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Update: 'Ragtime: The Musical' Command Performance, Organic Healing Straight from a Local Kitchen

Entrepreneur Ali Bourgault's line of organic, chemical-free health-care products.

I wasn’t back in Concord for two hours Sunday, before I started hearing all the rave reviews for Ragtime: The Musical, in performance at the . The Boston Globe even chimed in. And rumor has it, that Director Julia Fiske received a glowing e-mail from Concordian Gregory Maguire, calling the show “brilliant.” (Gregory wrote the novel that spawned a Broadway musical called Wicked. You may have heard of it.) Online reviewers (people like you and me) have given this local production 4.9 stars out of 5. So I’m sure it’s quite the production.  

Even better news:  A command performance will be held tomorrow, April 14, at 8 p.m. The new show, added by popular demand, is in addition to the scheduled 8 p.m. performances this Friday and Saturday, April 15 and 16, and the 2 p.m. matinee on April 16. Discount tickets may still be available at Goldstar and ArtsBoston, so get on it.

“Originally, Thursday was going to be a full dress rehearsal,” said Joel Hersh, who plays Grandfather. “We invited local groups to come see it, and it was going to be a brush-up for us, but because we’ve been selling out or close to it, we’ve added another show.”

The musical is based on the 1970s novel by E.L. Doctorow and follows three groups of New Yorkers in the early 20th century. At first, the WASP group from New Rochelle, the group from Harlem and the immigrant group are weary of each other. “Throughout the show, they all get involved with each other’s stories, so how it ends is quite interesting,” said Joel. “Even though it takes place 100 years ago, we’re still dealing with a lot of the same issues today. The message and meaning of the show really touches a lot of people.”

To learn more about the production, click here. Many congratulations to the cast and crew. I love seeing hard work pay off.

Ali Bourgault's A Healing Vibration

Despite 100-percent organic, chemical-free ingredients, Ali Bourgault’s recipe for tropical fruit lip balm would not glide smoothly. The emollient worked beautifully for a few days, Ali was told by a test group of family and friends, but then it would harden, complicating the application process. Potential buyers would abandon the product, Ali knew, so now she is modifying the formula in her Concord kitchen.

Reworking is not new to the 28-year-old entrepreneur. Ali began A Healing Vibration, a line of organic, chemical-free health-care products, after she became licensed as a massage therapist. Unable to find affordable, organic products for her work, Ali created her own. Success came, but only after much trial and error. At first, she used environmental friendly purple vials, but the feedback was that they “weren’t squishy enough to get the lotion out.” So, Ali conducted intense research to replace them, as she wanted customers to be 100 percent satisfied. The potions are now packaged in white reusable containers.

“I do a lot of Internet research, many hours of it,” Ali said. “There is a lot of trial and error and adjustments based on feedback.”

Ali also likes to use local ingredients when possible, so frequent shoppers at in West Concord may recognize her. in Westford devotes shelf space for A Healing Vibration’s lotions, exfoliates and wraps. Online sales are going well and Ali is excited about upcoming prospects, such as the Holisitic Fair in Littleton and the Strawberry Arts Festival in Westford.

Creating, researching, developing and marketing take tremendous amounts of time, patience and energy, agreed Ali, but in the same breath, she added, “It is a lot of fun.”

Do you have something to share? Contact me at mcb23@comcast.net and I will be happy to help you spread the word.

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