In 2014 I had the distinct privilege of directing 85 performers of all ages, races, backgrounds and abilities in Ragtime. That experience remains one of the most compelling and moving experiences of my lifetime. This powerful musical served to inspire and unite each member of our cast and crew with the deepest spirit of mutual respect and awe for the beauty that every single individual, regardless of race, color or creed brought to that production.
Set in the early 1900s, Ragtime portrays an America that is ripe with change. It was a time of great confidence, and a time of turmoil. The melting pot of American people were waking up and discovering that they had rights and dreams and beliefs that they wanted to fulfill. Passionate people, with limitless ideas, were standing up, shouting out and getting noticed. The concept of “The American Dream” - that everyone, regardless of race, gender, or age has the opportunity for success and prosperity… was guiding society at this critical period of our history.
Fast forward to 2020… a year marked by massive change, racial tensions, political upheaval, and uncertainty. We are discovering that many of the issues facing America at the turn of the century are still, shockingly, alive and well. We are realizing that in our search for equality, we have overlooked the beauty of diversity. We are beginning to understand that we are not all created equal, but gloriously different, with a myriad of incredible gifts that we are able to share with each other. The message of Ragtime may be more important now than ever before, as our young people search for ways to become vehicles of change.
It was the music of something beginning
An era exploding, a century spinning
In riches and rags, and in rhythm and rhyme…
The people call it RAGTIME.
This KidsAlive! Production of Ragtime will be a fully costumed, ticketed, virtual performance without an audience. 4 performances will be streamed over the weekend of May 14-16.
While no digital performance can replace the magic of the performer/audience connection in live theatre, we feel strongly that a streamed performance is the safest option right now for a performance of this magnitude. We are confident that we will be able to create a performance that will bring to life the characters and message of Ragtime, bringing change and hope to a complex world.
This production will follow the rehearsal/performance model we created with our recent online JTF Extravaganza production of Mary Poppins, Jr. During the months of November and December, we rehearsed and filmed that project in downtown OKC, and discovered that singing and dancing our way through the streets of OKC was a very effective and exhilarating way to create our beloved musical theatre. For safety, we will be sharing materials electronically and have some rehearsals via Zoom. In person rehearsals will be held outdoors when the weather allows, and indoors in our Capitol Hill Studios when Covid allows. Please see our Covid Policies HERE. Our students will have a big responsibility to learn choreography and vocal material at home under the guidance of our creative team. While we expect the bulk of our filming will take place outside in small groups or with the entire cast, some parts of the show may be recorded individually in your own homes, or together in larger indoor spaces. All gatherings will follow CDC recommended guidelines to enhance the safety of our students and their families.
The KidsAlive! production of Ragtime, School Edition is designed for our most experienced students and will have a cast size of 30. The cast will be primarily teens ages 13-18. A limited number of younger performers ages 7-12 will be cast. Students must be self-motivated, and willing and able to learn material at home through an online platform in addition to in person rehearsals.
Everyone will be cast on an audition basis. We will be searching for performers of all ethnicities, with strong vocal skills and a heartfelt desire to tell this powerful story with authenticity and passion. Ragtime addresses some very difficult issues, and its book includes racial slurs and painful situations that are integral to the story. We will not back away from the harsh realities of turn of the century America, for it is our belief that by coming face to face with these issues, we have a clearer picture of the road we need to travel.
By auditioning, you are agreeing that, if selected, you will participate in the KidsAlive! production of Ragtime and will accept any role. Rehearsals begin shortly after the cast list goes out. We will not have the time to recast. Your commitment is critical to the success of this production.
For those that do not meet the requirements for Ragtime, we invite you to participate in our fall production of Seussical, Jr. Details can be found HERE.
Due to the current situation with coronavirus, all auditions will be submitted electronically. Auditions will consist of filmed vocal auditions. Audition may be sent any time and must be received no later than January 11 at 10pm. We will review these auditions as they come in, and get callback material as soon as possible. The earlier you can send in your auditions, the better.
Video Auditions Requirements
Submit two contrasting 16 bar cuts from the musical theatre genre (an uptempo selection and a ballad.)
DO NOT sing from the show. Please select pieces that you are familiar with, and that showcase your personality and strengths. If you do not have two pieces prepared in your audition repertoire, you may submit only one piece, but keep in mind that having two contrasting audition cuts give us more of a chance to see you at your best!
Submit a Headshot and Resume with your video audition.
Callbacks: All performers will be notified of their callback status by Tuesday, January 12. The sooner you submit your initial audition, the sooner you will receive your callback results.
Performers receiving a callback will be asked to prepare additional material, which may include vocal selections and readings from the show.
All callback materials must be recorded and returned by email by Thursday, January 14 at 10 pm. You do not have to receive a callback to be cast.
The cast list will be emailed by Saturday, January 16 at 10 pm.
Casting is always a complicated process, like putting together a challenging puzzle, and we work hard to ensure that every piece of the puzzle fits smoothly and cohesively to create a beautiful picture. We appreciate your willingness to share your hearts with us, our students, and our audiences.
Video Auditions Requirements
All emailed video auditions must be received between now and Monday, January 11 at 10pm.
Please avoid waiting until the deadline to record/send your audition. The sooner we have your material, the more time we will have to consider your abilities completely.
Every submitted audition must include:
Vocal recording (submit via link and email to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Headshot (Does not have to be a professional photo. Any clear picture of your child’s smiling face will work)
Resume (Does not have to be a professional resume but we do need to understand your child’s experience
Email email@example.com a list of conflicts with the rehearsal schedule (including weekends you might be out of town or involved with other activities.) Sat/Sun afternoon filming sessions will begin in February and continue through the end of April. There will be NO Saturday or Sunday filming March 12/14, March 20/21 or April 13,14, nor will we necessarily film every weekend. Everyone will not be called to every filming session, so any information you can give us regarding your child’s availability will help us schedule accordingly.
