Fortunately for the fantastic music – and unfortunately for the continued relevance of many of its themes, the struggle in racism in particular – the Throckmorton Theatre has delivered a blockbuster production of Ragtime, the musical based on the 1975 novel by E. L. Doctorow. The production of Ragtime, which runs through May 26, tells the story of three groups in the United States in the early 20th century: African Americans, represented by Harlem musician Coalhouse Walker Jr., upper-class suburbanites and Eastern European immigrants.
Throckmorton founder Lucy Mercer says that acclaimed director Amy Marie Haven, the Throckmorton’s director of theater programs, and choreographer Stacey Printz “tackle this big musical machine with palpable heart, taking all the right moments to pause and reflect before powering up again.”
Award-winning Bay Area conductor and music director David Möschler satisfies the full breadth of the Ragtime musical’s voice, conducting a full 21-piece orchestra, which is accompanied by an all-star cast of theatre professionals, including Jordan Best, David Schiller, Gary Stanford Jr. and Melissa Momboisse.
Mercer told the Marin IJ that she felt it was important for the Throckmorton to stage Ragtime, which opened on Broadway in 1998, because it has a startling resonance in today’s polarized political climate on issues of race, gender and, most saliently, immigration. Mercer says she believes that for audiences, a smaller space like the Throckmorton can sometimes make for a more engaging experience than seeing the same show in a big theater or concert hall.
“In some ways, when you have a small house, you have an intimacy that you don’t have with big productions in a large space,” she told the IJ. “Right now, my focus is getting people to see this show. The actors and the production team deserve an audience. And if you don’t see it, then you don’t know what we’re trying to do, and what we’re capable of.”