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Shavance Stephens Connecticut High School Musical Theatre Awards Stratford, CT

What is the most difficult role you’ve played?

I have never played a role more complex, both emotionally and socially challenging as Coalhouse Walker Jr. in Ragtime. It seemed that there was no one right way to play Coalhouse, but many wrong ways. It was a process. We first meet Coalhouse as a man going after the American dream: a gifted piano player, the owner of a model T, and the father of a beautiful baby boy. He was transformed into a tormented, angry and violent man after his justice had been denied, and his soon-to-be bride was brutally taken from him. Playing the happy-go-lucky Coalhouse was easy for me, because I’m a happy person. I enjoyed being the gregarious, life-of-the-party piano player. It was much harder creating the powerful and upset character he became… I had to dig deep into my own feelings to get the right edge.

Special Skills

Strong tenor, ballet, tap, improvisation, computer skills, building sets, painting, lighting design, stage management, teaching parts, play piano by ear, sightread music, hair/make-up

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