|Derrick Cobey & ensemble members|
Bristol Riverside Theatre, located at 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, Pa, is presenting RAGTIME THE MUSICAL through April 12. This Tony Award-winning musical with book by Terrance McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens has a stellar cast. Three disparate groups of people meet and interact at the turn of the 20th Century and RAGTIME is their story. The music is so powerful that it almost takes your breath away. There are moments in the production when many members of the cast are singing a song at such great speed and volume that some of the lyrics are lost. The result is inconsequential. The meaning is illustrated and the actors move on to the next scene. Derrick Cobey portrays Coalhouse Walker Jr., a Harlem musician representing the African-Americans .When he belts out a song, his voice transcends the stage. Ciji Prosser, as Sarah, the mother of his baby, has a warm, rich, melodious voice. Leslie Becker interprets Mother, aptly given no other name as her sense of motherhood is more essential to her identity than her membership in a white-upper middle-class family. David Edwards, as Father, presents us with a more stereotypical picture of the mores of the day in the upper-middle class life-style. Michael Thomas Holmes rounds out the picture as Tateh, a Jewish immigrant from Latvia. The three families’ lives become intertwined in song, anguish, and hope. Historical figures, such as Booker T. Washington (Tamar Greene) are interspersed throughout to provide an enlightening time line to the tale. There is not a moment to relax during the performance. This show demands your undivided attention but it is worth every second of it. For more information or tickets, call 215-785-0100 or visit online at brtstage.org.