Ragtime is a musical based on E.L.Doctoro’s epic novel centered around social issues in early 20th century America. This sprawling production was the musical’s much anticipated Australian premier, and also marked the final show to be produced by The Production Company.
The many costumes for this vast production were steeped in naturalism and encompassed the period in New York’s history spanning the dawn of the new century, leading up to outbreak of the First World War. I used costume to create distinct looks for the three main groups of characters in the script.
The crisp, clean, cream and white linens and laces delineated the wealthy and privileged New Rochelle industrialists. These characters were adorned in elegant Edwardian tea gowns topped with deliciously trimmed picture hats, with the men in crisp summer pinstripe linens and fine wool suits.
This contrasted with the dapper and soigné African American musicians of Harlem. In their deep reds, rich pinks & purples and vibrant blues, with bold stripes, dynamic prints and the visual eclecticism of mixing pattern with pattern.
The European immigrants, seemingly dressed in rags, were treated in a vast palate of greys and browns. Their costuming equally complex in in its layering of textures and art finished fabrics, to tell the story of displaced people of various origins, fleeing the old world, surviving the long journey, and arriving in this new foreign land of opportunity at the start of a new modern century.
BEHIND THE SEAMS
Book by Terrance McNally
Music by Stephen Flaherty
Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Based on the 1975 novel Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow
The State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne
The Production Company 2019
PETER GRUBB, KELVIN GEDYE and JOHN SCANDRETT – SYSTEM SOUND
THE PRODUCTION COMPANY ORCHESTRA