SGF Contemporary Theatre Presents “Ragtime”

By Rick Dines,

 

     This February Springfield Contemporary Theatre presents the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award-winning Broadway musical Ragtime in its first locally mounted production. Ragtime opens Friday, February 16 and plays Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 2:00p.m. through March 4, 2018. Based on the acclaimed novel by E.L. Doctorow, Ragtime has music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and a book by Terrence McNally.

     It is the turn of the 20th Century in New York. An era is exploding. A century is spinning. And the people are moving in rhythm and rhyme to the music of Ragtime. The award-winning Ragtime weaves together the story of three groups in America, represented by Coalhouse Walker Jr, a Harlem musician; Mother and her white, middle class family in New Rochelle; and Tateh, a Jewish immigrant who has come to America with his daughter seeking a new life. Their fictional lives become dramatically intertwined with one another as well as with historical figures including Evelyn Nesbit, Harry Houdini, Booker T. Washington, Emma Goldman, JP Morgan, Admiral Peary and Henry Ford.

     Ragtime is an epic piece telling not just one big story, but three spanning 1906-1914. It embodies everything the American musical has come to represent while it addresses the great social issues of the twentieth century, issues that we have been struggling with for over a hundred years – racism, immigration, social violence, political activism, poverty, police brutality and women’s rights. While 1776 and Hamilton are epic musicals about the founding of our great nation, Ragtime is a musical about the maturing of that nation.

     Directed by SCT Co-Artistic Director Rick Dines, Ragtime is music directed by Alex Huff with choreography by Haley Rolland. This production features the performances of Adam Baker, Andy Bryan, Reneé ElKady, Mikil Hernandez, Christian Holt, Matt Huebner, Lavelle Johnston, Olivia Marie Jones, Johnnie Angelia King, Denna Langston, Kris Langston, Ellie Maji, Jaxson Marte, Vince Miller, Kaleb Norman, Andrew Phinney, Erin Scheibe, Ron Seney, Deon Shotwell, Ellen Spann, Jeffrey Stringer, Londyn Wheeler and Tony Wheeler.