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Ragtime Forum


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Read the Novel 
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Post Read the Novel
I just picked up the novel at a used bookstore and read the whole thing in one day. I've never seen the show or been in it but have the highlights CD. It was interesting to see some of the lines in songs were taken strait from the novel. Some of the opening Narration is strait from the book too ("In 1902, Father built a house... etc.)
The major differences are that Sarah and Evelyn have much bigger roles in the musical. Sarah hardly speaks at all in the novel, maybe once or twice. Evelyn is in the beginning of the book, but is hardly mentioned after that. Mother's presence seems smaller in the book too. Houdini and Younger Brother seem to have a larger 'part' in the novel.
It was an interesting read; a must, I think, for anyone in the show.

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Sat Dec 30, 2006 7:57 pm
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I agree, an interesting read. I read the book this summer and really enjoyed it. Then I found out that my school was doing it! Our director almost discouraged us from reading the book because she was afraid kids would complain to their parents about the more graphic scenes and the parents would cause a lot of trouble, not knowing that those scenes were not in the show. I read the book and, playing Mother at my school, have really drawn form some of the characterization clues in the book. I would say to read the book with an open mind, knowing that the show is pretty different is some ways.

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Sun Dec 31, 2006 10:24 am
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Young Hoofer
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The novel does have its iffy scenes. But I love it, it's a great book- we read it in my english class way before we decided to so it for a show in performing. I think that it should be read if you're going to be in the show, 'cause it provides some elaboration on some characters. (Though yeah, people like Evelyn have less to do- or, well, they have importance in different parts of the story.)


Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:00 pm
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Tony Winner
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Tateh isn't such the nice guy in the novel that he is in the show.


Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:58 pm
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for those who have seen the film..James Cagney played the large role of a detective...this role isnt in the Musical. is it in the novel?

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Mon Jan 08, 2007 9:34 am
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I just got the book last night and I'm having a hard time putting it down.

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Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:32 pm
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Young Hoofer
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Yea i agree with all of you! I just read Ragtime actually a month ago, and i loved it, even though its a little different than the musical.

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Tue May 15, 2007 5:12 pm
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Speaking of the book, did anyone take the AP English Lit test this past week? On the final essay, they give you a prompt and you have to apply it to a book that you've read. They give you a list of recommended books too. Guess what was on the list! My high school did Ragtime this year and I read the book, so it was perfect! I did a whole essay about how Mother was "haunted" by the past and a stereotype of a meek, mild woman when she was trying to break out and be independant. It was really good! (I hope! :wink:)

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Tue May 15, 2007 7:40 pm
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We were watching a documentary in history class and it included excerpts from Ragtime and it made me really want to read the book.


Tue May 15, 2007 7:45 pm
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Okay, I just finished the book...It was SO GOOD! I loved it.

And Salome, it's been a while since I saw the movie. Did Cagney play the cheif of police, or is that a total different person?


Thu Jun 07, 2007 8:23 pm
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Fresh Face
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For any one doing the show or thinking about doing it,you NEED to read the book.
I played "Henry Ford" and was able to pick up a wealth of info on the guy and it improved my character interaction with JP Morgan and in the song


Wed May 28, 2008 12:12 am
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Post Re: Read the Novel
Novel vs. Show vs. Movie: they are so completely different.
I feel that Evelyn has a much larger role in the Movie and Novel, and is in 5 numbers (I believe) in the musical.
I feel like Mother's character is so much more...hmm. Can't think of the word, just, realistic i guess in the musical. She's truly a woman who's finally trusting herself.
Anyways, love the Musical, really enjoyed the novel (I read it to prepare for my audition). I started watching the movie but I never got a chance to finish!

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