Rafter brings a long list of professional accolades to his role at Ball State
“Wild. It was wild,” said Rafter, who won an Emmy Award for his work on the television adaption of Gypsy and lent his musical talents to nine Broadway shows—most recently as musical director for the critically acclaimed Violet, with Foster in the title role.
“You can teach our craft virtually—it’s not ideal, but we made it work last Spring,” he said in an April interview. However, when Ball State moved to a combination of online and in-person learning in the Fall, Rafter said he found the mix somewhat jarring.
“But this semester, I have more students in person, and it’s wonderful,” he said. “We can really dig in, as a class, to the work and support each other as artists.”
When students shared their experiences about COVID-19’s impact on their training and future, Rafter repeated to them what he’s told his daughter, who graduated from college as a theater major last year.
“We are going to get over this pandemic, but the when of it is going to take a while. But you are an artist, and you have spent your educational career learning how to be malleable and innovative. If you try something and it doesn’t work, you pivot and figure out another way.
“That’s what we’ve got to do—as individuals and as an industry.”
For Ball State performers, that meant adjustments such as moving outdoors or livestreaming virtual events, sometimes with unmasked actors performing in different rooms.