Professional video equipment not needed. A clean video from your phone will work.
Please check the sound quality of your video. Directors must assume you sound like you do on your video.
Please state your name and age as if you were present in front of the directors.
Please do not read sheet music for your audition or use note cards or cue cards.
Videos can be combined into one or sent separately.
Video auditions must be emailed as a link to YouTube, Vimeo, Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, or similar format.
Email your audition link to firstname.lastname@example.org
Any technical difficulties or inability to play the video is not the responsibility of KidsAlive! but we are willing to help troubleshoot. Contact Chad Haney at email@example.com for assistance
Rehearsals, both online and in person, will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30. Rehearsals will begin Tuesday, January 19. Filming for this production will take place on various Saturday and/or Sunday afternoons throughout the 4 month rehearsal period. We expect all students to be at all scheduled rehearsals unless prior arrangements are made with the director.
A detailed rehearsal schedule, including filming dates on Saturdays/Sundays, will be given to you during the first week of rehearsals. Multiple absences or undisclosed conflicts will affect your child's ability to participate in the production, so please check with us prior to auditions if you have ANY known conflicts with the proposed schedule.
The TOTAL COST of the Ragtime production class is $475.
$25 of this is a once-per semester registration fee which helps us cover the cost of services which allow families to pay online, receive reminders, etc. (The registration fee for a family with more than one child is $35 per family.) This fee will not be duplicated if your student also desires to participate in other spring programming such as weekly classes, or our production of Eurydice.
Tuition for the class is $450.
Complete tuition should be paid in full by the first rehearsal on January 19. If you need to make payment arrangements please contact Shawna Linck at Shawna@kidsaliveokc.org
January 19 through May 13
Tues, Thursday - 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Filming some Saturday and/or Sunday afternoons.
NO REHEARSAL the week of March 16 for Spring break
Not every performer is called to every rehearsal
This pandemic has definitely thrust us into new and uncharted territory, and we used our recent JTF Online experience to develop rehearsal processes that will allow us to keep our students and families as safe as possible during the Covid Crisis. We found these procedures, while different, to allow us and our students to continue to create beautiful artistic connections. We will be using a combination of online rehearsal techniques, as well as in person rehearsals. All in person rehearsals will be masked and socially distanced. Our Covid policies limit groups of 10 or more from meeting inside unless Oklahoma County is functioning in a Yellow or low risk zone. Thus, many in person rehearsals will take place outside, weather permitting. Please contact Shawna with any questions you have regarding rehearsal procedures.
4 Streamed performances will be released May 14-16. More information TBA.
The spring production of Ragtime is not part of our Kaleidoscope program. We welcome performers of all abilities who can work independently. Performers with Special Needs (Gems) including Gems over 18 who are Alumni of our Kaleidoscope program will be considered for integration in our spring production of Seussical Jr. Details about that production can be found HERE.
We believe that a clear understanding of our policies is beneficial to both our program and it's participants. We ask that you carefully read and take note of these policies prior to participating in KidsAlive! programming. You will be asked to acknowledge receipt of and acceptance of these policies prior to auditions. You will find a copy of our KidsAlive! policy statement HERE. Please also review our Covid Policies and Procedures to be found HERE.
THE CAST OF RAGTIME
Coalhouse Walker, Jr. - male (teen)
A proud and talented pianist. A black man who believes that he can take part in a new America and be treated fairly.
Sarah - female (teen)
Washwoman. Sarah is a young, beautiful black woman, filled with a strong will to live, and fueled by an innocent spirit. She falls deeply in love with Coalhouse after much resistance.
Mother - female (teen)
The consummate wife and mother. A kind woman with incredible moral fiber. Refined, intelligent, graceful and open-minded.
Father - male (teen)
Mother’s professionally successful husband. He fancies himself an amateur explorer, he is commanding and attractive. A traditionalist, he enjoys being the family breadwinner.
Younger Brother - male (teen)
Mother’s younger brother. He is an erratic and passionate soul, a firework waiting to be lit. He is influenced greatly by Goldman’s teachings, and has a mission to “be the change.”
Grandfather - male (teen)
Mother’s patrician father. He is a retired professor, and easily irritated by nearly everything.
Tateh - male (teen)
A Latvian immigrant. He wears the trials and tribulations of his past on his sleeve, but remains optimistic that he will be successful. Full of genuine drive and heart. He lives for his little daughter.
Little Girl - female (7 to 10)
Tateh’s daughter. A vulnerable child in a brand-new home, she has lost her mother and is guarded and shy. She clings to her father.
Booker T. Washington - male (teen)
A brilliant Black social activist. He is an eloquent and articulate gentleman with no patience for Black Americans leading less than exemplary lives.
Emma Goldman - female (teen)
A social activist. Originally from Russia, Emma is a leader, and a fearless advocate for the oppressed.
Evelyn Nesbit - female (teen)
A beautiful vaudeville performer. She was thrust into the limelight after a high profile murder of her lover, the entire world is her stage.
Harry Houdini - male (teen)
A famous magician, originally from Hungary, with notable physical ability. He stands as a symbol of “the American dream.”
Ensemble : All Genders, Ages 8 to 18
Three distinct ensembles carry the heart and soul of the message of this show. Supporting roles will be chosen during rehearsal including: 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 more. We will cast a limited number of experienced younger performers (ages 8 to 12) but most speaking roles will primarily be teens. All KidsAlive! Productions are Ensemble driven, so every performer will be expected to be active and involved regardless of role.