Bohmer, Darrington, Noll, Petkoff, Steggert, Umoh Will Star in Broadway's Ragtime

By Kenneth Jones
27 Aug 2009

Christiane Noll in the Kennedy Center Ragtime.
Christiane Noll in the Kennedy Center Ragtime.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Casting has been announced for the Broadway return of Ragtime, the Tony Award-winning musical that was given fresh syncopation at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts earlier this year. Christiane Noll, Robert Petkoff and Quentin Earl Darrington will star as the leaders of three tribes that collide in 1906 New York City.

The 40-actor company will sing at the Neil Simon Theatre starting Oct. 23. Opening is Nov. 15.

Ragtime, based on the E.L. Doctorow novel, has a 1998 Tony Award-winning book by Terrence McNally and Tony-winning score by Lynn Ahrens (lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (music).

The scenically lean, actor-driven production seen at the Kennedy Center was critically acclaimed. The Broadway cast is a mix of holdovers (including Noll as the privileged white matron known as Mother, and Darrington as African-American musician Coalhouse Walker Jr.) and newcomers (including Petkoff, as Jewish patriarch Tateh).



Director-choreographer Marcia Milgrom Dodge repeats her duties for the Broadway transfer. She stripped away major scenic possibilities to focus on script and score and actor, and got good reviews for her work.

The 28-piece orchestra will be led by musical director James Moore. William David Brohn's Tony-winning orchestrations will be heard.

The Broadway company will star The Woman in White's Ron Bohmer (Father), Color Purple touring veteran Quentin Earl Darrington (Coalhouse Walker, Jr.), Jekyll & Hyde's Christiane Noll (Mother), Fiddler on the Roof's Robert Petkoff (Tateh), 110 in the Shade's Bobby Steggert (Mother's Younger Brother), Stephanie Umoh (Sarah) with Christopher Cox (The Little Boy), Sarah Rosenthal (The Little Girl), Mark Aldrich (Willie Conklin), Aaron Galligan-Stierle (Henry Ford), Jonathan Hammond (Harry Houdini), Dan Manning (Grandfather), Michael X. Martin (J.P. Morgan), Michael McGowan (Stanford White), respected DC star Donna Migliaccio (Emma Goldman), Josh Walden (Harry K. Thaw), Rock of Ages' Savannah Wise (Evelyn Nesbit) and Sammy & Me's Eric Jordan Young (Booker T. Washington), a Broadway vet who appeared in the original Broadway production of Ragtime.

The cast will also feature Sumayya Ali, Terence Archie, Corey Bradley, Jayden Brockington, Benjamin Cook, Carey Brown, Jennifer Evans, Carly Hughes, Lisa Karlin, Valisia LeKae, James Moye, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Mamie Parris, Bryonha Parham, Nicole Powell, Kaylie Robinaccio, Arbender J. Robinson, Benjamin Schrader, Wallace Smith, Catherine Walker, Jim Weaver and Kylil Williams.

The Broadway run of Ragtime is produced by Kevin McCollum, Roy Furman, Max Cooper, Roger Berlind, Tom Kirdahy/Devlin Elliott, Jeffrey A. Sine, Scott Delman, Stephanie McClelland, Roy Miller, LAMS Productions, Inc., Jana Robbins, Wendy Federman, Jamie deRoy, Sheila Steinberg, Lauren Stevens, Eric Falkenstein/Morris Berchard, Independent Producers Network, HRH Foundation and Emanuel Azenberg in association with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Dodge's production debuted at the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater on April 18 and played a sold-out limited engagement through May 17.

Here's how the musical is characterized: "Based on E.L. Doctorow's acclaimed epic novel, Ragtime turns back the clock to the dawn of the 20th century — a time when anything was possible and ragtime music filled the air. New York City was the land of opportunity. A poor Jewish immigrant sells his 'moving picture' books on the street. A wealthy Victorian couple welcomes a runaway into their home. A Harlem jazz pianist turns an issue of justice into a revolution. Their personal journeys come alive as historic figures offer guidance and diversion — among them escape artist Harry Houdini, auto tycoon Henry Ford, educator Booker T. Washington, and infamous entertainer Evelyn Nesbit. Together, their stories celebrate the struggle between tradition and independence all in pursuit of the American dream."

The production team also includes scenic design by Derek McLane, costume design by Santo Loquasto, lighting design by Donald Holder, sound design by Acme Sound Partners and hair and wig design by Edward J. Wilson.

After a world premiere in Toronto, Ragtime opened on Broadway on Jan. 18, 1998, at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

Ragtime ticket prices are $46.50, $86.50 and $126.50 (including $1.50 facility fee) and are available by calling Ticketmaster at (212) 307-4100 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com.

Ragtime will play the following preview schedule from Oct. 23-Nov. 14: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 PM, Sunday at 7:30 PM, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinee at 2 PM. Dark Mon.

From opening night Nov. 15 onward: Tuesday evening at 7 PM, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 PM, Wednesday and Saturday matinee at 2 PM, Sunday matinee at 3 PM. Dark Monday.

For more information visit www.ragtimebroadway.com.

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The score to the show is available on two recordings: "Songs from Ragtime," a studio recording released around the time of the Toronto world premiere in 1996, and the original Broadway cast album of 1998 (on two discs).