Musical Musings: Ragtime
I just returned from watching an outstanding performance of Ragtime by 3-D Theatricals. It. Was. Simply. Amazing! And what a surprise to find a production of this quality in my own backyard at the Plummer Auditorium!! This year, 3-D Theatricals has been nominated for 13 Ovation Awards by LA Stage Alliance, and I completely understand why after seeing the show. The vision of director T.J. Dawson, along with Rufus Bonds JR. as Coalhouse Walker Jr, Christanna Rowader as Mother, Craig McEldowney as Father, Tyler MicLean as Younger Brother, Gary Patent as Tateh, Daebreon Poiema as Sarah, and the entire cast of Ragtime delivered an unforgettable performance.
Ragtime takes place at the turn of the 20th century. It begins with a white well-to-do family who appears regal and refined in their dancing, clothed in all white. Then a rowdy fun-loving group of African Americans appears wearing brightly colored clothes as they clap their hands and stomp their feet to a ragtime beat. Lastly, a group of newly arrived immigrants take the stage dressed in rags with muted colors, joyously wandering the stage with wonder filling their eyes as they see their dream of coming to America fulfilled. These three families with different backgrounds and social statuses come together through circumstances beyond their control during a time when racism prevailed in our country. I LOVED the contrast created throughout the musical among the families as each experienced life during this troubling time.
Stunning performances were delivered by everyone on the stage, but there were three who stood out for me—Rowader, Patent, and Poiema. All three held the audience captive for the entire show. By the end of the first act, I was actually bawling my eyes out in my seat. While Poiema’s song “Your Daddy’s Son” was heartbreaking, and Patent’s song “Gliding” took my breath away, my favorite solo performance of the afternoon was “Back to Before,” by Rowader. Her emotion-filled performance bought the audience into the deep, raw truth that Mother was feeling as she filled every note with power and the perfect touch of calm passion. My jaw nearly hit the floor while she sang. The set, choreography, costumes, and live orchestra of this production beautifully set the mood for the show. It was all so amazing; I almost thought I was in New York watching the show on Broadway. 3-D Theatricals has definitely made Ragtime my newest favorite!
However, I must admit, I did expect the musical to have a bit more actual “ragtime” in it, considering the title of the show. While the occasional ragtime tune was plunked out on the piano, they were few and far between. The only other pause for concern I had was at times the sound in the auditorium seemed a bit muted when the actors were delivering their lines, but it didn’t take too much away from the overall performance. The production’s last performances will be at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, showing from November 1-9, 2014, so if you are in the area, GO SEE IT!! You will not be disappointed.
When the show finished I sneaked backstage to snap a photo with Rowader and I thought I’d share it with you.
For tickets or more info – click here
Overall, I would give
3-D Theatrical's Ragtime
for overall performance,
for a roaring good time!
-A kid who likes to shimmer, shine, sparkle and glimmer!