“Ragtime” for its pure entertainment value

Published: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 1:00 pm By: Marlene S. Gaylinn Source: On CT & NY Theatre

This 1998 Tony Award-winning musical, based on a novel by E.L. Doctorow, describes the interactions of three families during the turn of the century.  Since the musical encompasses several cultural backgrounds we not only have the dance and music styles of Harlem and Tin Pan Alley (which predominate the monumental score by Stephen Flaherty with lyrics by Lynn Ahrens) banjo tunes, band marches, waltzes, even some klezmer melodies are incorporated. It’s therefore no wonder that the work also won Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for “Best Musical” and “Best Score.”

  At Westchester Broadway Theatre (WBT), “Ragtime” is produced by Sheldon and Mennie Mallah and John and Nannette Fanelli (John Fanelli also directs) and features the expertise of Shelton L. Becton, who was also musical supervisor of this theatre’s popular musical “In The Heights.” Greg Graham is the choreographer of this enormous and very talented cast of singing dancers and actors, plus the show is further enhanced by the rich voices of co-stars, Fatye, as “Coalhouse Walker Jr. and Brittney Johnson, as “Sarah.”

 There are several, clashing threads of society woven into this story. If you are familiar with the multitude of famous personalities who are introduced against the background of prejudicial attitudes and class struggles of the time, and can follow the sub-plots containing the main characters, it’s somewhat satisfying that the musical ends in a garment of many colors. Whether or not you totally agree with the reality of the period depicted, you might consider the fact that like today, not everyone gets his or her just dues in the end.  So don’t get bogged down with the details and enjoy “Ragtime” for its pure entertainment value.

  This dinner theatre’s colorful, lively, full-scale production is playing to full audiences and tickets are selling out quickly.

Plays to May 4    Tickets: 914-592-2222