JJP stages melting pot musical

New York City at the turn of the 20th century epitomized the proverbial “melting pot,” bubbling with tensions from class and ethnic divisions, prejudice and assumptions. Through it all, one wealthy white family, Jewish immigrants and African-Americans discover America’s limitations and potential.

It’s all captured in the stage musical “Ragtime,” based on E.L. Doctorow’s 1975 novel. Through musical forms such as marches, cakewalks, gospel and the titular syncopations, it pulls audiences into the conditions that led to the United States’ unique spot in global history.

Tony Award-winning “Ragtime” closes out Joe Jefferson Players’ 70th season in lavish fashion. Its roiling onstage saga is perfect for the month before Independence Day.

The show runs June 1-17 at Joe Jefferson Playhouse (11 S. Carlen St.). Friday and Saturday curtain is 7:30 p.m.; Sunday matinee is 2 p.m.

For tickets and information, call 251-471-1534 or go to joejeffersonplayers.com.


Form and function highlighted at MAC

The state’s architecture is more than practical, it’s a window into our history. Ways of life, values and perspectives are locked into its forms.

“Celebration and Preservation” is an exhibit of 25 drawings highlighting the periods and tastes of previous Alabamians. It will be at the Mobile Arts Council (318 Dauphin St.) in June as it travels the state for Alabama’s bicentennial.

Various periods — Federal, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Romanesque, Mission Revival — are represented. A 32-page catalog accompanies the show, sponsored by the Alabama Architectural Foundation.

For more information, call 251-432-9796 or go to mobilearts.org.


Mobile Opera season shows jealousy’s faces

If hot blood and Italian masters suit your taste, you don’t want to miss the season Mobile Opera just announced. A trio of jealousy-centered classics form its spine — two comedic, one dramatic — and one harkens back to the company’s inception.

Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” comes to The Temple at Claiborne and St. Francis on Oct. 19 and 20. Figaro and Count Almaviva plot to purloin Rosina from the watch of a jealous guardian. Rascally yet ham-handed antics buoy the plot to its happy finale.

Wolf-Ferrari’s “The Secret of Susanna” on Feb. 16 at Murphy High School Auditorium will flesh out the customary Winter Gala with this special nod to history. The same work in the same venue marked the first Mobile Opera production 72 years ago. Like the season opener, this comedy about jealousy and suspicion has an upbeat ending.

Puccini’s “The Cloak” is the closer for a dark trilogy that began with “Gianni Schicchi” and “Suor Angelica.” Its central jealousy doesn’t kill with laughter, but with old-fashioned violence. It takes place March 22 and 24 at The Temple.

For more information on these works or season tickets, call 251-432-6772 or go to mobileopera.org.