RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL, the fabulous show that was nominated for 13 Tony Awards, opened at the Pasadena Playhouse last week, and it is outstanding!
Based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, the musical is directed at the Playhouse by David Lee, with choreography by Mark Esposito, and musical direction by Darryl Archibald. This is an ambitious production with 21 actors and a 16-piece orchestra (which you don’t really get to see, but you definitely get to hear).
RAGTIME introduces you to the America of the early 1900s as seen from the perspective of three groups of people: an upper-class white family; an African American couple, and a Jewish immigrant father/daughter team. While their stories are fictional, the characters are joined throughout the show by a parade of historical figures like orator Booker T. Washington, businessman Henry Ford, magician Harry Houdini, entertainer Evelyn Nesbit, and activist Emma Goldman.
Every actor in this musical is talented. The show is a joy to see; one that really deserves the standing ovations that it is receiving. Still, the great work done by Clifton Duncan, as Coalhouse, and by Bryce Charles, as Sarah, must be mentioned. Together, they deliver beautifully one of the most emotive songs of the show – Wheels of a Dream. Also outstanding (as usual) is Marc Ginsburg as Tateh. His rendition of Our Children, along with Shannon Warne (as Mother), is a highlight of the show.
The important themes of the America of the 1900s continue to be just as important today – classism, racism, and immigration, for example. RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL touches on them all, showing us how far we’ve come and how far we’ve still to go, but it does it with music that elevates the spirit and sends you home feeling hopeful. Welcome hope into your heart, and go see this show!
RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL performs Tuesday to Friday at 8 pm; Saturday at 2 pm and 8 pm; Sunday at 2 pm and 7 pm, through March 9th, 2019. Ticket prices start at $25, available at PasadenaPlayhouse.org, or by calling (626) 356-7529. The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, in Pasadena CA 91101.