A special invitation-only concert version of the Broadway musical Ragtime is performed on Ellis Island in New York Harbor August 8.
Brian Stokes Mitchell, Tony-nominated star of the original production of Ragtime, narrates the concert. The 1998 musical is an adaptation of the novel by E.L. Doctorow, about clashes between classes and different groups of immigrants to America in the early days of the 20th century. Ellis Island is next to Liberty Island in New York Harbor. It was the place where immigrants were processed from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. Part of the island has been opened as a museum of immigration. Following the August 8 performance, audience members will be able to explore Ellis Island's exhibits.
Sammi Cannold directs the concert, which features songs from the Tony Award-winning Lynn Ahrens/Stephen Flaherty score. The Tony-winning libretto is by Terrence McNally. According to production notes, the event, which is billed as a “developmental concert,” is being presented by Suzanne Friedman with an eye towards “an immersive, full production of the acclaimed American musical” on Ellis Island in 2017.
The cast also features stage and television star Andy Mientus (Spring Awakening, Les Miserables) as Younger Brother, plus Olivier Award winner Laura Michelle Kelly (Finding Neverland, Mary Poppins) as Mother, two-time Tony Award nominee Brandon Victor Dixon (Shuffle Along, Motown) as Coalhouse Walker Jr. (the role originated by Mitchell), Emmy Award winner Michael Park (Dear Evan Hansen, Tuck Everlasting) as Father, Shaina Taub (Hadestown, Old Hats) as Emma Goldman, Aisha Jackson (Waitress, Beautiful) as Sarah (previously announced to play Sarah’s Friend) and Robert Petkoff (All The Way, Ragtime) reprising his 2009 Broadway revival role of Tateh.
Five-time Emmy nominee and stage star Georgia Engel (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, John) makes a special cameo as Houdini’s Mother, and Ragtime original Broadway cast members Larry Daggett (Henry Ford) and Allyson Tucker (Ensemble) are reprising their roles for this concert.
Bradley Gibson (Rocky) plays Matthew Henson, Cooper Grodin plays Harry K. Thaw, Joe Harkins plays Grandfather, Philip Paul Kelly plays Admiral Peary, Hudson Loverro plays Little Boy, Jeremy Morse plays Harry Houdini, Rod Singleton plays Booker T. Washington, Annie Sherman plays Evelyn Nesbit, Paul Slade Smith plays J.P. Morgan and Aviva Winick plays Little Girl.
Completing the ensemble are David Andre, Kyra Atekwana, Douglas Baldeo, Matt DaSilva, Dwelvan David, Tess Davison, Vincent D’Elia, Alison England, Louis Lagalante, Drew Martin, Abena Mensah-Bonsu, Christopher Michael McLamb, Monet, Chelsea Moss, Marilyn O’Connell, Robert Poole, Sam Simahk, Melina Soberg, Nadia Soberg, Ali Stoner, Franca Vercelloni, Aurelia Williams, Jessica Tyler Wright, Katherine Wright, Jaden Waldman and Carly Waldman.
Music direction is by Madeline Smith, and casting is by Ally Kiley. The concert is presented by Suzanne Friedman and produced by Brandon Powell and Sammi Cannold.
(Updated August 8, 2016)