ALBANY, N.Y. >> “Ragtime” is without question the most complete production in the history of Park Playhouse.
Considering the company has been offering musical theater in Albany’s Washington Park for 29 years, this is quite an achievement.
Making the achievement even more remarkable is that “Ragtime” is a demanding musical. It has a complex score that requires powerful vocal strength and a book that weaves together several personal stories that unite to form a coherent whole.
This is a visually attractive production with a simple but functional set, near-perfect sound design and costumes that are a striking blend of white, complemented by many gay colors.
The ensemble numbers are visually stunning, but solo numbers like “Make Them Hear You,” “Back to Before,” “Your Daddy’s Son” and the first act closer, “’Till We Reach That Day” are equally powerful. Throughout, director Michael LoPorto excels in creating breathtaking stage pictures.
Besides looking and sounding great, the presentation is made better by the graceful and energetic movement of choreographer Ashley-Simone Kirchner. The cast moves effortlessly and energetically on the simple, efficient set designed by Jeffrey T. Perri, Jr.
All this creative skill is used to support worthy material. This is not escapist entertainment. “Ragtime” is a work that addresses serious social issues and suggests the truth of the axiom that states “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
“Ragtime” is a look at three different Americas, and though it takes…
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