When I look back on the number of hours we all put into this show, it is unbelievable to me. I am in awe of the sheer quantity of tasks people had to complete, some seemingly minute and others on a much larger scale, to put this show together. I stopped by the costume shop one day for a few hours, and Kay had me working on the hems of some of the skirts-not actually hemming them, but sewing each hem down so none of the girls’ heels would not get caught in them. That kind of small act is something that I never would have thought necessary, and I know that there are myriad acts such as that that none of us as actors knew about, but that were essential to the show. For completing all of those tasks and making it possible for the cast to put on the show, I think we all owe the crew a tremendous thank you.
Having said that, I think everyone involved in this show would agree that the effort was well worth it. After hearing all the audience feedback, I don’t think anyone can deny that this show was a tremendous success. For me a huge part of the success stemmed from how real we made the show. Because we were constantly relating the show to our lives and to modern times, we never lost sight of the many ways Ragtime and its characters and events connected to our own lives. The reality of the show didn’t truly occur to me until our last performance, when we sang “Till We Reach That Day” for the last time. I realized I wasn’t feigning sadness at Sarah’s death, nor was I really acting. Just seeing Martavius grieve over Dominique, watching Kyler mourn her loss, and seeing the horror on the faces of everyone else onstage was enough to make me feel genuine devastation. There were so many instances like that over the course of the show when I no longer felt like I was acting and making conscious choices about what an immigrant or a New Rochelle woman would do, but when instead I was moved by the rest of the cast and their actions to feel genuine emotion and act on it. I can’t say that is an experience I have ever had in previous shows, and I think it is a testament to the outstanding job everyone did both on and offstage.
This entire show was such a surreal experience and I feel so lucky to have been a part of it. Thinking back to that very first class, when I knew exactly two people in the cast and wondered if I would ever be able to find a place in such a large group of people, I am amazed at how far we have all come. Though the lights have come down on our show for the last time, Ragtime has been an experience that I and (I hope) this campus will not forget.