Sunday, August 11, 2:00 – 5:00PM
Monday, August 12, 7:00 – 10:00PM
Auditions will be held by appointment on Sunday, August 11 from 2:00 PM– 5:00PM and Monday, August 12 from 6:00PM – 9:00PM. Auditioners should sign up for an audition slot at www.broadview-heights-spotlights.org. Invited callbacks, if necessary, will be held on Wednesday, August 14. Rehearsals will begin the week of September 22. The show runs November 8 – 23 and will be the performed in the Spotlights’ new 3200-square-foot flexible theater space!
This musical is set in the volatile melting pot of turn-of-the-century New York, weaving together three distinctly American tales – that of a stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant and a daring young Harlem musician – united by their courage, compassion and belief in the promise of the future. Together, they confront history’s timeless contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair… and what it means to live in America.
Written by the award-winning composer/lyricist team of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (Once on This Island, Seussical, and Lucky Stiff), noted playwright Terrence McNally, and based on E.L. Doctorow’s distinguished novel, Ragtime is the winner of the 1998 Tony Awards for Best Score, Book and Orchestrations, and both the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical and Best Score.
The show will be directed by Tim Anderson and music directed by Ryan Bergeron. Performers of all ethnicities (ages 15 and up) are invited to audition.
The roles of Tateh and Mother have been cast; all other roles are open. There are a small number of roles available for younger performers, and those interested should contact the director directly at email@example.com.
Those auditioning should:
- Sign up for an audition slot here.
- Arrive 10 minutes prior to their audition slot to complete an audition form.
- Plan to attend only one night of auditions.
- Be familiar with the show and its music and themes.
- Prepare two brief (up to one-minute) contrasting songs (one up-tempo, one ballad), in the style of the show.
- Bring sheet music in the correct keys, hole-punched in a three-ring binder. Singers will not be permitted to sing a cappella.
- Bring a list of conflicts between September 22 and November 23.
Additional questions may be sent to the director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Genders and ages listed are those of the character.)
|Coalhouse Walker, Jr.||Male
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range: G2 – A4
|A proud and talented pianist. He is sophisticated, with a romantic demeanor and gentle heart though an intimidating build.|
Age: 20 to 25
Vocal range: G#3 – F#5
|Washwoman. Sarah is beautiful and filled with a strong will to live fueled by an innocent spirit. Falls deeply in love with Coalhouse after much resistance.|
|Booker T. Washington||Male
Age: 45 to 55
Vocal range: D3 – Eb4
|Incredibly intelligent social activist. He is an eloquent and articulate gentleman with no patience for Black Americans leading less than exemplary lives.|
Age: 18 to 25
Vocal range: D3 – D5
|A friend of Sarah’s who attends her funeral.|
Age: 35 to 45
Vocal range: B3 – D5
|Social activist. With an unapologetically demanding presence, she is a leader and powerful woman.|
Age: 30 to 45
Vocal range: A2 – F4
|Mother’s professionally successful husband. Fancying himself an amateur explorer, he is commanding and attractive. Enjoys being the family breadwinner.|
Age: 20 to 25
Vocal range: B2 – F#4
|Mother’s younger brother. With his wiry frame and obsessive personality, he is an erratic soul. Influenced greatly by Goldman’s teachings.|
Age: 60 to 70
|Mother’s very conservative father. He is a retired professor and easily irritated by nearly everything.|
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range: E3 – G4
|The famous magician. With dark features and notable physical ability, he stands as a symbol of the ‘American Dream.|
Age: 18 to 21
Vocal range: B3 – D5
|Beautiful vaudeville performer. Thrust into the limelight after the high-profile murder of her lover, the entire world is her stage.|
Age: 35 to 45
Vocal range: D4 – F5
|an American industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company|
Age: 60 to 65
|the rich, famous financier|
Age: 25 to 40
Vocal range: D4 – F5
|A racist volunteer fireman who destroys Coalhouse’s car|
Age: 7 to 10
Vocal range: C4 – Bb4
|Tateh’s daughter. A confused and vulnerable child in a brand-new home, she is guarded and shy. Loves her father very much.|
Age: 8 to 12
Vocal range: E4 – D5
|Mother and Father’s son. He is open-hearted and curious with inexplicable clairvoyance. Never passes judgement on others.|
|Ensemble||A highly featured, diverse group of Baseball Fans; Coalhouse Supporters; Firemen; Harlem Citizens, Immigrants To America; New Rochelle Citizens; Reporters; Vacationers|
|Mother||This role has been cast.||The consummate wife and mother. A kind woman with incredible moral fiber. Refined, intelligent, and graceful. She is accepting of others.|
|Tateh||This role has been cast.||The haggard artist and father. He wears the trials and tribulations of his past on his sleeve but remains optimistic.|
We are introduced to the social and political climate of the United States in the early twentietth century by meeting a parade of characters – famous celebrities and private citizens of the time. First, we visit New Rochelle, New York, to meet a well-to-do white family: Mother, Father, their Little Boy, Mother’s Younger Brother and Grandfather. Next, we go to Harlem to meet Coalhouse Walker, Jr., a ragtime pianist, and his admirers. Immigrants arrive at Ellis Island, where we meet Tateh, an artist who makes silhouettes, and his Little Girl. The lives of these three American families are entwined with Booker T. Washington, Harry Houdini, J.P. Morgan, Henry Ford, Evelyn Nesbit and Emma Goldman. Whites, African Americans, immigrants and celebrities are set on a collision course from the opening number (“Ragtime”).
