Saturday, June 19, 2004

A Little Research Rivalry?

As "Ragtime" is based on a novel, and one with many historical references, there is ample opportunity for the cast members to further research their roles. And a little bird told me that some cast members are giving certain other cast members a slight research inferiority complex.

I've heard from many of the cast who are reading the novel. Some for the first time; some as a re-read after numerous years. While the musical is incredibly faithful to the novel, the novel definitely features some stronger sexual content than the musical. (Which may be why Andrew, one of our two 'Little Boy's told me: "I am not doing any research specifically. I don't think I am old enough to read the novel.")

Wise choice, Andrew. I read "Portnoy's Complaint" when I was way too young, and it scarred me for life!

Some of the folks playing historical characters, like Ray Renati [JP Morgan] and Cath Sheldon [Emma Goldman] are reading historical books on their characters, in addition to reading the novel. Cath has actually been visiting modern-day anarchist web sites that provide lots of info about Emma, but make her a little nervous that "if anyone at HP was watching my surfing habits I could get reported!"

But Paul [Tateh] has more practical concerns. He has to mime weaving at a loom, and no one seems really sure what that would look like. That's the research he's worrying about right now!

All of this just proves that there is always so much more to it than meets the eye any time you go to the theatre.

I can't say that I have outdone others in the cast in the way of research, but I have chosen some alternative resources in which to reference. I have just finished reading the novel "Ragtime" by E.L. Doctorow, but before I read the book I felt that I needed to get inside the mind of the author to understand where he was coming from. Just after I had auditioned for Ragtime, I purchased a magazine with an article written by none other than E.L. Doctorow. The interesting thing is ... this was a Playboy magazine. So now I may be the first guy to honestly say, "I get Playboy for the articles." There was a good article on Rachael Hunter too!
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