I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the fact that Ragtime is over. Luckily I’ve been keeping busy – I’m currently directing a show for the musical theater class (shameless plug: next Monday in Reynolds), so I haven’t had much free time to do any super-serious reflection.
Normally at this point after a show is over, I would put it on my list of things to not talk about. I would remove every Ragtime song from my iPod, glare at anyone who made reference to it, and generally just not want to think about it for another couple of months. In fact, it’s been about a year since Aida and I still can’t listen to the music. I only recently started listening to Company again. But today “Wheels of a Dream” came on (thanks to shuffle), and I didn’t skip it. I sang along. I enjoyed it.
Which caused a kind of cognitive dissonance I wasn’t really prepared to handle on so little sleep. Did I like Ragtime more than the other shows I’ve been involved with? That can’t be it. Ahrens and Flaherty did a pretty good job, but my heart belongs to Sondheim. If I spent five months not listening to my favorite musical, I doubt that the quality of Ragtime was what kept me from hitting the ‘next’ button.
I think that one possibility was I wasn’t in a lot of the songs, so maybe I just didn’t get as much exposure to them. But I think the main thing is that I didn’t get sick of performing it. Even on the second Saturday, when before the two performances I took a two hour long German test, I wasn’t tired of it. I looked forward to doing the show every day, and in many ways I miss it. Let’s not kid ourselves, I mostly miss those glasses.
All joking aside, though, I loved the opportunity to play Emma. I loved being her for three hours a day. I loved that people who came to see the show saw me as being like her, because she is truly an incredible woman. The thing that I had in Ragtime that I didn’t have in any other show I’ve done was a complete and utter admiration of and love for my character. I would play her again in a heartbeat, and that’s something that’s never been true before.
I guess one of the most important things I learned in Ragtime was that it’s great if you can live your character, but it’s even better if you can love them. I loved Emma, and it made the show so much more rewarding. And besides that, I don’t have to blacklist Ragtime on my iTunes.
PS – I miss you guys like crazy.