Thursday, August 05, 2004

A "Ragtime" Exchange Program

Harlem ensemble member Wendell Wilson share the following story:

"A group of Ragtime cast members, Julie Valentine (Sarah), Ray Renati (J P Morgan), Annette Stenger (New Rochelle Ensemble), Robyn Winslow (Immigrant Ensemble) and Wendell Wilson (Harlem Ensemble), visited the exchange students at Stanford University. 

This group of students is learning about our show in preperation to come see it this Friday. They're learning the story, and the songs as well. First we told them about the parts each of us play in the show, and the effects that we have on the story.  Then we led them through some of the physical, mental and vocal warm-ups that we do before each show. We performed several of the numbers that we do in the show: "Crime of the Century", "Getting Ready Rag", and "Henry Ford." 

The exchange students also performed several numbers for us: "Crime of the Century", "What A Game", and "Buffalo Nickel Photoplay Inc." They did a great job!  Everyone had a great time. 

The highlight for me was singing "Sarah Brown Eyes", a duet, with Julie Valentine.  This is the Coalhouse/Sarah flashback duet that takes place in Coalhouses' mind after she is killed.

"Ragtime" says so much about the immigrant experience that I'm sure students in this country on a foreign exchange will really appreciate it. And it's great that the cast was willing to take a little of their time off (now that they've opened and finally have some) and make this 'field trip'!

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