It’s the dawn of America in the 20th Century and it feels as if anything is possible and everything is changing. It’s against this backdrop that JCompany Youth Theatre presents its epic version of Ragtime, the Tony-award winning musical about the immigrant experience of the early 1900’s. Directed by esteemed Artistic Director, Joey Landwehr, Ragtime will be presented with a full 24-piece orchestra at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, May 12-21.
Based on the novel of the same name by E.L. Doctorow, Ragtime interweaves the stories of three diverse New York communities, represented by an African-American ragtime musician in Harlem, an upper-class Protestant family in the affluent suburb of New Rochelle, and a family of Eastern-European Jewish immigrants residing in the Lower East Side. Through imaginative storylines, the play blends fiction with historical events, utilizing characters such as Booker T. Washington, J.P. Morgan, Henry Ford, Emma Goldman and Harry Houdini as vehicles through which the main characters intersect.
One hundred years later, who could have imagined that immigration would again be the topic du jour, making the final production of JCompany’s 24th Season as timely as ever. Director Joey Landwehr admits that he has wanted to bring Ragtime to the JCC stage since he began working with JCompany over ten years ago. “I think now is the perfect time,” he explains. “This is one of the most complex, complicated and significant stories ever created. There are so many aspects and themes to this story that resonate with every generation. This is not just history. In today’s political and social climate we need to fully understand that racial and ethnic divides aren’t just a thing of the past.”
A truly unique and powerful portrait of America, Ragtime is sure to inspire audiences who, according to its proud director, will be treated to some of the finest vocal talent in San Diego today. Landwehr says, “I challenge anyone to see this show and not walk away knowing they have seen true talent in these rising young stars, who have embraced both the music and the message of one of the most important shows brought to the JCompany stage.”
Show and Ticket Information
Ragtime – The Musical
David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre, Lawrence Family JCC, 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla
JCC Box Office: 858-362-1348 or online at sdcjc.org/jc/
Ticket Cost: $19; Students and JCC Members, $17. Group rates available.