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Dolphin Show 2011 Presents "Ragtime"

Performances of annual student production run from Jan. 21 through 29

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January 21, 2011 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. ---  “Ragtime” -- a Tony Award-winning musical portrait of life in turn-of-the-century America -- will be presented this month at Northwestern University as the 69th Annual Dolphin Show. The show is one of the country’s largest student-produced musicals.

This year’s Dolphin Show will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21; 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22; 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 23; 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28; and 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29, at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., on the University’s Evanston campus.

A collaboration of the award-winning composer and lyricist team of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (“Once on This Island,” “Seussical,” “Lucky Stiff”) and noted playwright Terrence McNally (“Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Master Class”), “Ragtime” is based on E.L. Doctorow’s novel of the same title.

The nostalgic musical weaves the stories of three diverse groups as they confront history’s timeless contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair, and what it means to live in America. Among the show’s main characters are a musician from Harlem, a “WASP” family matriarch and a Latvian Jewish immigrant.

First directed on Broadway in 1998 by Northwestern alumnus and Professor Emeritus Frank Galati, the show received 13 Tony nominations and won four Tony awards, including best original score.

Ahrens and Flaherty’s Tony-winning score draws upon musical styles popular during the early years of the 20th century. The show includes the ragtime rhythms of Harlem and Tin Pan Alley, the klezmer sounds of New York’s Lower East Side, brass band marches, gospel songs, waltzes and parlor songs of the period.

The Jan. 21 to 29 Northwestern production is directed by senior Michael Holtzman and produced by students Julie Boor and Lucas McMahon.

The Dolphin Show evolved from a 1940s swim team fundraiser to an annual professional-caliber musical production. Working on every aspect of the production, the students serve as on-stage talent and behind-the-scenes crew members, marketing managers and fundraisers.

For more information on the 2011 Dolphin Show visit http://www.nudolphinshow.org.

Single tickets to the 2011 Dolphin Show are $25 for the general public; $20 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $10 for students and children.

Tickets are available at the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall box office, by calling Pick-Staiger at (847) 467-4000 or by clicking on the “All Event Listings” followed by the “Non-School of Music Events” icons at www.pickstaiger.org.

Tickets also are available online at www.nudolphinshow.org and may be purchased at the door prior to each performance, subject to ticket availability.

Nathalie Rayter, a senior in the School of Education and Social Policy, contributed to this story.