Though I’ve stage managed musicals at Duke before, I have never been involved in a show this large. Every week I am impressed with how hard everyone is working to make this amazing piece of theater a success. Having four different rehearsal spaces on three different campuses and dealing with the schedules of 41 cast members has certainly been a challenge. I think I learn new ways to do my job every week.
The last Tuesday night we met for class got me thinking about some of my personal connections to Ragtime. Before we started work on Ragtime, my only knowledge of New Rochelle was as the NYC suburb that my mom’s closest friend and her family live in. The events of the show made me realize how interesting in is that Carol, my mom’s friend, is black and her husband, John, is white. Obviously their relationship would not even have been allowed to exist in the early 20th century, especially in a neighborhood like New Rochelle.
Both my mother’s parents are immigrants who came to the US after World War Two. My grandmother came from Germany with only a suitcase. My grandfather was originally from Vienna, Austria, but spent most of the war in the Jewish ghetto in Budapest. Neither of them ever talked about the passage over, and my grandfather, Otto, barely spoke about his experiences during the war, even to his wife. Blocking the scenes in which the immigrants first come to America made me think about my family in a similar situation more than sixty years ago.