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  Ragtime at The Den Theatre


The Den Theatre
1329-1333 N. Milwaukee Chicago

Based on the 1975 novel by E.L. Doctorow, RAGTIME is set at the dawn of a new century where the lives of three distinct American families from different backgrounds intersect in their search for the American dream. Part history lesson-part family saga, this stirring musical asks us think about racism, immigration, social justice, wage inequality and the role of women in society in a changing America.

Presented by Griffin Theatre Company

Thru - Jul 22, 2017

Price: $39

Show Type: Musical

Box Office: 866-811-4111

Running Time: 2hrs, 30mins; one intermission

  Ragtime Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...The level of commitment to the storytelling is as palpable as the connection you intuit this cast has to each other. I've never felt any ambivalence about what I consider to be one of the great musicals of the 20th century (sure, some others feels differently) and "Ragtime" invariably is a great pleasure for me. Griffin's production gives this material new oomph even as it is approaches every note with the utmost determination and respect."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"..."Ragtime," the feverish portrait of America in the early shape-changing decades of the 20th century, may very well be the most underrated of all American musicals. Adapted from the landmark 1975 novel by E.L Doctorow - with an altogether ravishing and impassioned score by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, and a book by Terrence McNally - it captures so many aspects of this country's history and character, and so much of our multi-faceted musical fabric, and laces them together with such beauty and brilliance, that along the way you have to catch your breath."
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Hedy Weiss

Daily Herald - Highly Recommended

"...With every production I see, "Ragtime's" appeal grows. And each time, I appreciate that much more composer Stephen Flaherty's joyous, Joplinesque score, Lynn Ahrens' illuminating lyrics and Terrence McNally's canny book."
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Barbara Vitello

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...So much goes right in Griffin Theatre Company's warm, welcoming revival of Terrence McNally, Lynn Ahrens, and Stephen Flaherty's 1998 musical adaptation of E. L. Doctorow's 1975 novel-director Scott Weinstein's staging is strong, his ensemble tight and energetic, and William Boles's inspired scenic design pulls it all together-that it makes the flaws in the show all the more apparent."
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Jack Helbig

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Scott Weinstein, inarguably at this point one of the most visionary young directors on the rise in the city, stages the musical in the round, with a multi-tiered set by William Boles that allows the large cast to move among the audience. This is one major step toward making Ragtime’s three main, intertwined storylines, as well as its many offshoots, feel equally accessible."
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Kris Vire

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...Playwright Terrence McNally's adaptation of Doctorow's novel is a model of dramatic concision, and Weinstein's taut direction keeps an intricate story spinning forward. So well integrated are the musical numbers, both the big ensemble productions and the songs of personal reflection, that it's easy to lose sight of where speech ends and lyric flight begins. Griffin's show enjoys a vocally solid cast of skilled actors. Matt Deichtman has adroitly distilled the original orchestration to the care of just two pianos (Jermaine Hill and Ellen Morris) and clarinet (Dan Hickey) - though several of the actors occasionally pick up a violin, flute or other instrument."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

ChicagoCritic - Somewhat Recommended

"...Director Scott Weinstein, who directed the fabulous Titanic for Griffin Theatre, had major sound and staging miscues that hurt his production of Ratime. Perhaps it was were I was seated? Weinstein used a runway staging that split the audience into three sections. I was seated in the section nearest to the two pianos and the clarinet. The sound of the pianos was extremely loud drowning out much of the solo and group singing. Perhaps it was were I was seated? If so, then about a thrid of any audience will have problems hearing mush of this terrific score? Add the fact that many of the sound cues (when to turn on the mics) were a few second late and that several key character's mics were NEVER on throught the performance making their dialog and their songs impossible to hear. The Little Boy, Mother's Younger Brother and Sarah's mics were never on."
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Tom Williams

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...The production works because of all the pieces fitting together. I always say that the ensemble makes the difference in a musical, and this ensemble proves it beyond a doubt! In addition to the aforementioned actors, the following actors who take on several roles are a treat to watch. They are:"
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago - Recommended

"...The high production values (along with Matt Deitchman's novel orchestrations and the music direction of Jermaine Hill and Ellen Morris) go a long way to paper over the uneven and often contrived story lines. Heck, even the theater's bar has a swank, speakeasy feel to it and the production as a whole sings with an infectious groove."
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Noel Schecter

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...“Ragtime,” is much welcome in its return to Chicago this Spring. In a somewhat modest production, Scott Weinstein has directed this wonderful, Tony Award-winning piece, sparing none of its drama or humorous moments. He consistently maintains the integrity of the original production while supplying his own unique energy and drive that are make its themes as contemporary as today. The show’s lush vocal sound, magnificent musical accompaniment and the stirring performances of this 20-member cast is guaranteed to bring audiences to their feet by the final curtain. Just be sure to bring a handkerchief with you, because your eyes will be filled with tears."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Musical Theatre - Highly Recommended

"...There is not a weak link in the ensemble, whose energy and stamina is impressive. In the two-and-a-half hour run time, hardly anyone gets a break for longer than 5 minutes, and many chorus members not only juggle multiple minor characters but also provide supplemental instrumentation to the two pianos and assorted woodwind instruments that form the bedrock of Matt Deitchman’s brand new orchestrations."
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Bryson David Hoff

Third Coast Review - Recommended

"...Ragtime still resonates in this Griffin Theatre production. Thanks to several strong performances, the evening remains an engaging one, a historical marker of our own progress as well as the continuing struggles we face as a country. It's hard not to leave with hope for a brighter future, as the ensemble's song swells to fill the house and the adorable Coalhouse Walker III (Blace McGraw) runs up to join them. A brighter America awaits us, and we play a part in its history."
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Brent Eickhoff

Picture This Post - Recommended

"...The charisma oozing from several of the leads puts Ragtime on the short list of best plays to see this early summer. Katherine Thomas and Denzel Tsopnang bring beautiful voices and moving acting to two especially lovely songs -"Your Daddy's Son" and "Sarah Brown Eyes". Throwing his body and voice into every line and lyric, Jason Richards' portrayal of Tateh is so magnetic you feel pulled to his chest along with The Little Girl. When he and Laura McClain as The Mother sing "Our Children" they muster the full sweetness of the song. These are all gripping and compelling performances. We are duly grabbed."
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Amy Munice

  Ragtime Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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