Ragtime Version 2 is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.MTIShows.com 

RAGTIME
June 2-11, 2017 at Centrepointe Theatres

Book by Terrence McNally

Music by Stephen Flaherty

Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens

Based on the novel "RAGTIME" by E. L. Doctorow

Running time: 2 hours and 30 minutes (approx.)

Audience: Not recommended for children. Parental discretion is advised. 

Featured Photos
About the show
Video
 

Written by the award-winning composer/lyricist team of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (Once On This Island, Seussical and Lucky Stiff), noted playwright Terrence McNally, and based on E.L. Doctorow's distinguished novel, Ragtime is the winner of the 1998 Tony Awards for Best Score, Book and Orchestrations, and both the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical and Best Score. Called by Time Magazine "A triumph for the stage," and by the International Herald Tribune "the best musical in twenty years," this acclaimed musical is filled with pageantry, emotion and hope, bursting onto the stage like no other musical.

 

At the dawn of a new century, everything is changing… and anything is possible. Set in the volatile melting pot of turn-of-the-century New York, three distinctly American tales are woven together -- that of a stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant and a daring young Harlem musician -- united by their courage, compassion and belief in the promise of the future. Together they confront history's timeless contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair, and what it means to live in America.

 

The Tony-winning score is just as diverse as the melting pot of America itself, drawing upon many musical styles from the ragtime rhythms of Harlem and Tin Pan Alley to the klezmer of the Lower East Side, from bold brass band marches to delicate waltzes, from up-tempo banjo tunes to period parlor songs and expansive anthems. A truly unique and powerful portrait of America, Ragtime is sure to inspire actors and audiences alike!

Click here to read the full synopsis of the show!

HISTORY

This version of Ragtime was first prepared by the authors for its European premiere as a concert version, staged as part of the first International Festival of Musical Theatre, which was held in Cardiff (Wales, UK) from October 13 to November 3, 2002. The text was revised slightly to allow the show to be done with minimal sets and props. The concert was subsequently broadcast on television, and starred Maria Friedman as Mother, Graham Bickley as Tateh, Laurence Hamilton as Coalhouse Walker, Jr., Dave Willets as Father, and Kenita Miller as Sarah. The British producer Sonia Friedman transferred the show, with several cast changes, to the Picadilly Theatre in London's West End, where it opened on March 19, 2003.

Both the Cardiff concert and the West End productions were directed by Stafford Arima, who created a modernistic and streamlined interpretation of the show, using only black chairs to represent the piano, the Model T, the railing of a ship, etc, proving that the show could be produced without the huge scenic effects for which it had been known in its original Broadway incarnation. The show received rave reviews in the British press.

INSPIRATION

Ragtime is based on E.L. Doctorow's epic novel of the same name. In 1994, Canadian theatrical producer Garth Drabinsky secured permission to musicalize the Doctorow's story. Published in 1975, Ragtime, the novel, itself is historical fiction inspired by actual events in New York City at the turn of the 20th Century. Real historical figures such as Emma Goldman, Henry Ford, J.P. Morgan, Evelyn Nesbit and Harry Houdini all feature prominently in both the novel and the musical.

 

PRODUCTIONS

Ragtime first opened in Toronto in December of 1996. The show featured a score by songwriters Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, book by veteran playwright Terrence McNally, direction by Frank Galati and choreography by Graciela Daniele. The first American production premiered in Los Angeles in June of 1997, where work continued. The show finally arrived on Broadway on January 18, 1998, christening the brand-new Ford Center for the Performing Arts. The legendary original cast included Brian Stokes Mitchell as Coalhouse Walker Jr., Audra McDonald as Sarah, Marin Mazzie as Mother, Peter Friedman as Tateh, and Judy Kaye as Emma Goldman.

 

Subsequent to its Broadway run, Ragtime received two national tours. In 2003, the London production, which presented the show on a more intimate scale, opened to great acclaim, earning 8 Olivier nominations.

