Monday, September 21, 2009

Ragtime Redux

Fall officially arrives Tuesday and with it, an exciting array of new (and old) Broadway shows. One that I'm quite excited about is the revival of Ragtime, and interviewing composer Stephen Flaherty and lyricist Lynn Ahrens for this Time Out New York online feature brought back sweet memories of seeing the original production in 1998 at the then-brand-new Ford Center for the Performing Arts (now the Hilton).

I was in tears before the end of the opening number, a big, beautiful, buoyant showstopper that outlined the different ethnic and racial factions whose worlds soon collide in early-20th-century New York. Not just because it so deftly depicted the fear and frustration that ensue when everything around you changes too quickly, but for the way it also demonstrated that when song, dance and story come together in perfect harmony, no other medium is quite as moving as musical theater.

It was a hard act for the rest of the show to follow, and even though I was fairly close to the stage of the cavernous 1,800-plus seat theater, I felt distanced from the characters and story as often as I felt a connection to them. But this time around the show's in a more accommodating house, and I'm excited about the possibilities.

No comments: