This year St. Paul Performing Arts presents a chance to see the 1986 Broadway musical, “Rags.”
Set in 1910, “Rags” follows the story of Rebecca, a young Russian immigrant mother, arriving in America with her son, David, and forced to work in a sweatshop to survive while she endeavors to find her husband. The joy of finding him, however, soon turns to anguish when she discovers that he has rejected much of his ethnic culture, in an attempt to assimilate with American society. Struggling to reconcile their differences and make a new life for themselves, “Rags” is a tale of identity, love and loss amid the hardship of immigrant life.
With a jazz and ragtime style, the score encompasses the story’s mélange of cultures with influences from Klezmer, Irish folk, American honky-tonk, Greek, and Middle Eastern Music. At its heart, it is a patriotic story about people who are willing to sacrifice virtually everything, even their lives, in order to live in America. The score features such tunes as “Brand New World,” “Blame It on the Summer Night,” “Children of the Wind” and the title tune, “Rags.”
This year’s cast is comprised of 35 talented drama students, chorus members, dancers, and a stage crew of 12.
A press release from the school noted “St. Paul for the past few years has won dozens of awards for their work in musical theatre locally and nationally, recently winning for a second year in a row the ‘Outstanding Production of the Year’ amongst all high schools in the state. Senior, Chiara Giampietro, winner of the “Outstanding Leading Actress” award for 2015 is taking on the lead role of Rebecca. Last year, Chiara represented St. Paul and the state of Connecticut at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York, making her Broadway Debut at the Minskoff theatre. Her appearance marked St. Paul’s third time at the nationals, a record no other high school in the country has yet to achieve.
“Rags” was written by Joseph Stein (book), Stephen Schwartz (lyrics), and Charles Strouse (music).
Performance dates are Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 24 at 2 p.m. at St. Paul Catholic High School, 1001 Stafford Ave., Bristol. Tickets are $15 to $20. All seats reserved. For more information, call (860) 584-0911 or visit www.spchs.com. Ticket sales begin Tuesday, March 29.