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Ragtime (The Musical)

Ragtime will be a main tent show running July 12 – 20th with possible holdover dates of July 21st and 22nd. Rehearsals will begin on Monday, May 6th and will be held Monday thru Friday evenings with some weekend rehearsals. Rehearsal demand will depend upon the role cast. Mandatory rehearsals will begin on July 5th. Please bring rehearsal conflicts to auditions.


A large and diversified multi-ethnic / multi-racial cast including adults / older teens and 2 featured children. 3-6 additional children will be cast for ensemble, ages 8-14. The entire ensemble sings and performs stage movement. Some specialty dancers needed but not all cast members will dance.

Corn Stock Theatre is holding open auditions for their summer musical Ragtime at The Corn Stock Theatre Center on Friday, April 26th from 5:00 – 8:00 PM, Saturday April 27th from 1:00 – 4:00 PM, and Sunday, April 28th from 2:00 – 5:00 PM. Auditioners are asked to come anytime during the listed dates and times. Callbacks will be Monday, April 29th and possibly Tuesday, April 30th.

All Lead Roles must be exceptional singers/actors/technicians. The score is demanding. All other cast will be required to be good singers and actors and some great dancers. Prepare 16 to 32 bars or up to a two minute cutting from a song. You may sing from the show or a song in the style of the show. Please bring sheet music in your key. Accompanist provided. Everyone will be required to do a movement portion at the audition. Bring comfortable clothing and shoes for movement. Those auditioning for a Specialty and/or Harlem Dancer will attend a more rigorous dance audition. Please bring appropriate clothing and shoes. Some will be asked to do cold readings from the script. No acting preparation needed.

Director: Pam Orear
Music Director: Andrea Molina
Choreographer: Tamra Challacombe

This beautiful and compelling epic musical tells the story of three diverse families in pursuit of the American Dream in the volatile “melting pot” of New York during the early-twentieth-century America. Written by the award-winning composer/lyricist team of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, noted playwright Terrence McNally, and based on E.L. Doctorow’s distinguished novel, Ragtime confronts the dialectic contradictions inherent in American reality: experiences of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair. Over the course of the show, the worlds of a wealthy white family, a Jewish immigrant father and his motherless daughter, and an African American ragtime musician intertwine. 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 and Henry Ford, this musical sweeps across the diversity of the American experience to create a stirring story that captures the beats of the American experience: the marches, the cakewalks and, of course, the ragtime. The Tony-winning score draws upon many musical styles, from the ragtime rhythms of Harlem and Tin Pan Alley to the klezmer of the Lower East Side, from bold brass band marches to delicate waltzes, from up-tempo banjo tunes to period parlor songs and expansive anthems. A truly unique and powerful portrait of America, Ragtime is sure to inspire actors and audiences alike! 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. This acclaimed musical is filled with pageantry, emotion and hope, bursting onto the stage like no other musical.

Please note that ages for characters are merely guidelines, rather than requirements.


Gender: male, Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: B5 Vocal range bottom: G3
Powerful rich baritone with strong high notes
Coalhouse is a proud, sophisticated man who fights to live within his social boundaries and then rebels against them when even that is not good enough. Coalhouse is truly the driving engine behind it all. He must convey strength, polish, and intelligence. However, internally, he also reflects the unbridled rage experienced by vast numbers of African Americans at the hands of an often 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. The actor who seeks to fill this role must exhibit polish, charisma, intelligence, and strength. Coalhouse is a very intricately written character. While many may not condone his actions, most would certainly concede the challenges he faces.

Gender: male, Age: 35 to 45
Vocal range top: F5 Vocal range bottom: A3 Tenor
A haggard, Latvian immigrant who dreams the “American Dream” for himself and his daughter, Tateh is a wonderful character. He displays the struggles of the newly arrived immigrants to this country during the turn of the century. In the show we are given a fairly intimate view into the lives of these new immigrants. We witness Tateh’s progression from naive optimism, to misery in the face of stark poverty, to a rise and rebound who enjoys absolute success as a pioneer in the early days of the motion picture industry. Tateh is an imaginably devoted and loving father to his daughter. His entire being is dedicated to her, and her needs are ultimately the source of his drive to emerge from the abject poverty they endure. The actor who seeks this role must convey the undeniable sense of showmanship and charisma that Tateh exhumes. A command of the dialect is necessary.

