The Perry Players’ opened “Ragtime: The Musical” last weekend, delighting audiences with a thought-provoking production, set more than 100 years ago, that tells the story of three groups of people.
“We have about 170 seats, and this past weekend, we had pretty close to 170 each night,” said Hunter Hufnagel, artistic director. “The audiences have raved about this show being one of the best shows they have seen … the people who are coming to see it said it is by far the best thing they have seen at Perry Players. People are really liking the show.”
Based on the 1975 novel by E. L. Doctorow, the musical received several Tony nominations. It tells a story about the melting pot of America and what was happening in the early 20th century: politically, socially and in people’s houses, Hufnagel said. The show portrays white people, black people and immigrants through three different families that collide during the early 1900s. In addition to the three families, the musical also features many real historical people in America who lived during that time period.
“It’s a very accurate depiction of the time period and tells a very engaging story,” Hufnagel said. “It is one of my favorite musicals…one of my top favorites. It is one of the first shows I ever directed. I was in high school at the time and had a lead part in it. I have a lot of affection for the show.”
With 55 people in this two-and a half hour musical, Hufnagel said he feels he has some of the most impressive talent in Middle Georgia.
“I have been overwhelmed with the amount of talent that has been in the show since the beginning,” he said.
Although regular attendees are loving the show, Hufnagel said people who typically don’t go to the theater would enjoy the musical as well.
“It is very entertaining and impactful,” he said. “People are practically giving standing ovations after every number in the show.
Justin Carr, who has been performing on stages for 20 years and plays the part of Tateh, a Jewish immigrant, said, “It has been a wonderful experience performing with the stage veterans and people that are new to the stage in this cast.”
Carr said that a unique fact about this show is that “the entire stage, including backdrop and stage floor, is a hand painted replica of the front page of The New York Times from 1906.”
“ ’Ragtime’ is on my list of top five favorite musicals,” Carr said. “I am in love with the music and story in this musical ... this story is especially meaningful to me because my mother and her family came to America as immigrants.”
Hufnagel said the upcoming performances will be held July 19-21 and 26-28, at 7:30 p .m. and at 2:30 July 22. The last weekend of the show will be July 26-28 at 7:30 p.m. General admission is $20. Tickets are $18 for active military, students with ID and seniors 60 and older. Hufnagel said it is the last show where season tickets can be purchased for the 2018-2019 season.