 

In 2009, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts staged a technically pared down version of the show, and that production moved to Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre. Previews began October 23, 2009 and the show officially opened on November 15, 2009. The revival cast featured Stephanie Umoh (Sarah), Quentin Earl Darrington (Coalhouse Walker, Jr.), Christiane Noll (Mother), Robert Petkoff (Tateh), Bobby Steggert (Younger Brother), Donna Migliaccio (EmmaGoldman) and Ron Bohmer (Father). The production was directed and choreographed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge. This was the first Broadway revival of Ragtime and the first Broadway revival of any 1990's musical. Though the production opened to critical acclaim, the show closed on January 10, 2010 after 28 previews and 65 performances.

Video by Ragtime on Broadway 

CAST
 

Coalhouse Walker Jr.

Sarah

Mother

Father

Younger Brother

Grandfather

Tateh

Emma Goldman

Evelyn Nesbit

Sarah's Friend

Booker T. Washington

Houdini

J.P. Morgan

Little Boy

Little Girl

Harlem Ensemble

 

 

Immigrant Ensemble

New Rochelle Ensemble

Axandre Lemours

Tzeitel Abrego

Vivian Melsness

Dennis Van Staalduinen

Darren Bird

John Litster

Paul Melsness

Susanna Doherty

Erika Séguin

Carmella Gehrels

Antoine Collins

Adam Moscoe

Rick Burk

Colin Samojlenko

Michelle Sangalli

 

Shervon Amin

Damien Broomes

Marcus Jones

Jerusha Lewis

Sheril Shaw

Faduma Warsame

Brian Muma (understudy to Coalhouse)

 

Rick Burk

Tanya Chang

Rachel Duchesneau

Kelly Fuoco

Tate Holm (understudy to Evelyn)

Adam Linton

Sydney Maloney

Adam Moscoe

Rob Pretty

Doug Thicke

Trish Cleyn

Sharon Dickson

Rebecca Russell

Nina Vuleta

PRODUCTION TEAM
 
Directors
Bob Lackey
Artistic Director
Terry Duncan
Musical Director
Lisa Wagner
Choreographer
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Designers
Andrew Portolesi
Assistant Director
Cheryl Jarvis Woods
Assistant Musical Director
Nolla Timmins
Apprentice Choreographer
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Tony Walker
Set Designer
Susan Cole
Costume Designer
Pauline Doggett
Costume Designer
Mélanie Evans
Apprentice Costume Designer
Mike Thompson
Props Designer
Kim Shields
Hair & Makeup Designer
Rob Puchyr
Lighting Designer
John Cybanski
Sound Designer
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Production Team
Steven K. Jones
Executive Producer
Michael Kavcic
Producer
Joy Lackey
Production Assistant
Paul Matthew
Stage Manager
Murray Doggett
Master Carpenter & Technical Director
Linda Sabourin
Costume Production Manager
Pauline Doggett
Cutter
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Jenn Donnelly
Wardrobe Supervisor
Beckie Manoucherie
Wardrobe Supervisor
Bryan Jesmer
Social Convenor
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EXTRAS
 

Q&A with cast members Axandre Lemours & Tzeitel Abrego

As told to Kate Boone, Member of the Orpheus Publicity Committee

We recently sat down with Axandre Lemours and Tzeitel Abrego from the cast of Ragtime to discuss their upcoming roles.

Photo: Alan Dean Photography.

Photo: Alan Dean Photography.

Axandre Lemours (Colehouse Walker Jr.)

 

Why did you want to get involved with this particular production?

 

I think it’s because of how challenging the character of Colehouse was. I learned about how the stories of Colehouse and the New Rochelle crew and the immigrants all intersect and I was really interested in the themes the show explores. Also the music is great, which is my favourite part.

What would you say is the most challenging thing for you for bringing this show to life?

The acting part, just bringing the character alive from scene to scene, has taken up most of my time and brain power as I’m learning the lines. Just thinking about the intent and inflection behind every single one of Colehouse’s lines has been really interesting, and it’s definitely been helpful during blocking to have Bob Lackey there as well because he gives his own insight into the character as he progresses through the story. It has been challenging to get into that mindset, but I think I’m getting there.

What sort of person do you think is going to love this show?