Father is accompanying Admiral Peary on a trip to the North Pole. At the dock, he consoles Mother that everything will be the same upon his return, but Mother is not convinced (“Goodbye My Love”). On its way out of the harbor, Father’s ship passes a rag ship filled with immigrants, arriving in New York. Tateh and the Little Girl are on board. Tateh and Father wave to one another; Father admires the immigrants for their naive bravery in coming to a new land, and Tateh questions Father’s reasons for leaving the place that he has worked so hard to find. Simultaneously, Mother wonders what this year without her husband will bring (“Journey On”).
Mother’s Younger Brother is in love with Evelyn Nesbit. He is frustrated and lost, searching for meaning in his life and hoping to find it in her. Her show is a vaudeville act that tells the true story of her lover’s murder by her famous husband (“Crime of the Century”). Younger Brother goes to all of her shows. One day, after the show, Younger Brother approaches her, but she dismisses him.
The scene shifts to Mother and the Little Boy in the garden. The Little Boy wants to see Houdini, as he has a cryptic message for him: “Warn the duke.” While he begins to read her Father’s letter, mother makes a shocking discovery – there is a newborn African-American child buried in the flowerbed. The police arrive on the premises with Sarah, the mother of the child. Rather than let Sarah go to prison, Mother takes Sarah and the child into her own home (“What Kind of Woman”).
With many other immigrants, Tateh and The Little Girl disembark at Ellis Island, full of hope (“America”). Tateh sets up his business on the Lower East Side, selling paper silhouettes of celebrities for a nickel each. Emma Goldman chastises him for selling one of J.P. Morgan, the epitome of capitalism. J.P. Morgan enters the scene and metaphorically crushes the immigrants, but Harry Houdini magically swoops in as an emblem of immigrant triumph. Time passes, Tateh becomes less idealistic – he is still poor and the Little Girl is sick. When a man tries to buy the Little Girl, Tateh has reached rock bottom. He swears to make a better life for himself and his child (“Success”).
Far Uptown, the people of Harlem celebrate the great musician, Coalhouse Walker, Jr. (“His Name Was Coalhouse Walker”). He tells his friends the story of how he loved and lost Sarah, but reveals that he’s just found out where she might be living and is determined to win her back (“Getting’ Ready Rag”). Henry Ford appears to tell us of his new method of mass production and his most famous product – the Model T (“Henry Ford”). A new car rolls off of the assembly line, and Coalhouse drives off in search of Sarah.
Back in New Rochelle, Mother and the Little Boy wait at the train station, on their way to New York City to take care of the family business while Father is away. Tateh and the Little Girl wait across the tracks for a train to Boston. Mother and Tateh greet one another, and Tateh is surprised to be treated with respect (“Nothing Like the City”). The Little Boy has a premonition that they will see Tateh and the Little Girl again, but Mother tells him that is absurd.
On his way to New Rochelle, Coalhouse encounters a group of hostile volunteer firemen who threaten him for being cocky by driving past them in his new car. Meanwhile, Sarah, living in Mother’s attic, begs her infant’s forgiveness for her desperation – trying to explain what drove her to such an unimaginable act (“Your Daddy’s Son”). When Coalhouse arrives at Mother’s home, Sarah will not see him.
Coalhouse returns every Sunday for weeks, wooing Sarah with his ragtime tunes and winning over Mother, Grandfather and the Little Boy (“The Courtship”). Father returns from the North Pole to find a very different household from the one he left. He cannot wrap his head around the facts that his wife is independent, his family is accepting of the African-American courtship happening in his living room and there is ragtime music coming from his piano (“New Music”).
Finally, Sarah comes down to see Coalhouse and they reunite. Coalhouse tells Sarah of his admiration for Booker T. Washington’s achievements and, together, he and Sarah imagine a future for their child (“Wheels of a Dream”). Meanwhile, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Tateh has lost sight of the American dream and now works at a mill 64 hours a week. In Union Square, Emma Goldman tries to generate a strike against the oppressive mill owners. Younger Brother happens to hear her speech and is energized to the cause of workers rights – he finally has something in which to believe (“The Night That Goldman Spoke in Union Square”).
