WEDNESDAY 2/19-SATURDAY 2/29. Argenta Community Theater.
Like so many other stellar plays of our time — “Angels in America,” “Hamilton,” “Topdog/Underdog” — “Ragtime” has a way of feeling like it was programmed at exactly the right moment, for the right sociopolitical setting. Premiered in Toronto in 1996, but set in New York nearly a century earlier, the beloved musical stares America down hard, tackling questions of fairness and freedom by viewing them through a trio of lenses — that of a family of Eastern European immigrants, a well-to-do white family in New Rochelle, N.Y., and a pair of black musicians working in Harlem. Its anthems have been the soundtrack for social justice actions — as when the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C., sang down protesters in Knoxville, Tenn., with a streetside rendition of “Make Them Hear You” — and complex characters like Sarah have been etched into memory by the likes of Audra McDonald. (Sarah is played here by the vocal-theatrical force of nature that is Satia Spencer.) The story is vital, the cast is stellar and you can bet on this being a production that makes good on Argenta Community Theater’s developing reputation as one of the most polished, forward-thinking playhouses in the region. Get tickets at argentacommunitytheater.org.