I think that since it explores themes that are very relevant and important today – even though it takes place in turn of the century America – someone who is really into music and is also concerned with the flaws in our society. Someone who wants to see that kind of stuff explored in a different way on stage would be really interested in seeing the show, so I hope it attracts that kind of person – as well as all the crazy musical theatre kids.

What do you think the audience is going to take away from the show once they’ve seen it?

It ends it kind of an uplifting and inspiring way. I like that the epilogue explains what happens to each of the main characters, so I think they might be inspired to maybe be the change in their society or to become a part of that just as they hear these stories that happened to people in 1902.d struggles and troubles that everyone goes through – not even just the immigrants or the blacks (even the white people are also having their own problems) – everyone has their own problems in this piece. It’s clear now more than ever that we have not progressed as much as we like to think that we have because this kind of thing happens all the time. It happens every hour. We don’t see it, we’re very fortunate that it happens less in Canada, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not there. Hopefully it should help us understand people more than we did than we did before having seen Ragtime. Hopefully it will open people’s eyes a little in a different way.

I’m very proud of Ottawa, and I’m very proud of this company for putting on this beast of a show. Even professional companies in Canada rarely put on something like this. I am very proud of Orpheus for tackling this monster, and I think it’s going to be beautiful.

Tzeitel Abrego (Sarah)

 

Why did you want to be involved in this production?

 

Ragtime is a very important piece that speaks about different kinds of people and how they all are the same essentially; how all people, in their very core, want to be loved – and that’s basically the whole point of Ragtime. You see how alike everyone is through beautiful music and storytelling. Also, it’s so rarely produced, it’s a very demanding show – you need a diverse cast and crazy talent and sets and props and costumes, and the score is insane. It just seemed like a fantastic opportunity and I wanted to be a part of it.

 

What is the most challenging thing about bringing this script to life?

 

For me, I don’t have many lines in this show – I think I have three lines in Act 2. I think the most demanding thing is that the music is so challenging and intricate and it’s in complete service of the time and it serves the text, which is what you want out of any music. The text is so colourful and so delicious – so it’s perfecting that and then completely forgetting about it so that you can be the character. There’s a lot going on technically that you need to really master so that it’s second nature. I think that’s the case for any show, but for this one it’s a little more elevated. 

 

What sort of person do you think is going to love this show?

 

I think anyone who loves theatre and loves stories that aren’t necessarily spoon-feeding them everything. It’s easy to be entertained by this show, but it’s also not necessarily an easy watch. It’s fun and it’s family and it’s lively and colourful and the spectacle is there, but it’s so profound that the audience needs to be active. You need to put things together and you need to be your own puzzle-solver as you’re watching the show, and a lot of shows don’t require that. This particular show you need to be a little more attentive.

 

What will the audience be thinking about as they leave the theatre after seeing the show?

 

This piece is being produced at such a timely moment because all of the atrocities and struggles and troubles that everyone goes through – not even just the immigrants or the blacks (even the white people are also having their own problems) – everyone has their own problems in this piece. It’s clear now more than ever that we have not progressed as much as we like to think that we have because this kind of thing happens all the time. It happens every hour. We don’t see it, we’re very fortunate that it happens less in Canada, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not there. Hopefully it should help us understand people more than we did than we did before having seen Ragtime. Hopefully it will open people’s eyes a little in a different way.

I’m very proud of Ottawa, and I’m very proud of this company for putting on this beast of a show. Even professional companies in Canada rarely put on something like this. I am very proud of Orpheus for tackling this monster, and I think it’s going to be beautiful.

Ragtime Promo Video

Featuring behind-the-scenes and audience interviews.

Video by Brennan Richardson

Get to know cast members Vivian & Paul Melsness

(and see how well they know each other!)

As told to Andrea Kinsley, Director of Marketing

Listen to the Ragtime Radio ad

As heard on BOOM 99.7      

Ragtime Radio Ad - as heard on BOOM 99.7
00:00 / 00:00

© 2019, Orpheus Musical Theatre Society 

A not-for-profit registered charity
No. 11907 0415 RR0001

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