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RAGTIME has enjoyed Broadway runs twice; in
1998 & 2009. First at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts and then at the
Neil Simon Theatre

January 18, 1998
Previews: 27
Performances: 834

Starred: Peter Friedman, Mark Jacoby, Marin Mazzie, Audra Mc Donald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Judy Kaye, Lea Michele

Best Book
Best Original Musical Score
Best Featured Actress
Best Orchestrations
Nominations: Musical, Actor, Actress,Scenic Design, Costume Design, Lighting Design, Choreography, Direction

Outstanding New Musical
Outstanding Book
Outstanding Orchestrations
Outstanding Lyrics
Outstanding Music

Steven Sutcliffe: Winner

REVIVAL: (Most recent)
October 23, 2009
Previews: 28
Total Performances: 65

Starred: Ron Bohmer, Christiane Noll, Quintin Earl Darrington, Stephanie Umoh,

Nominated for; Best Revival, Best Actress, Best Featured Actor, Best Direction, Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design

Stephanie Umoh – Winner

Outstanding Sound Design: Winner


Based on the novel RAGTIME by E. L. Doctorow

There is a bit of adult subject matter in this production. Parents are encouraged to research whether this show is appropriate for children.

Director: Mark Swezey
Vocal Director/Conductor: Laura Van Leeuwen
Choreographer: Beth Benedict
Stage Manager: Catherine Lewis
Assistant Stage Manager: Skip Gordon
Assistant Stage Manager: Remy Lierz
Assistant Stage Manager: Molly White
Accompanist: Jan O'Rourke
Costume Coordinator: Leslie Spindler & Verna McMullin
Props Coordinator: Cheryl Singer
Scenic Designer: Michaela Stein

Coalhouse Walker Jr.: Justin McCoy
Sarah: Linnaia McKenzie
Mother: Kristi Mitchell
Father: Jeff Martin
Younger Brother: Derick White
Little Boy: David Pokorny
Tateh: Darin Parker
Young Girl: Isabella Welty
Emma Goldman: Sarah Jeter
Harry Houdini: Matt Messing
Evelyn Nesbit: Kyra Weinberger
Sarah's Friend: Tasia Jewell
Grandfather: Bill Bergman
Booker T. Washington: TBA
Willie Conklin: Bob Kohler
Henry Ford: Aaron Redburn
JP Morgan: Thomas Heathcote
Adminarl Peary: Tom O'Rourke
Doctor: Andy McCarl
Conductor: Ken Kasten
Brigit: Julie Ewing
Mrs. Whitson: Erica Baruth
Coal House Walker III: Emma 

Marshall McCarl
Shannon Lowe
Stephanie Hopkins
Fran Opheim
Rendi Doran
Felisha Caldeira
Jenni Wilson
Hailey Crane
Shelby Keller
Debbie Huffman
Carolyn Braverman
Alyssa Winters
Leah Heathcote
Tracey Van Unen Shortess
Jason Kennedy
Aaron Redburn
Thomas Heathcote
Tom O'Rourke
Andy McCarl
Ken Kasten
Jule Ewing
Erica Baruth

People of Harlem Ensemble

Gavin King
Zach Lofland
Valiante Waltz
DaShawn Young
Derrick Lindsay
Bryana Barry
Ashley Jones
Tamara Graham
Elise Dorsey
Kaleigh Buehler
Desire' Brown
Tarzae Songony
Akilah Bryan
Alex Arnold

Synopsis provided by Music Theatre International.

We are introduced to the social and political climate of the United States in the early 20th century by meeting a parade of characters - famous celebrities and private citizens of the time. First, we visit New Rochelle, New York to meet a well-to-do white family: Mother, Father and their Little Boy, Mother's Younger Brother, and Grandfather. Next, we go to Harlem to meet Coalhouse Walker Jr., a ragtime pianist, and his admirers. Immigrants arrive at Ellis Island and we meet Tateh, an artist who makes silhouettes, and his Little Girl. The lives of these three American families are entwined with Booker T. Washington, Harry Houdini, J.P. Morgan, Henry Ford, Evelyn Nesbit and Emma Goldman. Whites, African-Americans, immigrants and celebrities are set on a collision course the opening number (“Ragtime”).

