It didn’t quite hit me that it was all over until I was watching the set being taken down after the final performance. Years of planning, researching, and designing, and months of practice and publicity went into this production yet it was over in two weekends—two highly successful weekends, might I add. In the midst of the photoshoots, outreach, and ordering of Ragtime gear, I don’t think I really got a chance to appreciate the impact the performance had on not only myself but on the cast, crew, and the audience that attended until I began hearing feedback recently.
In the week before the show the Ragtime buzz could be heard for miles on campus. I felt like I should have begun a tally of how many times I heard the word “excited” being thrown around regarding attending the show. Even friends and acquaintances of mine who aren’t normally theater performance-goers were enthused about seeing the production.
I think it wasn’t until opening night that it really hit me—this show is going to be extremely successful. And by successful I don’t mean how much money we might raise or how many people we get to attend but by how well the show is able to communicate a message, a concept to a wide array of individuals. Ragtime may not have been a show that most people are familiar with but it carries stories behind it that can relate to those of our society today, especially a Duke population.
Beginning at the opening night party—which was also a huge hit—I heard many different people say how much the show touched them and really spoke to them. Ragtime was able to transcend beyond being simply entertaining and instead was able to initiate deeper thought and connection with members of the audience. That a show was able to do this is impressive because success like this relies on the close cooperation of everyone involved—from actors to directors, to orchestra members to the technical crew, from producers to the marketing team, and that’s not including everyone. But despite the challenge, I think I can safely say to everyone involved: It was a great show. We did it.