This past weekend, my husband and I had the honor to attend “Ragtime” the musical at the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center. Let’s just say we were both blown away! Not only by the performance, but by the center itself, and that there’s a great resource to see a show in the greater Pittsburgh area that’s not downtown. Here’s a look at our experience.
Going into the evening, I didn’t know what to expect. I was unfamiliar with Lincoln Park, located in Midland, PA, but looking at the map I saw it was just outside of Beaver. I love the little town of Beaver, so we decided to make a night of it with dinner and drinks before the show at the Wooden Angel. This is a little gem located just outside of the main street in Beaver. It’s cozy with a great menu and it’s actually been recognized by Wine Spectator as one of the greatest wine lists in the world. Not only that, but it’s the only restaurant in all of Western PA to receive a Best of the Award of Excellence. Who knew?
After dinner, we drove about 10 minutes over to Midland to the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center. The building looks brand new and once we were inside, we saw the impressive theater and set. In speaking to someone from the center, the perception they’ve received in the past from people is that they are a “high school musical” center. While they are attached to the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School, and the students do get to learn from the actors and crew, this is a state-of-the-art facility producing top-notch productions. In one word: this place is legit. (Sorry, Zac Efron.)
“Ragtime” told the story of three different different groups of people in the early 20th century, and shows the differences and racial tension between African Americans, white suburbanites, and Eastern European immigrants. A really timely topic now, too. The Broadway production of “Ragtime” has been nominated for 12 Tony Awards and was the winner of four. And I could see why. The story was really powerful and the cast was phenomenal, with amazing voices. I was blown away to read that the cast member who played Sarah had just graduated from Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School! (Amanda Gross.) While I don’t want to pick favorites, I really liked her and Tru Verret-Fleming, who played Coalhouse Walker. Check out the article the Beaver County Times did on the show here. They called it a grand performance with epic storytelling. I totally agree.
After the show, we got to go on stage and backstage and see the impressive set and orchestra pit (there was a 20-piece orchestra!) and learned this show went on in just six weeks. I can’t even learn the lyrics to a T. Swift song in that time let alone put on an entire production. Wow.
All in all, I was so happy with my experience at Lincoln Arts Performing Arts Center seeing “Ragtime”. While we have great theaters and performances in the Cultural District in Downtown Pittsburgh, Midland is a nice alternative not too far away, so I hope more people take advantage of the caliber of theater we have just north of the city. And for a way more affordable price.
You still have a few chances to see the show this weekend! Check out the remaining showtimes here.
Want to win tickets to see “Ragtime” for yourself? All you have to do is leave a comment below. Let me know what your favorite musical is! (The winner will receive two tickets for this Saturday, June 23 at 7:30 p.m.) I’ll choose a winner at random on Wednesday, June 20.
Note: I was compensated to write a blog post but all these thoughts are truly my own. Thank you to Lincoln Park for the tickets and backstage experience!