A violent labor strike erupts in Lawrence. Tateh intends to put The Little Girl on a train to a safer place, with other children and a chaperone. However, she is so distraught that he jumps on the train with her. He soothes her terror with a flipbook of silhouettes that he has made (“Gliding”). The train conductor notices the book of moving silhouettes and buys it for his own child. Tateh sees this as a wonderful new business idea.
Coalhouse once again encounters the volunteer firemen, and, this time, they do more than threaten him. As Booker T. Washington gives a speech about rising above and holding fast, the men destroy Coalhouse’s car. Coalhouse moves through the legal channels in search of justice for this crime against him, but he is denied at every avenue (“Justice”). He postpones his marriage to Sarah until the matter is resolved. Sarah, out of desperation and naiveté, tries to seek help from a visiting Vice Presidential candidate but is clubbed to death by police, who suspect her of having a gun (“President”). Act One closes with the anger and grief of Sarah’s funeral (“Till We Reach That Day”).
Coalhouse mourns the loss of Sarah (“Coalhouse’s Soliloquy”). Seeking vengeance, he shoots three of the firemen who trashed his car, burns their firehouse and demands that the fire chief, Willy Conklin, be brought to justice (“Coalhouse Demands”).
A group of young men joins Coalhouse as he strikes out against the system. Booker T. Washington publicly condemns Coalhouse’s actions. Father goes to the police to tell them what he knows about Coalhouse. Younger Brother, who is moved by the plight of the oppressed and angry about the injustice done to Coalhouse, erupts at Father for working against Coalhouse. He storms out of the house in anger, and Mother, who is still caring for Sarah and Coalhouse’s baby, is deeply upset. In reaction, Father takes the Little Boy to a baseball game. But even this has changed and is now a game, not just for upper class whites, but for immigrants, too (“What a Game”). Meanwhile, Coalhouse’s band of men sets fires around the city. Reporters besiege the family in New Rochelle. Father, thinking that it is time to get away, takes the family to Atlantic City, where Evelyn Nesbit and Houdini both happen to be starring attractions (“Let’s Run Away to Atlantic City”).
In Atlantic City, we discover that Tateh is now a famous film director and has recreated himself as Baron Ashkenazy. His daughter, healthy and beautifully dressed, is by his side. Once again, Tateh meets Mother and tells her the story of his success (“Buffalo Nickel Photoplay, Inc.”).
Later, the Little Boy asks Houdini for his autograph and gives him the message: “Warn the duke.” Houdini is confused and intrigued, but the Little Boy runs off. The Little Girl and Little Boy play together as Tateh and Mother watch from the boardwalk (“Our Children”). Tateh reveals his humble origins to Mother, who is moved by his honesty.
In Harlem, Younger Brother searches for Coalhouse and, although the residents are distrustful of him, one of Coalhouse’s men takes him to Coalhouse’s hideout. Meanwhile, drawn by laughter and dancing in a club, Coalhouse thinks of the first time that he met Sarah (“Sarah Brown Eyes”). A blindfolded Younger Brother is brought to Coalhouse’s den. Younger Brother wants to express his sympathy for Coalhouse’s actions but all he can manage to do is offer his knowledge of explosives (“He Wanted to Say”). Coalhouse focuses his rage by taking over J.P. Morgan’s Library. He threatens to blow up the library and all of its treasures, as well as himself and all of his men, one of whom is now Younger Brother. Father tells Mother that he has volunteered to act as a negotiator, and Mother realizes that this experience has irrevocably changed their relationship (“Back to Before”).
Coalhouse and his men barricade themselves inside the library. Emma Goldman applauds this, but Booker T. Washington deplores these actions. Father tells the authorities that Booker T. Washington is the only man to whom Coalhouse will listen. Booker T. is sent into the library to speak with Coalhouse. He chides Coalhouse, both for risking the lives of the young men around him, while leaving his own son to be raised by white men, and for endangering the position of all African Americans by making them seem hot-headed and violent (“Look What You’ve Done”). He assures Coalhouse that, if he surrenders, he will have a fair trial and a forum for his opinions. Coalhouse negotiates the safe passage of his men, including Younger Brother, while Father remains behind in the library. The men protest his decision, but he explains to them that the only way to win the fight is to go out into the world and tell their story (“Make Them Hear You”). When Coalhouse is left alone with Father, he asks about his son. Father promises a safe end to the standoff, but, when Coalhouse exits the building to surrender, he is shot dead by authorities.
The era of ragtime ends. The characters come forward, one by one, to tell us the end of their stories: Younger Brother joins the revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, Emma Goldman is deported, Booker T. Washington establishes the Tuskegee Institute, Evelyn Nesbit fades into obscurity, Houdini has the one true mystical experience of his life when he is performing in Sarajevo and the duke is shot, Grandfather dies and Father is killed during wartime. Finally, Mother and Tateh marry and move to California with their children.
As the curtain falls, Little Coalhouse runs into Mother’s arms, and men and women of all nationalities – and races – join Mother on the stage (“Epilogue”).