When: Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Sat., Aug. 19, 2 p.m. Continues through Aug. 19
E.L. Doctorow's novel Ragtime is about three of the many Americas that existed at the start of the twentieth century. There are the immigrants, as personified by the Jewish man Tateh and his daughter; the black Americans, here 300 years and still on the outside of everything, represented by the musician Coalhouse and his girl, Sarah; and there are the established, comfortable families, in this case temporarily headed by Mother while her husband participates in a scientific expedition. What do these three strands of society have in common? Not much, but over time they can — and will — weave together and form a new image of America. The musical version of Ragtime, adapted by Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, sets the story in the framework of the American art form, revealing the faith and courage required to pursue a new life. Stray Dog Theatre closes its current season with Ragtime. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday (August 3 to 19) at the Tower Grove Abbey (2336 Tennessee Avenue; www.straydogtheatre.org). There are additional shows at 8 p.m. Wednesday, August 16, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, August 19. Tickets are $20 to $25.