Gender: female, Age: 30 to 40
Vocal range top: E5 Vocal range bottom: G3 Mezzo-soprano with a strong belt
A strong, kind woman who defies social norms to do the things she feels are right, Mother is a remarkable character. 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 must 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. The actor who seeks to take on this role will display quiet strength. Mother is a reserved woman, and is the epitome of elegance and social conditioning. She should reflect polish and formality, but not suggest a sense of being elitist or unapproachable. She displays warmth, kindness, and grace.

Gender: female, Age: 18 to 25
Vocal range top: F5 Vocal range bottom: G3 Alto
A washwoman who is adopted into Mother’s home when Mother finds Sarah’s baby in the garden. She gets shot and killed and her death gives rise to the transformation within Coalhouse that leads to devastating effect. She is an amazing young woman who is 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, the basic narrative can be pieced together. 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. Sarah is young, passionately idealistic, naïve, innocent, and beautiful.

Younger Brother
Gender: male, Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: F5 Vocal range bottom: B3 Baritone
Mother’s younger brother who has his heart broken by Evelyn Nesbit and joins Coalhouse in his protests towards discrimination. He is a young man in search of something. Younger Brother 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. We see him as two faces during the show. First, we’re shown his Evelyn Nesbit infatuation phase. Next, we’re shown his crusade for social justice phase. He needs to be focused, identifiable with his social standing, and played somewhat reserved and awkward.

Gender: male Age: 35 to 45
Vocal range top: F5 Vocal range bottom: A3 Baritone with good high notes
Father is rich, conservative and staunch in his ways but not intentionally unkind. He makes the decision to leave his family and go off exploring the North Pole and then unsuccessfully, tries to reconnect with the world left behind before his journey. He then struggles with the reality that the world he left no longest exists. In truth, this process is probably quite similarly experienced by many people as they age. His sense of nostalgia and connection for the past prevents him from adapting to the realities of the new world in which he exists. He simply doesn’t understand the modern world in which he lives. Father is a good man who is trapped in his personal biases and perspectives formulated over the course of a few decades. He should be played as a sympathetic, albeit somewhat short-sighted person.

Booker T. Washington
Gender: male, Age: 40 to 50
Vocal range top: E5 Vocal range bottom: C4 Baritone
A dominant historical figure, Washington strives to embody and provide the voice of restraint and wisdom for his people in the face of injustices and unimaginable trying circumstances that they face. In speech and demeanor, his character very much mirrors that of Coalhouse. Of course, that’s about where the similarities end. Washington should be portrayed as polished, educated, and emblematic of actual man as he was. His passionate speeches are a means of swaying the direction his people should take in the struggle for racial justice and equality. He must speak with great conviction and authority. He must be convincing.

Emma Goldman
Gender: female, Age: 35 to 45
Vocal range top: D5 Vocal range bottom: E3 Alto
Another historical figure, this Russian born radical anarchist in early 1900’s New York City, Goldman 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. In our story, Goldman meets Tateh, a new immigrant to America, and his daughter. She works to enlist him in the fight to earn rights for workers. She also becomes acquainted with Younger Brother. Goldman must be played as a tremendously passionate human being. She must speak 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. A staunch anarchist, Goldman’s verbalized political zeal must be palpable and the actress must have a commanding presence. A command of the dialect will be necessary.

Evelyn Nesbit
Gender: female, Age: 18 to 25
Vocal range top: D5 Vocal range bottom: B3 Mezzo Soprano
The beautiful vaudeville performer was made famous for the murder of her high profile lover by her rich husband. This historical figure was the iconic sex symbol in America during the turn of the century. In the show, her character is invariably played, and arguably written to be, very one-dimensional, goofy, gorgeous, a bombshell young actress and model. She may project the outward appearances of a clichéd mindless beauty, but in reality, Evelyn was a remarkably sharp young woman. Still, she must suggest the full allure and vibrato that she is written to display in this musical adaptation.

