"Ragtime" Premieres this Week in the Hartmann Center

September 21, 2011

Production boasts a large cast along with three choruses and a moving story line.

By Ivy Hillman '12

The Department of Theatre Arts production "Ragtime: The Musical" consists of 18 different characters who will tell the story of America at the turn of the 20th century. Three different families will be portrayed as they each battle with socioeconomic status and various prejudices.

"Ragtime" is a Tony-Award winning musical written by Terrence McNally, with lyrics and music by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty respectively.

Bradley student Julian Stroop will be playing the role of Booker T. Washington. He has acted in 11 shows at Bradley.

"Students going to see the musical should expect to be immersed in a story of grand scale and relevance," Stroop said.

Stroop is particularly enamored with the musical aspect of this production.

"The musical features the interweaving stories of people that struggle with race, identity and morality, all set to some of the most beautiful music ever composed," Stroop said

Kaitlin Adams-Wenger is a Bradley student who will perform as part of the Immigrant Chorus. She estimated there to be about 30 musical numbers in the show. That's a pretty big number considering this is her first role in a Bradley production.

"This particular show is very meaningful because it's not all jazz hands and dance numbers with the cliche love triangle. It tells the story of three different groups living in the early 1900s and what they had to endure," Adams-Wenger said.

She also said the musical numbers are especially moving and catchy.

"With the musical numbers, you can feel both the tension and disgust among the groups in the beginning and the unity and compassion among the groups in the end. The songs are so diverse and one of a kind that it will be hard to leave the show not singing one of the tunes," Adams-Wenger said.

"Ragtime: The Musical" begins on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 8:00 p.m. and will run through Sunday, Oct. 2.

Photo courtesy of Adam Moulton