New direction: Ragtime opens Live Arts’ season with real-life issues

By Leslie M. Scott-Jones

Walking into the downstage theater at Live Arts, the sounds are familiar. Vocal warm-ups have begun, and musical director Kristen Baltes shouts from the balcony that this is “real life,” signaling to the actors to fill the space with their voices (not easy to do in that room).

Seated in the hallway, with the singing in the background, is Ike Anderson, the director of Live Arts’ 2018-19 season opener, Ragtime.

“This is the craziest thing I’ve ever done,” Anderson tells me, speaking of the enormity of the task he’s undertaken, professionally and personally. “To direct the season opener for the largest theater organization in Charlottesville—and I’m black.”

The last time Live Arts had a black director was almost 10 years ago, when Ray Smith…

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