Spotlight: RAGTIME

By Ursula Terlecki

I love musical theatre. I’ve wanted to be in a production since I was little and am convinced that if it wasn’t for my lack of singing ability, patience to study and memorize long texts, and little formal dance training I would have already accepted a Tony Award.

When a couple of weeks ago we were presented with the opportunity to experience The Shaw Festival and see the season’s marquee production Ragtime, we said yes without hesitation. This was the perfect way to kick of our summer of doing all things local.

The Shaw Festival is one of North America’s most celebrated theatre companies. For more than fifty years, The Shaw has surprised, provoked, and entertained audiences by presenting insightful and compelling stories about the human condition. Ragtime is a perfect fit for The Shaw as it touches on what the festival stands for.

Eyes open wide, jaw on the floor – from the second the musical stared until it ended, almost three hours later, I was captivated. Every few minutes I would turn to my husband to see if his reaction was the same as mine to the song we just heard, costume we saw glide across the stage, or monologue that was recited to tear jerking perfection.

This musical portrait showcases an era of innovation and unrest set to the rhythms of ragtime. A sweeping saga of turn-of-the-century America, seen through the eyes of three very different families of suburban New Rochelle, Harlem and New York City’s Lower East Side. It’s a heady tale of love lost and won, lives lost and saved and a country struggling to define itself.

Would we recommend making the short trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake to discover this brilliant theatrical vision of Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell?  Absolutely!

If you can, include a tasting at one of many award-winning wineries, a delicious dinner, or extend your visit and stay at a luxury boutique hotel or intimate B&B.

At the Shaw Festival Photo: Filip Terlecki

Photo: Filip Terlecki

Photo: Filip Terlecki

Photo: Filip Terlecki

Photo: Filip Terlecki

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