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Encore Theatrical to hold auditions for musical “Ragtime”

MORRISTOWN, TN -- Encore Theatrical Company will hold auditions for the summer musical production of “Ragtime.” 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, “Ragtime” is a unique and powerful portrait of America.

Set in the volatile melting pot of turn-of-the-century New York, three distinctly American tales are woven together -- 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.

The Tony-winning score is just as diverse as the melting pot of America itself, drawing 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.

Auditions will take place Thursday, March 30 at 6:30, Friday, March 31 at 6:30 and Saturday, April 1 at 2:00. Auditions will be held at Walters State Community College in Morristown. Those wishing to audition should prepare 32 bars of a song in the style of something from the production. Please bring sheet music. An accompanist will be provided. Please dress in comfortable clothing. Those auditioning may be asked to also read from the script. The production team is looking for a racially diverse cast of approximately 30 members.

The production is scheduled to begin rehearsal late May with performances scheduled for July 14-23. Performances will be held at the Jefferson County High School Performing Arts Center. For more information, please visit or call 423-318-8331.

Ages listed are based on history and/or author recommendations, and should not be taken literally. All Lead roles must be exceptional singers/technicians. The score is demanding (no skirting around notes).

Coalhouse Walker, Jr: (lead) African-American male. 25-35 (baritone with strong top range; range: Ab to G, with a sustained high F#). Intense dance; pianist; proud, confident, and stubborn.

Sarah: (lead) African-American female. Late teens-early 20's (lyric soprano; range: low G# to high F# on staff)

Mother: (lead) Anglo-American female. 30+ (lyric soprano; range: low G to high Eb on staff) gentle, compassionate, optimistic Father: (lead) Anglo-American male. 40+ (baritone; range: B to E on staff) cautious; resistant to change

Mother's Younger Brother: (supporting) Anglo-American male. 20-25+ (tenor/baritone with strong top range: B to high F#) passionate anarchist; intense and high-strung Young Boy: (supporting) Anglo-American male. 8-12 (juvenile voice; range: E to Db on staff) precocious and curious

Tateh: (lead) Eastern European/Jewish Immigrant male. 30+, slight accent (tenor; range: Db to high F#) intelligent, passionate, creative Emma Goldman (cameo - historical): Eastern European/Jewish Immigrant female/Anarchist. 40+, slight accent. (alto, range: low G# to Db on staff)

Harry Houdini (cameo - historical): Hungarian Immigrant male/Magician/bodybuilder. 30+ (tenor; range: mid. C to high G) Evelyn Nesbit (cameo - historical): Anglo-American female. Vaudevillian performer. 18-25 (belter/soprano, range: middle C to Db on staff) dancer preferred.

Young Girl (supporting) Tateh's daughter: Eastern European/Jewish Immigrant female. 8-12 (juvenile voice; range: E to Db on the staff) quiet and shy.

Sarah's Friend: (supporting) African-American female. Late teens - 30. (Gospel lyric- soprano or alto range: low G to stratosphere scat top note) Grandfather (cameo) (Mother's father): Anglo-American male. 55+ (some “speak sung" lyrics, baritone) gruff & outspoken.

Booker T. Washington (cameo - historical): African-American male, distinguished. 45+ (some "speak sung" lyrics, baritone)

Henry Ford (cameo - historical): Anglo-American male. 30-45 (some "speak sung" lyrics, baritone) JP Morgan (cameo - historical): Anglo-American male; banking mogul. 45+ (some "speak sung" lyrics, baritone)

Little Coalhouse: (cameo) Walk-on at end of show. African-American male (will consider females as well). Age 3-4 (no spoken lines or singing)

RAGTIME offers members of the three ensembles multiple opportunities to play a number of smaller parts with lines and some solos. Supporting roles include: Admiral Peary, Stanford White, Harry K. Thaw, Willie Conklin, Judge, train conductor, people of New Rochelle/Harlem/Union Square, Jewish immigrants, factory workers, demonstrators, newsboys, reporters, bureaucrats, Coalhouse's Men, and numerous other ensemble roles.

The RAGTIME Chorus must be one of the major stars of the show. The chorus is extremely involved and active throughout the show. The three distinct ensemble groups must each produce a full and balanced choral sound.

Published March 22, 2017

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