The era of Ragtime may have run out on Broadway Jan. 16, but the national tour continues to journey on, beginning performances in Philadelphia Feb. 1 at the Merriam Theatre.
Adam Hunter and Leon Williams, two alums from the Broadway company, jobless since the Jan. 16 closing of the elaborate, two-year New York City staging, will join the bus-and-truck cast in Philly. Hunter plays Younger Brother and Williams is Booker T. Washington. Kenny Gureck also joins the cast as one of two actors playing the Little Boy, through whose eyes the pageant-like story is seen.
The tour cast and scenic design are significantly trimmed. Erector set-like beams as scenic accents have been added, suggesting that the world might be a construction of the Little Boy's imagination.
Performances continue at the Merriam to Feb. 12. The booking represents the tour's closest brush yet with New York City.
The tour of the Tony Award-winning musical drawn from the E.L. Doctorow novel features Cathy Wydner, Lovena Fox, Lawrence Hamilton, Jim Corti and Stephen Zinnato. Regional reviews have been favorable, suggesting the score and script can survive a more human-scale mounting. On the road, the Broadway show's once-elaborate moving bridges and walkways were scrapped in favor of actor-driven scenes (J.P. Morgan now plows down immigrants on a railway cart, for example). The Merriam is at 250 S. Broad Street in Philadelphia. For information, call (215) 732-5446.