Teens tackle immigration with ‘Ragtime’ - The Musical
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, JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS Garfield Theatre, 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla from 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 10 years ago.
“I think now is the perfect time,” he said. “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.”
The story is both heart-warming and heartbreaking, and features nearly 40 songs that are just as diverse as the melting pot of America itself. These include ragtime rhythms of Harlem, klezmer of the Lower East Side, bold brass band marches, delicate waltzes, up-tempo banjo tunes and amazing anthems.
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 said, “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
When: May 12-21, 2017
Where: David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre, Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla.
JCC Box Office: 858-362-1348 or online at www.sdcjc.org/jc/
Ticket Cost: $19, Students and JCC Members $17. Group rates available.