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Servant Stage's 'Ragtime', which opens on Friday, is a 'magnificent production'.entertainment

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“Ragtime” is set in the early 20th century, but its plot sounds like it’s been going on since 2022.

The show follows diverse communities, from African Americans to immigrants, women to working class, as they pursue the American Dream and face prejudice and injustice.

That’s why Servant Stage, a non-profit theater company in Lancaster County, has decided to stage the musical this fall. Production will take place from September 16th to October. 2 Lancaster Mennonite School Performing Arts Center.

“This story is over 100 years old, but it’s still incredibly relevant and compelling,” says Jonathan Bauer, the theater’s executive director. “At Servant Stage, we are looking for shows that inspire, educate, challenge and entertain. Ragtime does all that.”

“Ragtime” is based on the 1975 EL Doctorow novel of the same name and was staged in 1996 with music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and a book by Terrence McNally.

When Bauer’s team decided on “Ragtime,” they decided to do it in a big way.

“It’s a spectacular production on every level, full of spectacle, lots of production, stunning set design and gorgeous period costumes,” says Bauer.

The stage has a real Model T Ford and a jazz piano. The turntable set moves the action like a giant carousel at a fashion show of nearly 200 period costumes, from magnificent white lace gowns and stylish suits to the ragged clothes of poor immigrants.

But the show’s plot is just as epic. Its fictional characters navigate a rapidly changing world. Among them are real-life business tycoons in power, Jewish immigrants yearning for a new start in life, women trying to find their place, and workers standing up for their right to safe working conditions. , including African Americans who continue to work. Confronting prejudices and obstacles to equality.

The fictional characters in “Ragtime” are Harry Houdini, an escape artist and magician; Emma Goldman, a political activist and anarchist; Booker T. Washington, an African-American leader and orator; It stands shoulder-to-shoulder with real historical figures of the time, such as Henry Ford, the manufacturer. Investor his JP Morgan, Gibson Girl his model Evelyn Nesbitt, architect Stanford White, billionaire murderer Harry Sow.

High society’s “crime of the century” occurred in June 1906. His Thaw of Millionaire murdered the famous architect Stanford White out of a jealous rage over his past relationship with Thaw’s wonderful wife, Nesbit. The sensationalism of the trial dominated headlines across the country for over a year.

“In 2022, we are still tackling many of the same issues that affected people in the early 1900s, such as crime, prejudice and human rights, but on a different level,” said Bauer. increase.

There are also moments of hope and promise. Here’s Coalhouse Walker Jr. singing to his beloved Sarah about his life, “On the Wheel of Dreams.” A fire was set in his soul. ”

Sadly, those hopes have been dashed by the reality of persistent racism and prejudice. Walker Jr.’s hopes turn to revenge.

“Ragtime” stars Joshua William Green as Coalhouse Walker Jr., Kylie Jo Smith as Sarah, Sarah Zahn as her mother, David Deal as her father, and Andrew Zahn as Tate. Featuring a large ensemble cast of over 50 local and regional performers, including Tyler. Hoover as a younger brother.

Artistic director Wally Calderon, assistant director Reggie Woods, and assistant choreographer Brandon Cameron. Music Director Caleb Heckman conducts a 12-piece orchestra with the Tony Award-winning score.

“The music on ‘Ragtime’ is great,” says Bauer. One of his favorite songs is “Our Children,” which tells the story of the bond between an elegant New Rochelle mother and the young children of Tate, a Latvian immigrant.

The two parents, bound by fate, look at their children on the beach and sing: How they dance, not shy, alone. listening to their own music. ”

A hymn to the American Dream, “Ragtime” strives to keep its promise for the future. Even in the face of defeat, Coalhouse his Walker Jr. looks to a better future for his young son, telling his followers, “Tell our story. Let it resound far and wide. Yours.” Please let us hear your voice…”

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