The upcoming Pace Theatrical Group national tour of Ragtime, a trimmer and more human-sized production than the spectacle seen on Broadway, is expected to star alumni from previous productions, including Lawrence Hamilton as Coalhouse Walker Jr. and Michael Rupert as Tateh.
The multiweek tour, to last at least through 2000, will commence at Jones Hall in Houston Aug. 3-15, although a few early preview performances are expected beginning July 31. Rehearsals get under way in New York City the week of June 28.
Also anticipated for the national tour are Cathy Widener as Mother, Lovena Fox as Sarah, Stephen Zinnato as Father and Aloysius Gigl as Younger Brother.
Hamilton and Rupert starred in the national tour that began in spring 1998 in Washington DC and closed in Boston in spring 1999. Hamilton joined the tour in Seattle, replacing Alton White, who went to Broadway. In a change from the past, actors in the roles of Emma Goldman, Harry Houdini, Henry Ford and others will be blended into the ensemble. The panoramic musical is drawn from the E.L. Doctorow novel about three American families -- black, white and immigrant -- and their intertwining fates circa 1902-1914.
Those close to Ragtime, a multiple 1998 Tony Award-winner for its book and rag-influenced score by Ahrens and Flaherty, suggest the show is richly human enough that it will survive -- some say, thrive -- on a more intimate scale.
Critics have alternately praised the Broadway staging for its sweep and humanity, and called it physically cold and impersonal. Some theatregoers used to spectacle and wanting a bang for their buck, have grumbled about a possible physical scale-back on internet message boards.
While on its 1998-99 tour, an Act Two magic act featuring character Harry Houdini, was trimmed to make it less costly and less time consuming to ship and install. Unlike Broadway, Act Two on tour began with "Coalhouse’s Soliloquy."
For information about Ragtime in Houston, call (713) 227-3974.
Ragtime dates through the end of the year, with more to follow for 2000, include:
Aug. 17-Sept. 5 Dallas (Music Hall)
Sept. 7-26 Cincinnati (Aronoff Center)
Sept. 28-Oct. 3 Orlando, FL (Bob Carr Auditorium)
Oct. 5-24 Ft. Lauderdale, FL. (Broward Center)
Oct. 26-Nov. 7 Pittsburgh, PA. (Benedum Center)
Nov. 9-14 St. Louis, MO. (Fox Theatre)
Nov. 16-21 Richmond, VA. (Landmark Theatre)
Nov. 23-28 Norfolk, VA. (Chrysler Hall)
Nov. 30-Dec. 5 Raleigh, NC. (Memorial Auditorium)
Dec. 7-12 Hershey, PA. (Hershey Theatre)
Dec. 14-26 (Break)
Dec. 27-Jan. 2, 2000 Columbus, OH. (Ohio Theatre)
Other anticipated cities for the tour in early 2000 include Philadelphia, Tampa, FL, Naples, FL and Nashville, TN.