Father is accompanying Admiral Peary on a trip to the North Pole. At the dock, he consoles Mother that everything will be the same upon his return, but Mother is not convinced (“Goodbye My Love”). On its way out of the harbor, Father's ship passes a rag ship filled with immigrants, arriving in New York. Tateh and the Little Girl are on board. Tateh and Father wave to one another; Father admires the immigrants for their naive bravery in coming to a new land, and Tateh questions Father's reasons for leaving the place he has worked so hard to find. Simultaneously, Mother wonders what this year without her husband will bring (“Journey On”).

Mother's Younger Brother is in love with Evelyn Nesbit. He is frustrated and lost, searching for meaning in his life and hoping to find it in her. Her show is a vaudeville act that tells the true story of her lover's murder by her famous husband (“Crime Of The Century”). Younger Brother goes to all of her shows. One day, after the show, Younger Brother approaches her, but she dismisses him.

The scene shifts to Mother and the Little Boy in the garden. The Little Boy wants to see Houdini as he has a cryptic message for him, 'warn the duke.' While he begins to read her Father’s letter, mother makes a shocking discovery – there is a newborn African-American child buried in the flowerbed. The police arrive on the premises with Sarah, the mother of the child. Rather than let Sarah go to prison, Mother takes Sarah and the child into her own home ("What Kind Of Woman").

With many other immigrants, Tateh and The Little Girl disembark at Ellis Island, full of hope (“America”). Tateh sets up his business on the Lower East Side, selling paper silhouettes of celebrities for a nickel each. Emma Goldman chastises him for selling one of J.P. Morgan, the epitome of capitalism. J.P. Morgan enters the scene and metaphorically crushes the immigrants, but Harry Houdini magically swoops in as an emblem of immigrant triumph. Time passes, Tateh becomes less idealistic – he is still poor and the Little Girl is sick. When a man tries to buy the Little Girl, Tateh has reached rock bottom. He swears to make a better life for himself and his child (“Success”).

In Harlem, people of Harlem celebrate the great musician Coalhouse Walker Jr. (“His Name Was Coalhouse Walker”). He tells his friends the story of how he loved and lost Sarah, but reveals that he's just found out where she might be living and is determined to win her back ("Getting' Ready Rag"). Henry Ford appears to tell us of his new method of mass production and his most famous product - the model T ("Henry Ford"). A new car rolls off the assembly line, and Coalhouse drives off in search of Sarah.

Back in New Rochelle, Mother and the Little Boy wait at the train station, on their way to New York City to take care of the family business while Father is away. Tateh and the Little Girl wait across the tracks for a train to Boston. Mother and Tateh greet one another, and Tateh is surprised to be treated with respect ("Nothing Like The City"). The Little Boy has a premonition that they will see Tateh and the Little Girl again, but Mother tells him that is absurd.

On his way to New Rochelle, Coalhouse encounters a group of hostile volunteer firemen who threaten him for being cocky by driving past them in his new car. Meanwhile, Sarah, living in Mother’s attic, begs her infant's forgiveness for her desperation – trying to explain what drove her to such an unimaginable act ("Your Daddy’s Son"). When Coalhouse arrives at Mother’s home, Sarah will not see him.

Coalhouse returns every Sunday for weeks, wooing Sarah with his ragtime tunes and winning over Mother, Grandfather and the Little Boy (“The Courtship”). Father returns from the North Pole to find a very different household from the one he left. He cannot wrap his head around the facts that his wife is independent, his family is accepting of the African-American courtship happening in his living room, and there is ragtime music coming from his piano (“New Music”).

Finally, Sarah comes down to see Coalhouse and they reunite. Coalhouse tells Sarah of his admiration for Booker T. Washington's achievements, and together, he and Sarah imagine a future for their child (“Wheels Of A Dream”). Meanwhile, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Tateh has lost sight of the American dream and now works at a mill sixty-four hours a week. In Union Square, Emma Goldman tries to generate a strike against the oppressive mill owners. Younger Brother happens to hear her speech and is energized to the cause of workers rights – he finally has something to believe in (“The Night That Goldman Spoke In Union Square”).

A violent labor strike erupts in Lawrence. Tateh intends to put The Little Girl on a train to a safer place, with other children and a chaperone. However, she is so distraught he jumps on the train with her. He soothes her terror with a flipbook of silhouettes he has made ("Gliding"). The train conductor notices the book of moving silhouettes and buys it for his own child.  Tateh sees this as a wonderful new business idea.

