Quentin Earl Darrington will head the cast of the Terrence McNally-Stephen Flaherty-Lynn Ahrens musical as Coalhouse Walker, Jr. Darrington will be joined onstage by Neal Benari as Tateh, David Hess as Father, Kenita Miller as Sarah, Jayne Paterson as Mother and Shonn Wiley as Younger Brother. The ensemble comprises Alona Bach, Julie Bell, Allison Blackwell, Debra Cardona, Derrick Cobey, Jeff Cyronek, Garrett Eucker, Tom Gamblin, Adia Ginneh, Jamal Green, Kevin Hale, Emily Herring, Alison Mahoney, Kasey Marino, Kyle McLaughlin, Justin Lee Miller, Joe Reid, Greg Roderick, Kathryn Raskin, Daniel Lee Robbins, Kelly Janine Rucker, Matthew Scott, Byron J. St. Cyr, Greg Stone, Meredith Suttles, Scott Sussman and Betsy Wolfe.
This scaled-down production of Ragtime — first staged in London — will begin performances at the New Jersey theatre June 8 with an official opening June 12. Directed by Stafford Arima with choreography by Liza Gennaro, the musical will run through July 17.
The creative team also features David Loud (musical direction), Robert Jones (set and costume design), Mark Stanley (lighting design), Randy Hansen and Peter Hylesnki (sound design) and Bettie O. Rogers (hair and wig design).
Based on E.L. Doctorow's novel, Ragtime features a book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. The musical, according to production notes, "tells the story of Coalhouse Walker Jr., a fiery black piano man who demands retribution when his Model T is destroyed by a mob of white troublemakers. Walker's love interest is a young girl named Sarah who has been taken in by a WASP family ruled by Father, a patriarchal figure who dominates his household and submissive wife with his overbearing presence. Tateh is a Jewish immigrant who unwittingly finds himself involved in the birth of the motion picture industry after inventing a flip book for his daughter. Ragtime takes us into the lives of these characters in a tale of turn-of-the-century America that also features such historical figures as Harry Houdini, Booker T. Washington, J.P. Morgan and Henry Ford. The musical is patriotic and unyielding, celebrating America's greatness, persistence, vitality and hardships."
Ragtime originally opened on Broadway at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts Jan. 18, 1998, playing 834 performances before closing Jan. 16, 2000. The original company featured Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald and Marin Mazzie. Tickets for the Paper Mill production, priced $31-$68, are now on sale by calling (973) 376-4343. Visit www.papermill.org for more information.