TWELFTH NIGHT PRODUCTIONS AUDITION NOTICES
Ragtime – The Musical auditions
Twelfth Night Productions
Book by Terrence McNally, Music by Stephen Flaherty, Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Based on the novel “Ragtime” by E.L. Doctorow
Director Michelle Blackmon
Vocal Music Director David Duvall
Orchestral Music Director Matthew Kruse
Choreographer Harry Turpin
Ragtime tracks three diverse families in pursuit of the American dream in the volatile “melting pot” of turn-of-the-century New York. It confronts the contradictions inherent in American reality: experiences of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair. The worlds of a wealthy white couple, a Jewish immigrant father and his motherless daughter, and an African American ragtime musician intertwine, and together they discover the surprising interconnections of the human heart, the limitations of justice and the unsettling consequences when dreams are permanently deferred. Featuring many of the historical figures that built and shaped turn-of-the-century America, including J.P. Morgan, Emma Goldman, Harry Houdini, Evelyn Nesbit, Henry Ford, Booker T. Washington, Stanford White, Harry K. Thaw, Admiral Peary, and Matthew Henson, this musical sweeps across the diversity of the American experience to create a stirring epic that also captures the heartbeat of the American experience: the marches, cakewalks and – of course, ragtime.
Location of Audition
Peace Lutheran Church 8316 39th Ave. SW, Seattle, WA 98136 (West Seattle)
SONG: Prepare 32 bars (no longer that one minute) from a song appropriate for the character you are auditioning for. If you are auditioning for more than one character, show your range in the song that you select, but have another selection available in case we want to hear more. Note – An accompanist will be provided. Bring sheet music clearly marked and make sure that it is in your key. No recorded music or acapella singing. MONOLOGUE: Prepare a contemporary monologue of two minutes or less that is not from Ragtime but is appropriate for the character(s) that you are auditioning for. DANCE: Dance combinations will be provided during callbacks for those being considered for roles that will be dancing/moving in the show. CASTING: Because the content and themes of this show are very specific to race and gender, actors will be cast accordingly as listed. Ensemble actors may be assigned more than one role. *If you know of a young African American child 4 – 6 years of age that has great stage presence and would be right for the role of Little Coalhouse, please let us know.
Character breakdown / Project needs
Booker T. Washington (African American, mid to late 40’s, baritone)
He strives to embody and provide the voice of restraint and wisdom for his people in the face the injustices and unimaginably trying circumstances they face. He is polished, educated, and delivers passionate speeches as a means of swaying the direction his people should take in the struggle for racial justice and equality. He speaks with great conviction and authority and is very convincing.
Coalhouse Walker Jr. (African American, low to mid-30’s, powerful rich baritone with strong high notes. Low Ab to high A)
He is truly the driving engine behind the story. He conveys strength, polish, intelligence and charisma. However, internally, he also reflects the unbridled rage experienced by vast numbers of African Americans at the hands of an oft unjust society that was America in this era. Even so, he controls and channels this rage into a highly calculated, systematic approach to his own brand of justice.
Emma Goldman (Russian Jewish Immigrant, mid to upper 30’s to low 40’s, alto)
A staunchly leftist anarchist, she spends her entire life tirelessly crusading against the injustices faced by the poor working-class, uneducated masses who struggled to make a life for themselves. She is a tremendously passionate human being who speaks with the vigorous enthusiasm and influence that would command masses to take action, even in the face of jeopardizing their very livelihoods and lives alike. Her verbalized political zeal is palpable.
Evelyn Nesbit (Caucasian, 18 – 25 years old, mezzo-soprano)
She is the iconic sex symbol in America during the time in which the story is set. Her character is written as very one-dimensional. Goofy, gorgeous, bombshell young actress and model. But in reality, Evelyn was a remarkably sharp young woman.
Harry Houdini (Hungarian immigrant, 20’s to early 30’s, baritone)
He’s a magician who gains worldwide notoriety for his feats as an escapist. He embodies the story of an immigrant’s success in America. He also reflects the rise of the fame and celebrity status that was newly emerging in this era due to vastly improved communication.
J.P. Morgan (Caucasian, 60 – 65, baritone)
Morgan represents the upper crust of the country at this time in American history. He is a man in somewhat advancing years who reflects status and wealth, a shrewd financier who is pompous, and oblivious to the plight of the common man.
Father (Caucasian, 30 – 45 years old, baritone with good high notes, low A to high F)
He makes the decision to go off stomping around the North Pole and leave his family. He then unsuccessfully tries to reconnect with the world he left behind before his journey. What he struggles to realize is that the world he left no longest exists. His sense of nostalgia and connection for the past prevents him from adapting to the realities of the new world in which he now exists. He is a somewhat short-sighted, staunch conservative who simply doesn’t understand the modern world in which he lives.
