Fall Musical in the Making: So Much to B(RAG) About

By J1 Reporters Julia Crump and Megan Szwanek

Heartfelt. That is the word director Michael McCandless used to describe how he feels to be directing his first musical at Marian.

After last year’s play, “Cursing Mummies,” McCandless was ready to take his talent directing plays to music. He chose the musical “Rags” to make his debut.

Despite the title, “Rags” is NOT actually the story of a dirty dishcloth. It follows the journey of immigrants traveling from Europe and Russia as they try to start a new life in the slums of 1910 New York City. According to McCandless, “The title came from the appearance of the immigrants’ shabby clothing… By 1910, the name became firmly associated with immigrant people.”

“Rags” cast members listen intently to instructions from director Michael McCandless. Rehearsals are held in the PAC. Photo by Julia Crump.

By why choose “Rags?” After the huge success of the last year’s musical, “The Little Mermaid,” the production team at Marian decided they needed to go in a different direction. “My ultimate inspiration came from immigrants I’ve met over the years,” McCandless said. “I felt the need to tell their story – which is really a story of all of us.”

Since late August, the dedicated actors and actresses have been hard at work memorizing and reciting their lines. “We’ve made really great progress within the past month we’ve been rehearsing!” said junior Ione Enderez who plays Rosa, an immigrant working in a factory. “The whole cast is super excited because it’s all coming together.”

Mitch Hendersen '17 (Avram) and Devon Gottsch '16 (Rachel) rehearse their duet for the musical

Mitch Hendersen ’17 (Avram) and Devon Gottsch ’16 (Rachel) rehearse their duet for the musical “Rags.” Photo by Julia Crump.

The musical hits the stage Oct. 28 and will feature six shows on various dates in late October and early November.

McCandless and the actors are looking forward to the final product as well as the response of the audience. “It’s a story that … is relevant to what is currently happening in the world today with people fleeing war-torn places to build better lives,” McCandless said. “Perhaps Rags is a reminder of who we are, who we were, and who we’re called to be.”

“Rags” cast members pose for a picture while waiting for their turn on the stage. Photo by Julia Crump

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