Those who know me know that I’m an easy crier. However, in my opinion it is an impressive feat that even after I had seen “Til We Reach That Day” upwards of twenty times, it made me weep right through the closing performance. It is partially because of the phenomenal musical and vocal prowess that the pit and cast demonstrate in this Act 1 Finale; it is partially because of the pride (and, if I’m being honest, the little bit of envy) that I feel while watching some of my very best friends on stage. Mostly, though, I think it’s because of the honest emotion that I saw on the faces of the cast every single rehearsal and performance. After a while I took to watching the number from different angles so I could see a new group of faces. The authenticity of the cast’s feelings took away the possibility of the song seeming old or repetitive.
At the final Ragtime class last night, multiple people mentioned the show in relation to our own lives, both in the sense that people began to live their characters and their stories more personally and in the sense that our relationship as a cast and crew began to reflect the lessons taught by Ragtime as we moved through the process. It is this sincerity, this deep connection between fiction and reality, that I believe made the show so successful. We love Dominique, so it is easy for us to mourn her cruel and abrupt death. We adore Horatio, so of course we promise to raise him and nurture him during the epilogue. The fact that this show experience has been so honest and heartfelt is one of the reasons that it is so hard to say goodbye to it. We’ve devoted our semester to this project and we’ve grown together as a result. And while I can be depended upon to cry at every performance, I know that I was not the only one who wept on closing day.