Captivating Complex Ragtime

The melodies, performers, and story of Hale Theatre’s recent production of Ragtime was captivating and among the best I’ve seen there. I appreciated the thoughtful look at immigrants and minorities in this country that is a never ending story and one I hope we eventually get right. But this musical was not without complexity. The music and themes were designed to be catchy. I’ve asked myself a few questions since seeing the musical. What does the writer have against Moms and Dads? Why did Sarah and Coalhouse get names but not Mother and Father? Maybe because types are easier to stereotype and dislike than individuals. Why did Mother insist the abandoned child was not illegitimate.  Is it a definition or connotation being brought into question here? What principle is being elevated in the statement: “a woman would leave her husband for a thoughtful butcher” and did the screen play writer like Booker T Washington or not? The power of the pen is the captivating thing in this musical.

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