Little Boy
Gender: male. Age 8 – 10
Vocal range top: D5 Vocal range bottom E4 tenor / alto
Mother and Father’s young and inquisitive and slightly unique son, the Little Boy is often seen as being one of two possible sources of the narrative in the novel. He’s intelligent, has sharp diction, is creative, and somewhat clairvoyant. The actor must have a solid sense of comedic timing for the delivery of some wonderful one-liners.

Little Girl
Gender: female, Age: 8 to 10
Vocal range top: D5 Vocal range bottom: C4 Soprano
Tateh’s daughter, Little Girl is a young Eastern European immigrant in a new home. 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. Her dead-pan delivery of a few lines provides some wonderful laughs. A command of the dialect will be necessary.


Henry Ford
Gender: male, Age: 35 to 45
Vocal range top: F5 Vocal range bottom: D4 Tenor
Ford is a historical American industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company. Considered to be egotistical and full of himself, no one can doubt the contributions Ford 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. The actor must emote the energy and enthusiasm this man embodied.

Gender: male, Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: G5 Vocal range bottom: C4 Baritone
This true historical figure, Houdini was a famous magician who immigrated to America and made a name for himself largely as an escape artist. 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 vastly improved communication.

Willie Conklin
Gender: male, Age: 25 to 40
Vocal range top: F5 Vocal range bottom: D4 Tenor
A racist volunteer fireman who destroys Coalhouse’s car, Conklin 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 both at the time of the show and nowadays. This character is brash, brazen, abrasive, offensive, and just plain ugly. He’s not a guy with whom anyone can empathize.

J.P. Morgan
Gender: male, Age: 60 to 65 Baritone
The historically rich and famous financier, J. P. Morgan is a man advancing in years who reflects status and wealth. He likes mummies and forms a club with his friend Henry Ford. He is a pompous and shrew financier, oblivious to the plight of the common man.

Gender: male Age: 60 to 70
Vocal Range: Baritone
Mother’s conservative father, Grandfather is a retired professor who is irritated by everything. He’s written as very simple, clichéd crotchety old man who serves as comedy relief, given his one – liners.

Sarah’s Friend
Gender: female, Age: 18 to 25
Vocal range top: D5 Vocal range bottom: D3 Alto
A friend of Sarah’s who is the soloist at her funeral.


Gender: Adult Male
He mans the train that brings Tateh and the Little Girl to New Rochelle.

Gender: Adult Male
He’s ready to throw Sarah in jail for the mistreatment of her newborn.

Charles S. Whitman
Gender: Adult Male
District Attorney with ambition.

Admiral Perry
Gender: Adult Male
Historical figure who joins father on the expedition to the North Pole.

Gender: Adult Female
She’s the family’s Irish born maid. Irish accent needed.

Gender; Adult Female
She’s the family’s impertinent new maid.

Matthew Henson
Gender: Adult Male
Historical figure who assisted Admiral Perry at the North Pole.

Gender: Adult male
A racist volunteer fireman.

Harlem Man
Gender: Adult Male
A man from Harlem.

Harlem Woman
Gender: Adult female
A woman from Harlem.

Town Hall Bureaucrat 1
Gender: Adult male
Enforces the red tape as he is told.

Town Hall Bureaucrat 2
Gender: Adult male
Enforces the red tape as he is told.

Welfare Official
Gender: Adult male
Enforces the red tape as he is told.

Baron Ashkenazy
Gender: Adult Male
Film Director of Houdini and Evelyn Nesbit’s film

Baseball Fan
Gender: Adult Male
He loves baseball, but he’s an obnoxious fan.


People of New Rochelle
People of Harlem / Harlem Dancers
Immigrants: Jewish, Italian, Haitian
Ship Personnel / Ship Passengers
Judge / Jurors / Press
Reporters /Lawyers
Workers / Neighbors
Strikers / Rallyers / Militia
Coalhouse Followers
Policemen / Crowd
Emerald Isle Fireman
Umpire / Baseball Fans
Baron’s Assistant / Vice-President Candidate
Atlantic City Vacationers
Vigil Harlem Women
Specialty Dancers