I love to go see musicals. Ever since I was a little kid I was enthralled by the music and dancing as the story evolved between two acts. That’s not true for everyone. I have a friend who doesn’t like musicals because he can’t suspend his disbelief. He would tell me that people just don’t break out in song at key moments in their life. It’s just not believable. My reply is always. It’s a musical. Of course people sing and dance. If you go knowing what you’re about to see, you should have no problem enjoying the show. Alas, we won’t ever resolve this issue. He really can’t accept the singing and dancing aspect of this sort of show. That is really a shame because he will miss out on fabulous shows like the one I saw last night.
When I was in college, the movie Ragtime was released in 1981. I saw it but didn’t remember a lot about it. What I did recall was a bit vague. Mary Steenburgen was in the movie. It was a period piece in the early 1900’s. It focused on the trials of a wealthy family and I remembered the final image of the movie. Apart from that everything else was a blank. So I was not prepared for the impact this musical had on me. I’m used to musicals like Cinderella, My Fair Lady and Gigi. Sure they reflect the belief systems of the time. At the conclusion of the show, the audience might leave learning a lesson. But for the most part, they are light airy and happy.
Ragtime is not that kind of show. After a quarter of the first half, I had the same feeling I had when I saw Chicago. About the time Roxy Hart lands in Jail, I thought ‘Isn’t this a musical? What have I gotten myself into?’ Well it happened again. Ragtime follows the lives of a privileged family as they wrestle with the influx of immigrants and racial stereotypes in 1906. The show does an excellent job of highlighting all points of views with these issues as it rushes to a stunning conclusion. Few musicals are capable of having this type of impact on social unrest. Even the issues dealt with in the early 1900’s have relevance to debates occurring in our country now. This show is thought provoking and well worth seeing.
That’s all I have for now. Thank you for reading my post.