Throughout high school, I always regretted not participating in the spring musicals – too busy studying for the SAT’s, getting ready for science competitions, and whatnot. But here I am, part of the pit in one of the most intense and thematically deep musicals I have ever seen. Who would have ever thought I would be playing in Ragtime, here at Duke of all places?
Now that show time is drawing near, and rehearsals have become a routine part of my Sunday afternoons, I’ve got to say that after watching both the pit and cast rehearse (As one of two second keyboardists for the pit, I’d have to say I do a lot of watching), I am really excited for the time when the pit and the cast come together for joint rehearsals. Before that time comes, however, I believe that I can speak for the pit when I say that we still have a lot of work to do. First and foremost, our priority in the coming weeks is to recruit any missing instrumentation – cellos especially – because without a full pit, we won’t have a full enough sound to support the cast. We also have to practice, practice, practice much more not only to make rehearsals run smoothly, but become familiar enough with the music as to fulfill any tweaks and requests the producer makes for the show. Nevertheless, I believe that we’re starting to sound pretty good, especially during our first rehearsal with the show pianist this past Sunday, where we got a peek at how we’ll really sound come opening day.
On another note, I recently watched the film adaption of Ragtime, and thought it was a great parallel to the musical that we are working to put on. While some of the scenes played out, I could definitely link them to some of the pieces we were rehearsing, such as “Till We Reach that Day” while Sarah lay dying after being brutally beaten. While there were some somber moments, there were also some lighter ones, especially when we identified gang member #2 as Samuel L. Jackson and Tateh made the Borat-esque quip, “Very Niiice!”
Through watching the movie, attending the Ragtime production class, and rehearsing, Ragtime has become a central part of this semester for me, a semester that is sure to go out with a bang!