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Release: Jan. 12, 2001

'Ragtime' comes to UI Hancher Auditorium Jan. 30 to Feb. 4

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Tony Award-winning musical "Ragtime," based on E.L. Doctorow’s best-selling epic of the American dream at the turn of the 20th century, will take up residence in the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium for eight shows: at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Jan. 30 to Feb. 2; and at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 3 and 4.

In addition to four 1997-98 Tony Awards, the Broadway production of "Ragtime" captured five Drama Desk Award including "Outstanding Musical" and two Outer Critics Circle Awards including "Outstanding Broadway Musical."

The musical earned unreserved praise from the critics. A Time magazine review called the show "a brilliant work of musical storytelling, social comment and canny staging that marks a glorious culmination for the American musical at the end of its first century," and the New Yorker dubbed it "the last great musical of the century."

The critic of the New York Daily News chimed in, calling "Ragtime" "a mesmerizing, triumphant and enthralling musical. The essence of ‘Ragtime’s’ originality is its boldness and stunning power. A vast kaleidoscope with a brilliant book, breathtaking sets, big stirring numbers and gorgeous melodies. ‘Ragtime’ is thrillingly entertaining." And the Toronto Star-Ledger proclaimed, "A genuine masterpiece, ‘Ragtime’ is one of those rare musicals that can be mentioned in the same breath as ‘Show Boat,’ ‘Porgy and Bess’ and ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’ . . . Likely to be the most memorable musical that you will ever experience."

The Chicago Tribune agreed: "In the reach of its ambition and in the grasp of its achievement, Ragtime stands as one of the great American musicals."

"Ragtime," the musical of a new century, is the story of three dreamers -- an African-American who dreams of a life of equality for his family, a Jewish immigrant who dreams of prosperity in a new country, and a wife who dreams to move beyond the confines of her structured existence.

In story and song, "Ragtime" intertwines the adventures of these fictional characters with prominent historical figures including Emma Goldman, Henry Ford, J.P. Morgan, Harry Houdini, Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, Admiral Robert Peary and Booker T. Washington.

These are characters familiar to film audiences everywhere through Milos Forman’s award-winning film epic of "Ragtime."

The Doctorow story was adapted for the stage by Pulitzer Prize winner Terrence McNally, the playwright of "Kiss of the Spider Woman," "Lips Together, Teeth Apart," "Frankie and Johnny at the Claire de Lune" and "The Ritz."

The team of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens wrote the Tony-winning music and the lyrics.

The score is based on the music referred to in the title, the syncopated precursor of jazz that was popular at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. It was a music that, like the country that produced it, was an amalgam of cultures and traditions -- a new music both familiar and revolutionary that emerged from the clash and the communication of those cultures. And in that sense, ragtime music becomes a powerful symbol for bustling New York of the musical "Ragtime."

Corporate sponsors of "Ragtime" are KHAK-FM/KDAT-FM/KRNA-FM through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets for the Tuesday through Thursday "Ragtime" performances are $55, $45 and $30 ($44, $36 and $24 for UI students, senior citizens and youth. Tickets for the Friday and Saturday evening performances are $60, $50 and $35. Tickets for the Saturday matinee and both Sunday performances are $60, $50 and $35 ($48, $40 and $28 for UI students, senior citizens and youth).

Box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail at <>.

People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

For UI arts information, visit this new address -- -- on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <>. Learn about "Ragtime" at <>. The "Ragtime" website includes an extensive study guide for teachers and parents.