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  • Writer's pictureEilish C.

American Rhapsody: Where Music is America's True Melting Pot

American Rhapsody - MusicalFare Theatre - February 23, 2022

What can a classical white pianist learn from a black jazz pianist to help him play George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue? So starts the premise of American Rhapsody at MusicalFare Theatre, which takes the audience on a 70 minute journey through the history of music in America. Not knowing anything about the show going into it, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was happily surprised by not only the story strung together with American classics, but the incredible performances by the 6 actors in the show as well as a few off-stage musicians. The two piano players perform different pieces together with 4 actors in a clever maneuver upstage to further their performances, singing and dancing along to the well-known pieces.


A stand-out is the number of St. Louis Blues where I felt like I was enjoying an incredible performance at Bittersweet Piano Lounge!



While explaining the influence that music has on different composers, we are shown the impact that jazz, blues, and ragtime had on George Gershwin and how you have to understand where the musical influences come from to understand how to perform a song built from those eras. Mixed in are the political and social influences that also had an impact throughout American history. While some ideas are taken from others because there is profit to be had, one of my favorite lines of the show is that "music can be America's true melting pot," as musicians can build off what they hear from others and create something themselves

The culmination of the show is the incredible performance of Rhapsody in Blue, which is further enhanced by the superb lighting design. That number alone is worth the price of admission, and feels like you are at a BPO concert performance! I would highly recommend catching this production before it closes and can't wait for what MusicalFare does next!!


The show runs at MusicalFare through March 27th, 2022 and tickets are available at https://musicalfare.com/shows/mainstage/event:american-rhapsody-2021/. Note that proof of vaccination is required and masks must be worn the entire time in the theater.

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