CBS News 1


Dr Glennan







ACT 1 Sc 5


Cake Chef


Baker 1

Baker 2

Baker 3

Bakery Clerk

Bench Hand 1

Bench Hand 2



Rocket Engineer



Testing Tech.

Console Tech.

Medical Officer 1&2

NASA Officer 1&2

Astronaut Tech 

Astronaut Assistant

Centrifuge Control

L. Wainwright

R. Kennedy (V.O.)


Tracking Op 1&3

Tracking Op 2&4

G. Cooper Op 3&6

Muchea Op 4

Woomera Op 5

Steelhead Op 6

NASA Officer 1

Cap Com 1

Cap Com 2

CBS News 1

ACT 4/5

CBS News 1 

CBS News 2&3

Reverend Erwin

NASA Officer

Reporter 1&3

Reporter 2&4

Reporter 3&6

Camera 1

Camera 2

Sound Tech

For further economy, some lines can be delivered as a simple voice-over live via a mike off-stage or a pre-recorded (V.O.) line.

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