Thursday, July 6, 2017

Boston Globe: A captivating ‘Ragtime’ at Barrington Stage

Darnell Abraham and the ensemble in “Ragtime.”

By Globe Staff 

PITTSFIELD — Few musicals are more crammed with events, ideas, outsize personalities, and raw chapters of American history than “Ragtime.’’

Then again, few musicals draw on more ambitious source material, or are more faithful to the spirit of that material — in this case, E.L. Doctorow’s brilliantly panoramic novel, which blended fictional characters with such historical figures as Emma Goldman, Henry Ford, Booker T. Washington, J.P. Morgan, and Harry Houdini to tell the story of America in the first decade of the 20th century while foreshadowing the convulsive years that lay ahead.

Those reverberating connections between present and past help to shape our experience of Barrington Stage Company’s enthralling new production of “Ragtime’’ right from the show’s opening moments. Director Joe Calarco has devised a prologue that drives home the fact that “then’’ and “now’’ are but different points on the same continuum.

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