Feature: RAGTIME THE MUSICAL at Lincoln Theatre

Glover enjoys dual role as teacher, actor

By: Sep. 19, 2023
Feature: RAGTIME THE MUSICAL at Lincoln Theatre

Feature: RAGTIME THE MUSICAL at Lincoln Theatre

David Glover is out to disprove the adage of “Those who can’t do, teach” when he takes on the role of Coalhouse Walker Jr. in Columbus Children’s Theatre production of RAGTIME THE MUSICAL. The Terrance McNally musical will be performed Sept. 22-Oct. 1 at the Lincoln Theatre(769 E. Long St. in downtown Columbus).

Glover, the upper school dean of students and the theater director at The Wellington School in Upper Arlington, says the doing can often be more difficult than the teaching.

“I am far harder on myself when I am performing,” Glover said. “I feel like I’m far more loving to my students and my cast when I am directing and teaching.

“It’s funny, I tell my students all the time that acting is about relaxing, letting it go, and being in the moment. Then I get into a rehearsal space or in a show, I get into my own anxiety, and I’m being told the same thing (by directors) and I’m like, ‘You don’t understand.’”

Set in the turn of the 20th century, RAGTIME tells the tale of three social groups trying to achieve the American dream in New York. Coalhouse Walker Jr, a musician from Harlem, represents the plight of African Americans, and Tateh (Eric Sand), an immigrant from Lativa, represents those who came to America from Eastern Europe while Mother (Ronnie Stiffler), the head of a well-to-do white family from New Rochelle, appears to have achieved the dream but has it slowly taken away.

The period piece, whose music was written by Stephen Flaherty (music) and Lynn Ahrens (lyrics), provides a history lesson that name drops famous personalities including Henry Ford (Andrew LeVan), Emma Goldman (Amy Silver Judd), Harry Houdini (Jordan Young), JP Morgan (Michael Neary), Evelyn Nesbit, (Tatum Beck), and Booker T. Washington (Andrew Horton). Rounding out the cast are Ross Shirley (Father), Laura Overby (Sarah), Hunter Minor (Mother’s Younger Brother), Owen Suarez (Little Boy), Nora West (Little Girl), Bill Hafner (Grandfather), Ariyah Wallace (Sarah’s Friend), Aaron Turnbull (Willie Conklin), and Liam Dalton (Young Coalhouse).

"Bringing our Professional Series and this piece to the Lincoln Theatre is a true testament to CCT's commitment to providing top-quality entertainment that resonates with audiences across generations," said Zac DelMonte, Artistic Director at CCT. "We are excited to bring this moving production to life, and we invite everyone over the age of 10 to experience the power of RAGTIME in person this fall.”

The message of the show, unfortunately, is timeless, according to Glover.

“The sad thing about RAGTIME is the environment which the show is set in and the current stage of the world that we live in now are not that far away from each other,” Glover said. “A lot of us are chasing the American Dream, as well as justice and equality.

“The show gives us a small reflection but gives it in a space where I think people can receive that message and not feel like they are being overwhelmed. It takes the ugly and puts it in a very presentable package.”

Glover has had a wildly diverse career from hosting the 21st Thurber Prize for American Humor Award Show to playing three diverse roles of BJJ, McClosky, and George Peyton in Available Light’s Theatre’s production of AN OCTOROON in 2018 to taking on the Devil in the Available Light Theatre's production of Jen Silverman’s WITCH in 2022. However, Glover said playing Coalhouse Walker is the role of the lifetime.

“I have pined for this role for many years,” he said. “RAGTIME was one of the first shows I was obsessed with growing up.

“I was 12 when I first heard about RAGTIME. Audra McDonald and Brian Stokes Mitchell, these two giants of Broadway theater, were in it and I just fell in love with it. I remember reading the book when I was in high school and really enjoying it. The music is beautiful, and I've always wanted to be in it.”

Glover found his voice through theater when he was in sixth grade. His music teacher, Elizabeth Carl, gave him a small role in Eastmoor Middle School’s production of THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL.

“I got a laugh, and from that point on, I was hooked,” said Glover, who earned a degree in communication and theater from Heidelberg University and served as theater director at the Long Lake Camp for the Arts in New York. “I’ve had some odd jobs and I thought I was going to walk away from theater, but I stuck around and continued to work.

“The thing I like about acting is the storytelling as well as the energy and camaraderie of putting on a thing with a group of people. You get to create this thing and it’s never the same thing twice. It’s short lived and then move on to the next event.”

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