Echoing the scenic role postcards play in Ragtime , producer Livent introduced the marketing gimmick of “electronic souvenir postcards” that patrons can send via e-mail from the lobby of the Ford Center for the Performing Arts on Broadway.
During matinee intermissions of the musical, theatregoers can record and send a short video of themselves to friends who have computers equipped with Windows 95 or 98 (with speakers).
The free service was inaugurated Oct. 7, when actor Brian Stokes Mitchell (Coalhouse Walker Jr. in Broadway’s Ragtime ) recorded and transmitted a video greeting to colleague Hinton Battle, who is rehearsing the same role in Chicago for the national company opening there, Nov. 8).
To use the equipment, patrons type in an e-mail address, look into the camera, press record and begin talking. The service is in cooperation with Intel Corporation, using the Intel Create and Share Camera Pack.
Livent spokesman Wayne Wolfe said that young people were most naturally drawn to the service at its Oct. 7 matinee debut. Act 2 of Ragtime features a scenic moment in which nine massive vintage postcards of Atlantic City appear, opening a musical sequence along the shore.
Ragtime is set in the first decade or so of the 20th century, when computers could not be imagined.