Coalhouse once again encounters the volunteer firemen and this time they do more than threaten him. As Booker T. Washington gives a speech about rising above and holding fast, the men destroy Coalhouse’s car. Coalhouse moves through the legal channels looking for justice for this crime against him, but he is denied at every avenue (“Justice”). He postpones his marriage to Sarah until the matter is resolved. Sarah, out of desperation and naiveté, tries to seek help from a visiting Vice Presidential candidate but is clubbed to death by police who suspect her of having a gun ("President"). Act One closes with the anger and grief of Sarah's funeral (“Till We Reach That Day”).

Coalhouse mourns the loss of Sarah (“Coalhouse’s Soliloquy”). Seeking vengeance, he shoots three of the firemen who trashed his car, burns their firehouse and demands that the fire chief, Willy Conklin, be brought to justice (“Coalhouse Demands”).

A group of young men join Coalhouse as he strikes out against the system. Booker T. Washington publicly condemns Coalhouse's actions. Father goes to the police to tell them what he knows about Coalhouse. Younger Brother, who is moved by plight of the oppressed and angry about the injustice done to Coalhouse, erupts at Father for working against Coalhouse.  He storms out of the house in anger, and Mother, who is still caring for Sarah and Coalhouse’s baby, is deeply upset. In reaction, Father takes the Little Boy to a baseball game. But even this has changed and is now a game not just for upper class whites but for immigrants, too ("What A Game"). Meanwhile, Coalhouse's band of men set fires around the city. Reporters besiege the family in New Rochelle. Father, thinking it is time to get away, takes the family to Atlantic City, where Evelyn Nesbit and Houdini happen to both be starring attractions ("Let's Run Away To Atlantic City").

In Atlantic City, we discover that Tateh is now a famous film director and has recreated himself as Baron Ashkenazy. His daughter, healthy and beautifully dressed, is by his side. Once again, Tateh meets Mother and tells her the story of his success ("Buffalo Nickel Photoplay, Inc.").

Later, the Little Boy asks Houdini for his autograph and gives him the message 'warn the duke' – Houdini is confused and intrigued, but the Little Boy runs off. The Little Girl and Little Boy play together as Tateh and Mother watch from the boardwalk ("Our Children"). Tateh reveals his humble origins to Mother, who is moved by his honesty.

In Harlem, Younger Brother searches for Coalhouse and though the residents are distrustful of him, one of Coalhouse's men takes him to Coalhouse's hideout. Meanwhile, drawn by laughter and dancing in a club, Coalhouse thinks of the first time he met Sarah ("Sarah Brown Eyes"). A blindfolded Younger Brother is brought to Coalhouse's den. Younger Brother wants to express his sympathy for Coalhouse's actions, but all he can manage to do is offer his knowledge of explosives (“He Wanted To Say”). Coalhouse focuses his rage by taking over J.P. Morgan's Library. He threatens to blow up the library and all its treasures, as well as himself and all his men, one of whom is now Younger Brother. Father tells Mother that he has volunteered to act as a negotiator, and Mother realizes that this experience has irrevocably changed their relationship (“Back To Before”).

Coalhouse and his men barricade themselves inside the library. Emma Goldman applauds this, but Booker T. Washington deplores these actions. Father tells the authorities that Booker T. Washington is the only man Coalhouse will listen to. Booker T. is sent in the library to speak with Coalhouse. He chides Coalhouse for both risking the lives of the young men around him while leaving his own son to be raised by white men and for endangering the position of all African-Americans by making them seem hot-headed and violent (“Look What You’ve Done”). He assures Coalhouse that if he surrenders, he will have a fair trial and a forum for his opinions. Coalhouse negotiates the safe passage of his men, including Younger Brother, while Father remains behind in the library. The men protest his decision, but he explains to them that the only way to win the fight is to go out into the world and tell their story (“Make Them Hear You”). When Coalhouse is left alone with Father, he asks about his son. Father promises a safe end to the standoff. But when Coalhouse exits the building to surrender, he is shot dead by authorities.

The era of ragtime ends. The characters come forward, one by one, to tell us the end of their stories: Younger Brother joins the revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, Emma Goldman is deported, Booker T. Washington establishes the Tuskegee Institute, Evelyn Nesbit fades into obscurity, Houdini has the one true mystical experience of his life when he is performing in Sarajevo and the duke is shot, Grandfather dies, and Father is killed during wartime. Finally, Mother and Tateh marry and move to California with their children.

As the curtain falls, Little Coalhouse runs into Mother's arms and men and women of all nationalities - and race - join Mother on the stage (“Epilogue”).

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