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Ragtime and the N-Word

Although I had read the text, libretto, and seen Ragtime rehearsal previous to the production opening, I was not offended by the usage of the term”nigger” until I saw the production live. After the show, I found myself wondering why I had such a visceral reaction to Michael Oliver’s portrayal of Willie Conklin. Despite having some historical […]


Images for Ragtime opening number

As we’ve learned in rehearsal, there’s a lot to tackle in Ragtime’s multi-part numbers. I thought it might be helpful to give you all some portraits of the various groups and sub-groups introduced in the Opening: incoming Immigrants from multiple countries, New Rochelle residents, Harlem and its residents (though I will admit that Harlem photography […]


Character Bio — Harry Houdini

He made his mother proud. But for all his achievements, he knew he was only an illusionist. –Houdini, Opening number Ragtime: The Musical. As we discussed in class on Tuesday Feb. 15th, Houdini is one of the many historical characters whose arc is truncated in McNally’s adaptation of Doctorow’s novel. In the musical, Houdini provides […]