Sunday, June 13, 2004

Speaking of the book

As Paul ('Tateh') pointed out to me when we were discussing Terence McNally for the previous entry, the musical "Ragtime" is very faithful to E.L. Doctorow's novel, with much of the dialog and even lyrics directly lifted from it.

I had never read the book when it was originally a best seller, but after seeing the musical in NY back in 1998 I bought the book at the airport book store before boarding to come home. I read it in one sitting on that 5 hour flight, and then passed it on to the traveler in the next chair over.

It's actually a habit of mine to read books after after seeing the movie, because I know adaptations can rarely live up to your imagination! Take the recent musical adaptation of "Wicked" as an example. "Wicked" is one of my favorite books of all time. About 10 minutes into the musical, I just had to tell myself to let go. This wasn't the story of the book...not even close, but it was enjoyable in its own way.

"Ragtime" won't require that kind of attitude adjustment. While there is some slight softening of some of the harshest elements of the novel, it is mostly a spot on translation of both the events and the environment of the novel.

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