Robert Barry Fleming in Mo'olelo Performing Arts Company's "Scott Joplin's New Rag." CREDIT: Daren Scott
Scott Joplin (c.1867-1917) was an African American Composer and Pianist of Ragtime and Classical Music who wrote three operas and is featured at AfriClassical.com
The San Diego Union-Tribune
World premiere play with music examines tortured life of ragtime composer Scott Joplin
Sept. 27, 2014
Fleming plays multiple roles, including Joplin’s parents (his father warned him not to trust white men, which in many cases proved sound advice), his childhood piano teacher Julius Weiss, his business partner John Strong and a chorus of music purists and racists who abhorred the black roots of his syncopated rhythms. Although Joplin made the music form mainstream with his million-selling “Maple Leaf Rag” in 1899, his efforts to earn critical respect and advance the form with operas like “Treemonisha” were failures. In 1917, the 49-year-old Joplin died penniless in a New York mental hospital.