Friday, June 25, 2004


In theatre there's such a thing as "type." An actor gets pretty used to hearing "you're not the right type" or "I'm looking for a different type" or "someday there will be an 'Elisa-type'."

Seriously I heard that last one! Of course it was from a director telling me he wasn't casting me in something, so you can consider that just so much smoke being blown up my audition dress.

Anyway, actors often fantasize about being able to shed their type and just play a great role. When I did cabaret I sang A LOT of songs that are performed in shows by male characters. And I'm sure some of Coalhouse and Sarah's songs in "Ragtime" are audition or concert staples for white singers.

In fact ensemble member Carly admits to having sung some of Sarah's material in various settings already!

So, I posed another question to the cast: if you could play any role in "Ragtime", unhindered by your race, gender or "type", what would it be?

Frankly I expected everyone to pick the same one, maybe two roles. People winning Tonys tends to get attention after all.

But the responses were spread amongst many of the roles, and for a variety of fascinating reasons. Here's a sampling:

From Ruthe (who wants to be a guy in her next life to tackle all those great male roles): I LOVE Tateh and would love to play that part. That character is precious-beyond-belief! And oh the many layers to peel back and expose.

From Doug (our most prolific Foothill performer): If I were to cross the gender line (yikes!), I would choose Mother because her character finds the most growth and awakens to a whole new existence in the course of the show. That role would provide the most opportunity to stretch as an actor.

From Andrew (our Little [& white] Boy): If i could play another role in the show, I would definetely choose Coalhouse, because his role is so deep, and he gets to sing some great songs.

And Steve says: I would love to play Sarah. Her storyline is so poignant, and the songs that she sings are absolutely spectacular!  Of course, I'd also like to play Bloody Mary someday, too, but we all know that that's not going to happen (well, we can hope, can't we)!

That's actors for you, somewhere inside always hoping to play the role they will never be cast in!

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