Revised 'Rags' is much richer

Critic's choice: Theater

July 04, 1999|By J. Wynn Rousuck

The spirit of Independence Day continues later this week when Towson University's Maryland Arts Festival presents a musical based on a highly American theme -- the immigrant experience.

With a book by Joseph Stein ("Fiddler on the Roof") and a score by Charles Strouse ("Annie") and Stephen Schwartz ("Godspell"), "Rags: Children of the Wind" sounded promising when it opened on Broadway in 1986. And indeed, the score is absolutely lush.

But the Broadway production suffered from various problems, including a confusing plot, and the show closed after only four performances. Since then, revised versions have met with success around the country. The Maryland Arts Festival's rendition, which opens Saturday, is based on the 1991 Sony CD and will be the musical's Baltimore-Washington premiere.

"Rags" will be presented through July 24 in Towson University's Stephens Hall Theater, 7900 York Road. Tickets are $18 and $21. Call 410-830-2787.

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