Ragtime, based on E.L. Doctorow’s distinguished 1975 novel, was called “a triumph for the stage” by TIME and “the best musical in twenty years” by the International Herald Tribune when it premiered on Broadway in 1998. Winner of 4 Tony Awards, the original cast of Ragtime featured Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Marin Mazzie.
Combining historical figures such as Emma Goldman, Harry Houdini, and Booker T. Washington with fictional characters, Ragtime uses diverse musical styles to weave together stories of volatile turn-of-the-century New York from three different perspectives: African Americans in Harlem, immigrants from Eastern Europe, and the upper-class suburban white residents of New Rochelle. Together, these characters confront and explore what it means to live and fight for fairness and social justice in America.
Not only is Ragtime rich with historical information and context, but it provokes serious questions around themes of race in America, justice, imprisonment and liberation, suppression, industrialization, integration and segregation, and the pursuit of the American Dream. The music is lush and full of different styles. The characters are rich and our production boasts a cast of 40 actors from across our department – actors who represent diverse ethnic backgrounds as well as different concentrations of study. Featuring a large and intricate set from Ming Chen (KSU faculty), video and image design provided by Andre Allen of Blacklight Productions, choreography by Angela Harris of Dance Canvas, beautiful era-specific costumes, and a live orchestra, this will be an event you do not want to miss!