'Many Excellent Performances' At Westchester Broadway Theater

Published: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 By: Tamsin Harper Source: Poughkeepsie - Macaroni Kid

'Ragtime' is the latest show to come to the Westchester Broadway Theatre, a venue that offers dinner along with the performance. It is the first time I've been able to enjoy such an experience and it was certainly a novelty being able to enjoy dinner, drinks and desert at a table overlooking the stage, waiting for the performance to begin.

The Westchester Broadway Theatre has a stage that comes out into the audience, with seating and tables in a U-shape around it. From here every seat in the house has a clear, uninterrupted view of the stage. The tables vary in size, from 2-person tables to 7-person, with luxury boxes if you need a bit more space. 

The menu has a wide variety of options: meat, fish, vegetarian options. But catering for such a large number of people, all at the same time, left the food tasting slightly mass-produced. That said, the portions were generous and the servers extremely attentive (special mentions deserved for Chris and Dan). 

The theatre opened in 1974 and was originally called "An Evening Dinner Theatre". It's been through some changes since then, even a change of location, but it hasn't lost its originally aim: to offer theatre-lovers a simpler alternative to traveling into the city to see a Broadway show. 

'Ragtime' tells the story of three families in early 20th century New York. In their own ways, they're each battling against the prejudices and stereotypes of the times, trying to fit in and find a place in a rapidly changing world. The show, which won three Tony Awards in 1998, has a real array of musical genres all mixed together to show the melting pot of the Big Apple at the turn of the last century. 

There were many excellent performances, but Brittney Johnson who played Sarah was outstanding. She commanded the stage and carried me away with her powerful, heart-felt songs.  

But Joey Sanzaro as Tateh was perhaps the highlight of the show. A big booming presence and a voice to match it. He portrayed the highs and lows of the times, with both comedic and tragic scenes, all of which he superbly balanced with both a lightness of touch and a tremendous depth of character. 

The theatre has a intimate, close-quarter feel to it. The director added to this by using the audience walkways as entrances/exits and having his cast walk amongst the seats for one of the songs. 

'Ragtime' runs until May 4th, offering matinees and evening shows on Thursdays through Sundays. A special ticket price of $67 plus tax is offered for all performances with discounts for seniors, children, students and groups.