As we celebrate America’s independence this Fourth of July, why not take a break from barbecues and beer for a bit of musical theater? Here are some of our favorite shows that honor, explore, and occasionally even challenge the American Dream.
Based on the novel of the same name by E.L. Doctrow, Ahren’s and Flaherty’s Ragtime is a compelling epic capturing the American experience at the turn of the 20th century. Tracking three diverse families in pursuit of the American dream in the volatile “melting pot” of turn-of-the-century New York, Ragtime confronts the dialectic contradictions inherent in American reality: experiences of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair.
The seminal event in American history blazes to vivid life in this most unconventional of Broadway hits. 1776 puts a human face on the pages of history as we see the men behind the national icons: proud, frightened, uncertain, irritable, charming, often petty and ultimately noble figures, determined to do the right thing for a fledgling nation.
George M! tells the life story of George M. Cohan, a giant of the American musical theater who gave us such songs as “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “Over There,” “You’re A Grand Old Flag,” and “Give My Regards to Broadway.”
The Civil War
Drawing on letters, diaries, firsthand accounts and the words of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and Walt Whitman, the original Broadway production was nominated for multiple Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and features an unforgettable score filled with Gospel, Country, Rock and Folk by Frank Wildhorn.