In the interwoven stories, black, white and Jewish, the musical chronicles a moment at which the dominant culture is losing its exclusive grip and the nation is loosening up, becoming truly polyglot. A culture immersing itself in new ways of thinking is emerging, too, symbolized by the presence of historical figures, from intellectual heavyweights such as Emma Goldman (Donna Migliaccio) and Booker T. Washington (Eric Jordan Young), to wizards such as Henry Ford (Aaron Galligan-Stierle) and Harry Houdini (Jonathan Hammond), to tabloid sensations like the scandalous Evelyn Nesbit (Leigh Ann Larkin). All the costumes, by the way, are from the closet of the original Broadway production.
The spareness of the portable set pieces aids Dodge in her fluid staging; it's all in service to an era that itself is picking up speed. To lyricist Lynn Ahrens and composer Stephen Flaherty's period tempos, the actors perform in the unison of a newfangled assembly line, or dance the sensuous steps of a rag.