a musical always opens the portland center stage’s season, this year it’s ragtime. set in 1906 ragtime tells the story of three families in new york; one waspy from new rochelle, one black from harlem, and the last are immigrants from poland. their lives intertwine in abstract ways which profoundly effect them.
the cast was perfect, they’ve got some great voices. the musical numbers are obviously scaled back, but still have ton of life. of course there is ragtime, but jazz and marches also influence the score. and what a score it is, rooted in classic musical (think carousel or showboat) it has elements of steven soundheim and philip glass, just enough to give it a modern sound. the staging, using only three sets of iron gates and a couple of chairs, was inventive. the huge presence of the gates helps with serious overtones of the story. it was a fantastic night at the theater.
i have to thank portland center stage for having those last-minute rush tickets. my theater going friend leslie and i have seen the majority of the productions at pcs over the last two years, not once have we been let down.