“Ragtime” was a joyous musical event that really showcased the new ZACH Theatre amazingly. The first show to run in the new Topfer Theatre was the uplifting production featuring more than 50 actors and a full orchestra.
“Ragtime” is set in the early 20th century and is the story of how people from different backgrounds and cultures grow and come together in the greater New York area. The audience was easily able to fall in love with the key characters in the new intimate setting in the theatre. Topfer seats 420, but the layout is perfect for the audience to enjoy the intimate setting and gives the impression that the performance is just for you.
The songs, including the namesake “Ragtime” which came from the Harlem community, were a great mix of upbeat songs that made you want to dance in the aisle, to the more serious to help tell some of the darker parts of the plot. The costumes and scenery were both impressive, yet nothing was too flashy or took away from the plot and the overall storyline.
The sound and lighting in the new theatre are extremely impressive and the audience burst into huge applause after all of the big songs, almost as if the theatre was part of the cast the way it highlights every note and chorus. While the show was a lot of fun and felt like it could truly be part of the history of our country, the new theatre was a huge highlight for me, and I’m looking forward to bigger and brighter shows in Austin as part of this impressive new venue.
ZACH’s Producing Artistic Director Dave Steakley choose Ragtime for the opening of the new theater “because it is of an epic scale befitting our grand opening, it allows us to use all the new technology we have invested in, it will involve large segments of our community with a cast of 50 actors, it has never been produced locally, it was written by native Texan Terrence McNally, it creates the opportunity to have a full orchestra for the first time in our history, it has roles for youth to perform, it has a multi-racial cast, and thematically it has much to say about this time in ZACH’s life and in our lives as Americans, as some characters welcome and embrace change, while others struggle with it.”
Ragtime runs through November 18, 2012 and tickets can be purchased here.