Terrence McNally (Book); Stephen Flaherty (Music); Lynn Ahrens (Lyrics)
Based on the novel Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Let me begin with an upfront confession. In my humble opinion, if there is one musical that could be called “The Great American Musical,” it is Ragtime. Based on E. L. Doctorow’s 1975 novel by the same name, Terrence McNally (book), Stephen Flaherty (music), and Lynn Ahrens’ (lyrics) Ragtime incorporates the early twentieth century stories of this country’s immigrants, Blacks, women, and the labor movement with uplifting dreams for a better tomorrow. But the musical does not shy away from their struggles, with those dreams too often smashed by the violent backlash from the threatened, white, male majority and the powers of the police and the politicians they control. All is told supported by a glorious score and set of songs of the emerging ragtime ringing forth from Harlem in 1906 – propulsive, syncopated music that in itself was both hopeful for change for many and a threat to stability for too many, according to whose ears were listening.
And to continue my confession, when my favorite musical Ragtime is being staged by the company I personally most associate in the San Francisco Bay Area as perennially the proven, premiere venue to see great musicals – the Tony Award winning TheatreWorks Silicon Valley – and when that same musical is being directed by someone who has time and again been lauded and awarded over the past fifty-plus years for his sensitive, heartfelt, inclusive, and creative artistry – founder and recently retired TheatreWorks Artistic Director Robert Kelley – then, readers, you need to know that going in I expect this Ragtime to be a ‘must-see’ until I am proven wrong.
I am here to report that my expectations has not only been met, but has been exceeded by the 2022 magnificently cast, directed, and produced Ragtime now in a stunning, stirring, and spectacular production by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. By the instant and sustained standing ovation as the ensemble’s closing harmonies shook the rafters of the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, I believe that while going in biased, my opinions were universally shared on opening night
Please continue to Talkin’ Broadway to read the rest of my review of this outstanding production.
Rating: 5 E, MUST-SEE
A Theatre Eddy’s Best Bet Production
Ragtime continues through June 26, 2022 in performance by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA. Tickets are available online at www.theatreworks.org/ or by calling the box office at 877-662-8978.
Photo Credit: Kevin Berne