Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

September 22, 2022

PREVIEW: Shakespeare & Company, "Golden Leaf Ragtime Blues"

Shakespeare & Company, Lenox, MA
September 26 - October 30, 2022

"Golden Leaf" Cast and Crew
With a script that’s been revisited and deepened by the playwright 30 years after it was first published, Shakespeare & Company presents Golden Leaf Ragtime Blues by Charles Smith. Directed by Raz Golden, the play takes place over the course of one afternoon in the early 1990's, post-LA Riots, and explores the unusual connection between a Black teenager and an aging Jewish vaudevillian through comedy and music.

It was originally written in 1992, developed by the American Blues Theatre Company of Chicago, and the HBO New Writers Workshop. However, Smith has reworked the script just this year, and Golden Leaf Ragtime Blues will be presented in its current form for the first time at Shakespeare & Company.

A Distinguished Professor of Theatre at Ohio University, Smith said he began to treat himself like his own pupil. “I’ve worked with a number of young writers, so I gave myself the notes I would give to a young writer. The result is something I’m delighted with – and what I consider a new play.”

Golden agreed, calling the production “more of an ensemble piece.”
“There is more reflection on the psyche, and more examination of how the political world can affect how we connect with others,” he said. “In the background is the political reality of that time, but purposefully foregrounded are the smaller scale experiences of four people.”

Among the cast is Kevin G. Coleman, a founding member of Shakespeare & Company and its Director of Education. He works in the Performance and Training departments as an actor, teacher, and director, 

In 2016, he was Runner-up for the Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education. Along with Patrick Toole, Coleman recently produced the film Speak What We Feel, documenting the Fall Festival of Shakespeare.