Macon Little Theatre begins its 2018-19 season — it’s 85th season — with “Ragtime.”
“We wanted to kick the new season off with a big show that reflects the talent we have,” said Sylvia Haynie, artistic manager for MLT and director of “Ragtime.”
“It’s a big musical and a big story — it’s epic. It covers about 10 years in the early 1900s. We have a large cast of more than 40 with 10 people involved in the live production crew. It’s going to be a great evening of entertainment — for sure.”
As always, Haynie said, MLT’s standard for choosing plays is audience enjoyment and MLT’s available talent.
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“This is a perfect match,” she said. “It’s a delightful, proven audience-favorite since first being staged in 1996 and it’s a great showcase for the many wonderful singers we have and our powerful choral music sound.”
As you would expect, “Ragtime” includes ragtime music, but Haynie said there is also gospel, march and cakewalk styles.
“The music is beautiful and integral to the story,” she said. “The score is used in interesting ways, continuing through and underscoring scenes more like a soundtrack in a modern film.”
The musical is based on E. L. Doctorow’s 1975 novel. In it, he portrays historical facts and personalities along with his own created characters and storyline to develop a larger story and message.”
“As well as entertaining, it’s a very timely show,” Haynie said. “It describes a transitional time in our history with its struggles between people of different races and cultural and economic situations. It cuts across to tell the stories of ordinary people. There are the story’s characters but you’ll also recognize people like Harry Houdini, Booker T. Washington, Henry Ford and J.P. Morgan, too.”
Haynie said she believes the U.S. is “at a similar turning point” today.
And, she said “Ragtime” is a lively production because — well — it’s ragtime, and ragtime is lively.
“We’re so happy to have Jenny Morris choreograph it and Laura Voss as musical director,” Haynie said. “It adds up to a wonderful celebration in music and dance and a great, great story.”
Haynie said a commissioned photo-art exhibit is featured in the MLT lobby for the production displaying many of the New York scenes mentioned in “Ragtime.” She also said cast members have created a display with notes about their own origins and what brought them to where they are now. Audience members are encouraged to participate by leaving their own notes during the run of the play. Also, Haynie said special pricing will be available July 18 for people working in education.
Where: Macon Little Theatre, 4220 Forsyth Road
When: 8 p.m. July 13-14, 18-21, 2:30 p.m. July 15 and 22
Cost: $20 adults, $15 seniors, $10 students
Information: www.maconlittletheatre.org, 478-471-7529