Musical "Ragtime" At BCPA Evokes Contemporary Political Themes | WGLT

Musical "Ragtime" At BCPA Evokes Contemporary Political Themes

Feb 10, 2016

The Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts is staging a production of the award-winning Broadway musical, "Ragtime" on Thursday evening. Based on the popular novel by E.L. Doctorow, "Ragtime" blends fictional characters with historic figures and actual events.

Tina Salamone, executive director of the BCPA, says "Ragtime" deals with subject matter that could have been ripped from today's headlines and presidential debates.

Salamone calls "Ragtime" an "epic musical" because of its sweeping social themes, set in turn of the 20th century America. The show, which features a Tony award-winning score, rarely comes around on tour, Salamone says, because of the complexity of its set and music, as well as the diverse cast it requires.

As a style of music, Ragtime refers to a uniquely American blend of music derived from African musical styles.

"Ragime is the generic, sort of encapsulated terminology we use for the kinds of music that happened during that time (early 20th century) --marches, cake walks, black bottom, gospel. It's one of those things that when you hear it you know it. It's distinctly American, one of the art forms we should be proud of," Salamone says.

In this interview, which incorporates many of the songs from the show, Salamone also talks about how the story, characters and events in "Ragtime" evoke issues America still struggles with today. She also describes upcoming musical productions at the BCPA, and reveals this year's summer high school musical at Miller Park. Hint: it's a musical about teenagers.

The curtain rises on "Ragtime" Thursday night at 7:30. Hear the music of "Ragtime" and other Broadway musicals every Wednesday night at seven on GLT's Center Stage.