Tin Pan Alley Rag Will Be Roundabout's First Musical at Off-Broadway's Pels

News   Tin Pan Alley Rag Will Be Roundabout's First Musical at Off-Broadway's Pels
 
The music of Scott Joplin and Irving Berlin will be echoing at Off-Broadway's Laura Pels Theatre this summer. Roundabout Theatre Company confirmed on April 1 that it will produce the New York City premiere of Mark Saltzman's musical, The Tin Pan Alley Rag.

Playbill.com previously reported Roundabout's Off-Broadway plan for the biographical musical play, which tells of the contrasting lives and shared ragtime era of African-American composer Joplin and Jewish pop writer Berlin.

The not-for-profit has now officially announced that Stafford Arima (Bowfire, Altar Boyz, an Olivier Award nominee for London's Ragtime) will direct the show for June 12 start and a July 14 opening. No casting has been announced. The musical will play a limited engagement through Sept. 6.

The Tin Pan Alley Rag is the first musical production in Roundabout's Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. Lisa Loomer's comedy, Distracted, is the current tenant.

According to Roundabout, The Tin Pan Alley Rag tells the story of an imagined meeting of two of America's greatest musicians, composer Scott Joplin and songwriter Irving Berlin. Joplin was a musical prodigy, born the son of a slave, who received a conservatory education and slowly rose to acclaim. Berlin was a Russian Jewish immigrant who couldn't read music, yet catapulted to stardom at the age of 23. Both men changed the landscape of music forever with their contributions to the first American musical genre, ragtime. Beneath Joplin and Berlin's toe-tapping, syncopated rhythms lay fascinating stories of fame, love and loss. In The Tin Pan Alley Rag, these tales come to vivid life and two great icons realize they have more in common than they ever suspected."

The score includes such classic songs as Irving Berlin's "I Love a Piano," "Play a Simple Melody," "Alexander's Ragtime Band" and Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" and "The Entertainer," among others. The Tin Pan Alley Rag will feature choreography by Liza Gennaro and musical direction by Michael Patrick Walker. The design team and cast will be announced shortly.

The Roundabout Theatre Company production is presented in association with Rodger Hess Productions, Inc.

The show has been seen in regional developmental productions in recent years, including a 2006 run at the Maltz Theatre in Jupiter, FL (Fred Berman and Alton Fitzgerald White starred). Earlier this year, in January and February, Roundabout explored the material in an Arima-directed workshop. Michael Boatman ("Spin City," the 2003 Broadway run of "MASTER HAROLD"…and the boys) played Joplin, the ragtime pianist and composer.

The Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, 111 W. 46th Street.

Tickets are available by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212) 719-1300, online at www.roundabouttheatre.org or at the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre box office. Ticket prices range from $75-$85.

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Saltzman's Tin Pan Alley Rag Tin Pan Alley Rag is set circa 1915 in New York City's Tin Pan Alley, the music publishing capital of the world, where Scott Joplin meets the young, upstart songwriter Irving Berlin.

Are there sparks? "There are two very large egos in the room," Saltzman previously told Playbill.com.

Joplin is the King of Rag, yet Berlin is a sensation due to "Alexander's Ragtime Band," which both men note isn't a true rag, but a popular tune with the word "ragtime" tacked on the fit the day's musical fashion.

The Tin Pan Alley Rag is a kind of musical biography, a snapshot of what was happening in American songwriting 90 years ago.

The show received five Los Angeles Ovation Award nominations, including Best Musical, when it first opened at the Pasadena Playhouse in 1997. It has been refined and revised over the years.

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