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Thursday, May 30
The Indiana Daily Student

arts

Meeting the stars of Ragtime

Cast not too aloof to spend time with fans

My dream finally came true.\nMy whole life, I've dreamt of standing at the stage door after a show and seeing the actors fresh off the stage from a performance. Tuesday night at "Ragtime," that dream was made possible.\nThrough interviewing Emily Herring, who played the role of Mother in the touring company of "Ragtime" that came to IU this past Tuesday and Wednesday, I received an invitation to come backstage after the show. I jumped at the chance -- who wouldn't? These actors are living out the dreams of thousands, if not millions, of people trying to see their names up in lights.\nAfter falling all over myself on the phone -- and finally regaining use of my vocal chords -- I said I would definitely be at that stage door.\nIt almost didn't happen. When I met with the house manager before the curtain rose, he didn't know if Herring could meet with me. I was told to come to the stage door after the show and see if she would be there.\nSo, at the end of the show, armed with my program in one hand and my camera in the other, a friend and I braved the cold night (despite the warm weather lately, wearing a sleeveless shirt wasn't the brightest idea), and joined other people waiting to meet the "stars."\nI couldn't believe I was standing at the stage door where I could see all of the actors fresh out of the performance. There was their tour bus, parked right in front of the door -- all truth be told, I had to fight off the temptation to jump on.\nAnd then the actors started to arrive.\nThick makeup still on their faces, the women's hair big and curly from being pin-curled under their wigs, looks of exhaustion from almost three hours of singing and satisfaction with a job well-done apparent in their eyes, they walked past me to their bus.\nSuddenly, I heard my name. "Jamie?" Someone asked. I turned around and saw Herring -- much younger than her character looked onstage, shorter too. My heart skipped a beat. I was finally living out my dream of meeting an actual star of a Broadway show (well, a touring company anyway). And whomever thinks stars are too busy for their fans is wrong -- Herring couldn't have been nicer. She shook my hand, talked to me for awhile, even complimented me on the article I'd written about her. I was in shock the whole time.\nUnfortunately, I couldn't go backstage, but my dreams are probably better than the reality of what it looks like anyway. I've done enough shows to know that the backstage consists of lots of flats, unorganized costumes and misplaced props. But I will never forget having the opportunity to meet a star of the cast of "Ragtime."\nIt was one of the best experiences of my life. Of course, I ran out of time to get a picture taken with Herring -- she only had about five minutes to talk to me before the tour bus was going to leave her standing in front of the Auditorium. And I forgot to bring a pen, so I couldn't get an autograph either. But I will cherish the memory of meeting one of "Ragtime's" stars for a long time to come -- her shaking my hand and thanking me for coming was better than any autograph.\nAs the song in "Ragtime" says, "We'll ride on the wheels of a dream." I definitely did that Tuesday night.

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