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Ragtime on Ellis Island to Hold Sound Workshop in March

The creative team behind the 2016 site-specific concert production of the musical will experiment with new in-ear monitoring technology.

Brandon Victor Dixon, left, and Brian Stokes Mitchell during the concert performance of Ragtime in the Registry Room on Ellis Island in 2016.
(© Jeremy Daniel)

The creative team behind the 2016 concert performance of Ragtime in the Registry Room on Ellis Island will hold a sound workshop in March to explore the potential use of in-ear monitoring technology for a fully realized future site-specific production of the musical.

With the aid of sound designer Nick Tipp, director Sammi Cannold and the rest of the creative team will, through the workshop, explore a method of live performance in which the singers, musicians, and sound effects are live-mixed into wireless headphones worn by each audience member.

"The process of creating our concert in 2016 inspired us to dig deeper to find new ways to experience Ragtime on Ellis Island," said Cannold in a statement. "In assessing the acoustic and spatial dynamics of the historic Ellis Island Registry Room, we're exploring an approach to sound design that would allow for the best possible sonic experience in the space and, more importantly, will unlock some rather exciting aesthetic possibilities. While the workshop is of course focused on material from Ragtime, our team is also excited by the potential applications of this approach to other site-specific musicals in locations where it's impossible to use traditional sound systems."

The production is accepting donations for the workshop here.

The creative team includes Madeline Smith (music direction) and Emily Maltby (choreography). The workshop will be produced by Sarah Flamm and Jessica Kahkoska, with casting by Ally Kiley of Telsey and Company. The team also includes associate director Allyson Tucker, associate choreographer Annelise Baker, and assistant director Lindsey Ruggles.

Casting for the workshop has yet to be announced. The cast for the 2016 concert featured Brian Stokes Mitchell, Laura Michelle Kelly, Brandon Victor Dixon, Michael Park, Shaina Taub, Andy Mientus, Aisha Jackson, and Robert Petkoff.

With music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and a book by Terrence McNally, Ragtime follows three families in pursuit of the American dream at the start of the 20th century. Based on the novel by E. L. Doctorow, the show first opened on Broadway in 1998.

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