TMTP Artists Shine in Cain Park’s RAGTIME

It’s not unusual to see TMTP artists on local stages. Frequent Song Is You! performers like Eric Fancher and Treva Offutt are staples of the Cleveland theater community. But when FOUR of our Kids Love Musicals!teaching artists are in one production together — directed by TMTP Associate Director Joanna May Cullinanno less — that’s something to sing about!

During the school year, Mariah BurksBridie CarrollWill Sanborn and Darian Wilson can be found in classrooms teaching students to fly to Neverland and reminding them “there’s no place like home” through classic American musicals. But this month they are teaming up at Cain Park to share another story from the great white way, Ragtime.

Here’s what they each had to say about the show and how their teaching experience from Kids Love Musicals!impacts their work on stage.


Why should someone go see Ragtime?
It is a musical for right now! The show takes place in the early 1900s, but everything on stage is still in 2019.

How does your work with Kids Love Musicals! carry over to Ragtime?
KLM fosters a lot of conversation and encourages students to discover elements of songs or dialogue that apply to their personal lives. The rehearsal process for this show has had that same atmosphere of open dialogue among the actors to discuss the themes and parallels to their own experience.


What makes Ragtime personal to you?
Ragtime was actually the first show I ever saw on Broadway! My dad took me when I was 17 years old so I couldn’t comprehend at that age how truly powerful the story was, but all the same I was mesmerized. It has been a dream of mine to play the role of Mother since then and I’m so honored to have the opportunity 20 years later.

What’s it like working with your fellow Teaching Artists in a different setting?
What’s interesting about Ragtime is we are all in different groups within the cast, some telling the story as immigrants, some telling the story from an African American perspective…at TMTP we are all about diversity and inclusion so telling a story where that isn’t the reality has been a challenge.


What do you love about Ragtime?
First of all, it has a phenomenal score. And the story feels like it was ripped from today’s headlines so it’s very powerful.

How has your experience with Kids Love Musicals! helped your work on this production?
In KLM! we often have students sing and dance in a circle while the teaching artist stands in the center. It allows us to move around and share moments with each member of the class while also playing to the entire group. This production of Ragtime is staged in the round so it gives each audience member a unique vantage point and encourages us as actors to give each person a story that is all their own.


Why should someone go see Ragtime?
The story, the music, the dancing…it’s all so rich and beautiful! Ragtime is timeless because it reveals a lot of the darkness and hatred that we still face in America, but it gives us so much hope and light at the same time. It has the power to change lives.

How does your work with Kids Love Musicals! carry over to Ragtime?
They both demonstrate the power of play and the importance of imagination.