The Tony-winning musical Ragtime will receive a one-night, site-specific developmental concert on Ellis Island August 8.
An all-star cast will perform a selection of songs from the production, which features music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and a book by Terrence McNally. Sammi Cannold will direct the concert in anticipation of a full production in 2017.
The cast will include Laura Michelle Kelly (Finding Neverland, Mary Poppins) as Mother, Brandon Victor Dixon (Shuffle Along, Motown) as Coalhouse Walker Jr., Michael Park (Dear Evan Hansen, Tuck Everlasting) as Father, Shaina Taub (Hadestown, Old Hats) as Emma Goldman, Robert Petkoff (All The Way, Ragtime) reprising his 2009 Broadway revival role of Tateh, Cooper Grodin (Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables) as Harry K. Thaw, Aisha Jackson (Waitress, Beautiful) as Sarah’s Friend, Jeremy Morse (Waitress, Bloodsong of Love) as Harry Houdini, Rod Singleton (Black Angels Over Tuskegee) as Booker T. Washington, Annie Sherman (Violet) as Evelyn Nesbit and Georgia Engel (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, John) as Houdini’s Mother.
The upcoming performance will also feature music direction by Madeline Smith. Casting is by Ally Kiley.
In 2015, the National Park Service issued a permit for the creation of a one-of-a-kind production of the musical Ragtime on Ellis Island. Ragtime, according to press notes, is a “portrait of a turning point in American history as it follows three families in pursuit of the American dream at the start of the 20th century. In Ragtime, we meet an upper-class family from New Rochelle that must grapple with their notions of class and agency, we meet determined Latvian immigrants who come to New York through the gateway of Ellis Island, and we meet a daring young couple from Harlem who must combat racism and bigotry to ensure a bright future for their son. In a site-specific re-telling of this classic musical, these stories will be told in Ellis Island's historic Registry Room, through which 12 million immigrants passed between 1892 and 1954. The question of what it means to be and become American is just as relevant now as it was in 1902, and in asking that question in the very room where so many of our ancestors discovered the answer, Ragtime on Ellis Island offers an unprecedented opportunity to bring history to life in new ways.”
Following the performance, audience members will explore Ellis Island's exhibits and Family Immigration Center.
Ragtime is presented by Suzanne Friedman and produced by Brandon Powell and Sammi Cannold. Full casting will be announced at a later date, and this summer's performance will be by invitation only. For inquiries and information, visit RagtimeOnEllis.com.