Henry Ford (Caucasian, 35 – 45, tenor)
“Folksy and full of himself”. No one can doubt the contributions he gave to industrialization in America and the world. His processes for manufacturing lead to the rapid rise of a new class of citizens in this country who enjoyed vastly increased financial gains and creature comforts in the decades that followed. He’s an innovator. His passion for his business is felt and reflected in every waking second of his life.
Mother (Caucasian, 25 – 35, mezzo-soprano with a strong belt)
She very much represents the rapidly changing ideals and cultural norms at-play within the country during this era. In the absence of her husband, she must not only take on the role of managing the household, but also lead the business affairs of her husband’s company during his expedition. She both witnesses and is equally changed by the times in which she lives. While it is not a transformation she sought, she nevertheless accepts it and emerges vastly stronger, much to the chagrin of her husband who feels displaced. Mother is a reserved woman, the epitome of elegance and social conditioning. She is polished and formal, but is not an elitist. She is very approachable and displays warmth, kindness, and grace.
Little Boy (Caucasian, 7 – 10, tenor)
The young, inquisitive, and slightly unique son of the white family, he is one of the sources of the narrative of the story. He’s intelligent, has sharp diction, is creative and somewhat clairvoyant
Little Girl (Latvian immigrant, 8 – 12, soprano)
She is Tateh’s daughter. She is quite stoic, and unusually mature for her age. She is reserved and quiet, but not necessarily because she is shy. She is intelligent and is raised by her father to be a cautious participant in a world of struggles.
Grandfather (Caucasian, 50 – 65, baritone)
He’s a really crotchety old man. He is the comic relief.
Sarah (African American, 18 – 25, alto)
She is young, passionately idealistic, naive, and beautiful. She is also uniquely strong-willed for her age and race in this time period. Although the exact circumstances of Coalhouse’s mistreatment of her remain a mystery, Coalhouse makes it his unwavering mission to regain her affection, which he ultimately succeeds in doing. Sadly, their renewed life and love affair is short-lived. In the brief period between their reunion and her death, they display an amazingly deep, rare, and passionate sense of connection. Her death gives rise to the transformation within Coalhouse that leads to devastating effect.
Tateh (Latvian immigrant, 30 – 40, tenor)
He is the devoted and loving father to the Little Girl. His entire being is dedicated to her, and her needs are ultimately the source of his drive to emerge from the abject poverty and struggles they endure. As he sits aboard the rag ship that provides him passage to his new life, he dreams of how he will find success and wealth in America. We witness Tateh’s progression from naive optimism, to misery in the face of stark poverty, to a rise and rebound as he enjoys absolute success as a pioneer in the early days of the motion picture industry due to his undeniable sense of showmanship and charisma in which he appears as Baron Ashkenazy.
Willie Conklin (Caucasian, 25 – 40, tenor)
He is the spark that ignites Coalhouse’s mini-revolution. He is the very epitome of racial intolerance. His lack of intelligence and utterly palpable displays of racial superiority echo the deep divisions that existed between the various races, creeds, and ethnicities within the country. He is brash, brazen, abrasive, offensive, and just plain ugly.
Younger Brother (Caucasian, 20 – 30, baritone)
He is a bit of a lost soul. He is quite intelligent, very idealistic, and very gifted in his trade, but he lacks direction and focus. He is somewhat reserved and awkward.
Little Coalhouse (African American, 4 – 6)
Coalhouse Walker, Jr.’s son. He appears briefly at the end of the play. He does not have any lines or songs.
Admiral Robert Peary (Caucasian)
Leader of the expedition to the North Pole
Mother and Father’s impertinent new maid
Charles S. Whitman (Caucasian)
Ambitious District Attorney
Harry K. Thaw (Caucasian)
Husband of Evelyn Nesbit
Kathleen (Irish immigrant)
Mother and Father’s first maid
Matthew Henson (African American)
Assistant to Admiral Peary
Stanford White (Caucasian)
An architect and Evelyn Nesbit’s lover
Baron Ashkenazy’s Assistant, Baseball Fans, Black Lawyer, Coalhouse’s Followers, Chorines & Sob Sisters, Clerk, Conductor, Firemen, Harlem Man, Harlem Woman, Immigrants, Judge, Jurors, Jury Foreman, Man, Militiamen, Mourners, Newsboys, People of Harlem, People of New Rochelle, Policeman, Police Officers, Ragtime Band Members, Rallyers/Strikers/Workers, Reporters
Please bring a headshot and resume To set up an audition appointment, please contact Rick Springer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, February 28, 2020 from 6 – 10 pm and Saturday, February 29, 2020 from 11 am to 5 pm
$50 – Travel Stipend
Callbacks or second audition/interview:
(by invitation only) Friday, March 6, 2020 from 6 – 10 pm and Saturday, March 7, 2020 from 11 am – 5 pm Same location as initial audition.