Ragtime | Den Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Ragtime The Short List (Theater) Image Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through July 16 2017

So much goes right in Griffin Theatre Company’s warm, welcoming revival of Terrence McNally, Lynn Ahrens, and Stephen Flaherty’s 1998 musical adaptation of E. L. Doctorow’s 1975 novel—director Scott Weinstein’s staging is strong, his ensemble tight and energetic, and William Boles’s inspired scenic design pulls it all together—that it makes the flaws in the show all the more apparent. For one thing, the three stories lifted from Doctorow’s novel, each illustrating a pre-WWI American demographic (upper-middle-class white, urban African-American, and fresh-off-the-boat immigrant), aren't equally interesting—Denzel Tsopnang is so powerful as the wronged black man, Coalhouse Walker, I kept wishing the whole musical was about him. To make matters worse, the book and score aren't well married; time and again the tunes slow the action and interfere with character development. —Jack Helbig

Price: $39, $34 students, seniors, and military


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