Massachusetts' Tanglewood hosted a symphonic concert performance of Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty, and Terrence McNally's Ragtime July 8. Thanks to a radio broadcast on Classical Radio Boston, the performance can be streamed in full on demand online at ClassicalWCRB.org.
The cast, many Broadway favorites, included Alton Fitzgerald White as Coalhouse Walker, Jr., Elizabeth Stanley as Mother, John Cariani as Tateh, Nikki Renée Daniels as Sarah, David Harris as Father, A.J. Shively as Mother's Younger Brother, and Klea Blackhurst as Emma Goldman. Jason Danieley, widower of Ragtime original cast member Marin Mazzie, directed.
Keith Lockhart led the Boston Symphony Orchestra, playing William David Brohn's original orchestrations, newly expanded by Kim Scharnberg. This symphonic concert version of the 1998 musical was commissioned by Boston Pops in 2020, and the 2023 performances were dedicated to the memory of book writer McNally, who worked on its creation.
This concert version of Ragtime was previously presented with Boston Pops May 12 and 13, with much of the same cast.
Based on the classic American novel by E.L. Doctorow, Ragtime mixes fictional characters and historical ones in telling the story of Coalhouse Walker Jr., a Black man who buys a Model T Ford, setting off a chain of events that involves all levels of New York City society—along with magician Harry Houdini, industrialist Henry Ford, celebrity Evelyn Nesbit, Black leader Booker T. Washington, architect Sanford White, revolutionary Emma Goldman, Admiral Peary, a Latvian immigrant who becomes a movie director, and a not-so-quiet family in suburban New Rochelle, New York.
The concerts of the 1998 musical follows a starry reunion of much of the work's original Broadway cast earlier this season, with Audra McDonald and Brian Stokes Mitchell both re-creating their performances as Sarah and Coalhouse, respectively.