Ragtime, the highly anticipated McNally/Ahrens/Flaherty musical currently packing the house in Toronto, Canada, will make its American premiere in Los Angeles Sunday, June 15.
Tickets are now on sale for the Shubert Theatre production: call Tele-charge at 800-447-7400. You can also order tickets on Playbill On-Line. For group sales: (800) 832-8440.
The musical adaptation of E.L. Doctorow's 1975 historical novel will begin previews at L.A.'s Shubert Theatre May 29, prior to the June 15 opening.
The announcement of the west-coast engagement follows on the heels of the previous day's press conference about the Broadway production of the same musical. On Jan. 28, upon unveiling of the name of his renovated New York theatre on 42nd St. -- The Ford Centre for the Performing Arts -- producer Garth Drabinsky officially announced, as expected, that Ragtime will be the first show to light Broadway's newest theatre. The Broadway production begins previews Dec. 26 and opens Jan. 18, 1998.
The L.A. production will feature Brian Stokes Mitchell (Coalhouse Walker), Marcia Mitzman Gaven (Mother), La Chanze (Sarah), John Rubinstein (Tateh), and Judy Kaye (Emma Goldman). The current principal Toronto cast (including Marin Mazzie, Audra McDonald, Mark Jacoby, and Peter Friedman) is expected move on to Broadway. The Toronto production bowed Dec. 8, 1996 at North York's Ford Center for the Performing Arts to rapturous local reviews. According to Lynn Ahrens, speaking after the N.Y. press event, the show's creators will soon do some rewriting for the Toronto production and implement the changes in March. The revisions are expected to amount to minor "tweaking" of the show rather than wholesale rewriting.
Directed by Frank Galati, with musical staging by Graciela Daniele, sets by Eugene Lee, costumes by Santo Loquasto, and lighting by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, Ragtime is shaping up to be one of the highlights of the 1997-98 theatre season on both U.S. coasts.