Ragtime at SSU – Reflecting Our Struggles 100 Years Later

Images by Benjamin Rose Photography

When: April 18, 19, and 20 @ 7:30 pm
Prelude Conversation to be held on April 18th @ 6:30 in the Sophia Gordon Center.

Click here to buy tickets.


Ragtime at Salem State University’s Center for the Arts opened this past weekend to local critical acclaim, and the department is gearing up for its second and final weekend of shows.

Set at the turn of the 20th century, Ragtime is a sweeping narrative based on E.L. Doctorow’s 1975 novel by the same name. It tells a distinctly American story through three interwoven narratives: a stifled housewife from New Rochelle who enjoys a comfortable life yearns to break free, a Harlem musician who seeks justice and a poor  Jewish immigrant who fights to find the American.

“Although it is set at the turn of the 20th century, it is very much a story of today,” says Karen Gahagan, Director for the Center for Creative and Performing Arts at SSU. “Look at the headlines as we continue to struggle to co-exist in ‘the melting pot that never melted.’”

Ragtime reflects our struggles 100 years later: the until immigrants in our country are treated with dignity and respect,” explains the show’s director Peter Sampieri. “Until African-Americans receive equal justice under the law, until women have the same political/economic agency as men, we will never ‘reach that day.’”

Due to the grand scale of these Spring productions Salem State University’ only does a musical every other year. For this production, over 70 students, faculty, staff and guest artists have come together to make this possible.

“The world of the show has been carefully crafted down to the tiniest detail,” Gahagan describes. “We have a fantastic live orchestra, the costumes are exquisite, the set is actually very simple in structure but it does all the things required to tell the story and it is beautifully lit.

“This is art doing what it does best,” she adds.


Salem State’s Center for the Arts is offering a $5 discount to the April 18, 19 and 20 performances of the musical Ragtime at the Sophia Gordon Center. Use the code: CC2019. Tickets available at:

www. salemstatetickets.com or 978.542.6365. Not appropriate for young children.

About Salem State University’s Center for the Arts

The Center for Creative & Performing Arts sponsors over 100 high quality, affordable, diverse events in art, dance, creative writing, theatre and music, presenting world class visiting artists and student performances.

Learn more at www.salemstate.edu/arts

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