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Release: Jan. 19, 2001

Auditions will select local children to portray little Coalhouse Walker in 'Ragtime' at Hancher

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Auditions will be held Monday, Jan. 29 to select two local children to portray the son of Coalhouse Walker in the touring production of "Ragtime" during the show’s Jan. 30 through Feb. 4 run in the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium. The auditions will be at 5:30 p.m. in the Hancher lobby.

Coalhouse Walker, the black pianist who dreams of equality for his family, is one of the main characters in the award-winning Broadway musical, based on E.L. Doctorow’s epic of the American dream at the turn of the 20th century.

Coalhouse’s child appears in the finale of the show. Two local children will be selected to share that role. It is a non-speaking role, but the young actors will be paid.

The production will audition African-American boys, aged 4-6 and no more than 40 inches in height. Each child must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and must arrive with a current snapshot and a note outlining contact information, age, height and experience.

Parents interested in having their sons audition should call Tim Meier at Hancher, (319) 335-1130.

In addition to four 1997-98 Tony Awards, the Broadway production of "Ragtime" captured five Drama Desk Awards including "Outstanding Musical" and two Outer Critics Circle Awards including "Outstanding Broadway Musical."

"Ragtime," the musical of a new century, is the story of three dreamers -- an African-American who dreams of a life of equality for his family, a Jewish immigrant who dreams of prosperity in a new country, and a wife who dreams to move beyond the confines of her structured existence.

In story and song, "Ragtime" intertwines the adventures of these fictional characters with prominent historical figures including Emma Goldman, Henry Ford, J.P. Morgan, Harry Houdini, Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, Admiral Robert Peary and Booker T. Washington.

Corporate sponsors of "Ragtime" are KHAK-FM/KDAT-FM/KRNA-FM through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets for "Ragtime" are now on sale at the Hancher box office, (319) 335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER.

For UI arts information, visit this new address -- -- on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <>. Learn about "Ragtime" at <>.