Ragtime presented by Sedos
What Is It?
Ragtime is an epic American musical set in the late 19th to early 20th century with book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. What Is It About: Ragtime focuses in on three families: a wealthy white family, an African American family (led phenomenally by Jonathon Grant as Coalhouse Walker Jr) and a Jewish immigrant family (superbly performed by Rob Archibald as Tateh). While there are a couple of side stories going on, like "the crime of the century" performed beautifully by Deborah Lean, and the fair work protests by immigrants, lead fiercely by Zo Pisera (who plays Emma Goldman), the crux of the story is how these three families lives are so different from one another, yet come together. The show also involved famous historical figures to really round out the period and give the audience a true sense of the time. These figures include Harry Houdini (Daryl Armstrong) Booker T Washington (Chris Nelson), JP Morgan (Stephen Beeny), and Henry Ford (Callum Runciman) just to name a few. How Did It Make Me Feel: As an English born, American raised individual, this show struck such a powerful chord with me. In "A Shetetl Iz Amereke/Success" with the incoming immigrants singing about the better life they are seeking in the US, I had chills a felt very connected. Even today, the American dream still rings true for a lot of people, and as the daughter of someone who believed in that dream in the 90s, the musical still very much has a place in today's society. People are still immigrating, African Americans are still facing discrimination, and it's scary to look back at this musical and realise that, unfortunately, not too much has changed.
Where Is It Playing: The show is produced by Sedos and is being performed at Bridewell Theatre, where Sedos has a residency, until 23 November. Anything Else: it is extremely important to mention the orchestra, conducted by Ryan Macaulay. An 18 piece live band that is most definitely of West End quality; the audience is truly blown away by them. It is shocking to me that this production is Amateur Dramatics, as the quality of the performances, the costumes, lighting, orchestra, and production quality is very high. Overall, it is such a well written musical that it is hard to get it wrong. As long as the music and vocals are there and the actors are committed, the show is set up for success. I highly recommend going to see this production of Ragtime.
Ragtime is playing at The Bridewell theatre until the 23rd November 2019.
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