How do you like your musicals? Big and splashy? Thoughtful and substantive? Ragtime, a panorama of American life at the turn of the twentieth century, has something for everyone. So much is happening in this show that it's too ambitious for most theaters to even attempt. But this joint venture between the Washington University Performing Arts Department and the Black Rep proved to be a marvelous match. The students rose to the challenge of being treated as professionals; director Ron Himes (producing director of the Black Rep) was inspired by the enthusiasm of his malleable cast to do outstanding work. Would that more such collaborations would occur; this one was so efficiently staged, and there was so much to see, absorb and think about, that there was no time to remember that we were being entertained by college students. Like one of the show's most enthralling songs, this entire production rode on the "Wheels of a Dream."
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