The wheels of the seventh-month Chicago staging of Ragtime will grind to a halt June 27 at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre, following a two-week extension.
After that date, some of the cast members and the body parts of the set are expected to be used for the new, smaller-scale national tour being put together to journey on beginning in August in Houston.
The final two weeks of Ragtime in Chicago are on an unusual shortened schedule, playing Thursday to Sunday.
John Davidson and Stephanie Mills were late-run additions to the Chicago cast, adding star names to a vehicle whose score and staging had been the draw for its New York production. The company closing the tour include Mills as Sarah, Davidson as Father, Barbara Walsh as Mother, James Stovall as Coalhouse and Peter Kevoian as Tateh, Michelle Dawson as Evelyn, David Bonanno as Harry Houdini, Mary Gutzi as Emma Goldman, Andrew Keenan-Bolger as the Little Boy, Rick Hilsabeck as Henry Ford, John Frenzer as Younger Brother and Fred Zimmerman as J.P. Morgan.
The Chicago sitdown was to have played to June 13, but two additional weeks were added. The musical by Terrence McNally (book), Lynn Ahrens (lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (music), based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, won 1998 Tony Awards for Best Score, Best Orchestrations and Best Book, plus a Best Featured Actress nod for Audra McDonald, who has since left the New York company.
Hinton Battle played Coalhouse Walker Jr. for part of the run of Ragtime in Chicago.
Next up at the Ford Center: Fosse, beginning performances Sept. 14. Tickets currently on sale to Oct. 24, but the musical -- which won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Musical -- is expected to continue beyond that date.
Mills, known as the diminutive but big-voiced Dorothy in Broadway's The Wiz, and Davidson, who played the father in Broadway's State Fair in 1996-97, are not expected to be part of the new national tour, which will play date around the country through 2000.
The Chicago production of Ragtime, the Tony Award-winning musical, opened Nov. 8, 1998, at the newly-restored Oriental Theatre, the lush 1926 movie palace in the heart of the downtown North Loop.
Fosse, beginning performances Sept. 14. Fosse will tour after its run at the Ford Center in Chicago.
For Chicago Ragtime ticket information call (312) 902-1400.
The Chicago Ragtime production will not tour; it ends in Chicago. Bill Conner of Livent told Playbill On-Line in February 1999 that elements of the Chicago set and certain Chicago cast members will likely be used for the Pace "hybrid" tour beginning August 1999 in Houston.
The new tour, licensed to Pace Theatrical Group, will also use elements of the current third national company that's did smash business at Boston's Colonial Theatre through January-March 1999.