[email protected]

After the Mean Girls thread, I recalled that recently I was asked to
write a parent's advisory for local dance parents, about an upcoming production
of the Broadway smash musical "Ragtime." We were considering whether to adopt
one performance as a fundraiser we'd all bring our families to (with children
of different ages.) So parents needed insight not only for their personal
decisions, but for the group decision as to whether the show lends itself to
being a family fundraiser.

I too highlighted some bits and pieces, but imo in the opposite spirit
of the Mean Girls advisory. FWIW, here it is:

Ragtime is one of my very favorite shows. Please keep in mind as you read
the following that I personally LOVE this show and can barely sit still and
not dance in my seat and sing all the parts. I plan to see the TALC production
several times if possible.

When the Broadway touring company of Ragtime was here last year, (name
of theatre mentor) consulted with me about whether Dear Daughter 14 could
handle it, and I decided to risk it. I am not sorry I did -- we talked about it
for days, bought the cast recording, and since then literally memorized it--
but I'd have to say she doesn't make a good barometer for what might appeal to
the average teen in literary, political, or cultural terms. (She's also read
the Doctorow novel that Ragtime was based on, which is even darker than the
show. She also worked on Jeckyl and Hyde, which had a few scenes almost too
graphic for me!) Dear Son 8 knows the score and we've been working for months to
prepare him to understand the show, but I'm not sure he's ready even now for the
emotional impact of it onstage.

So I offer the following guide to help company parents consider
whether this show would suit their own children and families, trying not to give too
much away and also not trying to discourage you at all, just to give you a

A Company Parent's No-Holes-Barred Advisory on Ragtime:

This is a powerful, uplifting and broadly relevant social drama from the
early 1900s about difficult political themes such as race, sex and class,
punctuated by historical figures of the period from Henry Ford to Harry Houdini to
Booker T. Washington. It takes historical and moral knowledge, life experience
and a certain tolerance for ambiguity to appreciate. One sympathetic main
character dies a violent death and is mourned (this is essential to the storyline
but also in my opinion very upsetting, even to adults.) A baby is born out of
wedlock and his desperate mother abandons him to die. Among the minor characters
are racists who use the *n* word several times while thoroughly humiliating a
black couple, a European union organizer inciting workers to riot against
their oppressors, a scantily clad vaudeville singer plying her looks and sex to
inflame men to murderous passions, a young girl whose mother has died, and a
wealthy young man with every advantage who basically becomes a suicide bomber.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]