After being postponed due to the shutdown, Entertainment Community Fund's much-anticipated Broadway reunion concert of Ragtime is finally hitting the stage March 27, at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre. The event will see most of the original Broadway cast of the Ahrens and Flaherty musical reunite to perform the musical, including Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Peter Friedman, and Lea Michele. Stepping in for the late Marin Mazzie as Mother will be Tony winner Kelli O'Hara.
Also featured will be Mark Aldrich, Shaun Amyot, John D. Baker, Jack Baumrind, Darlene Bel Grayson, Dara Paige Bloomfield, Sandra M. Bonitto, Sherry Boone, Jack Casey, Mark Cassius, Jamie Chandler-Torns, Albert Christmas, Jim Corti, Pierce Cravens, Larry Daggett, Bernard Dotson, Roberta Duchak, Donna Dunmire, Adam Dyer, Duane Martin Foster, Patty Goble, Elisa Heinsohn, David Hess, Adam Hunter, Mark Jacoby, Kimberly JaJuan, Anne Kanengeiser, Judy Kaye, Mary Sharon Komarek (Dziedzic), Joe Langworth, Kai Latorre, Joe Locarro, Dan Manning, Michael X. Martin, Mary McCandless, Anne L. Nathan, Lynnette Perry, Orgena Rose, Gordon Stanley, Steven Sutcliffe, Addyson Evelyn Tabankin, Keith Thomas, Todd Thurston, Vanessa Townsell-Crisp, Allyson Tucker, Rema Webb, Leon Williams, Bruce Winant, and Eric Jordan Young.
Based on the classic American novel by E.L. Doctorow, Ragtime has a score by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Once On This Island, Anastasia, Seussical) and a book by Terrence McNally (Master Class, Love! Valour! Compassion!).
“Our Ragtime family, the Broadway community and so many others were devasted by the passing of our beloved playwright, Terrence McNally,” said Entertainment Community Fund Chair Mitchell in an earlier statement. “We also mourn the recent loss of our original Broadway director, Frank Galati, and of course our dear Marin Mazzie. We dedicate this grand reunion to their memory, and honor all those in the Ragtime family who are no longer with us.”
“We’re thrilled to share this Ragtime news with everyone who has waited patiently for so many years, as we and the creative team have worked diligently to bring this one-night-only reunion concert safely and beautifully to the stage,” adds Entertainment Community Fund CEO Joe Benincasa.
Ragtime underwent a two-year gestation under the auspices of Garth Drabinsky, opening in Toronto in December 1996 and then in Los Angeles in June 1997 before arriving on Broadway. The production was directed by Tony winner Frank Galati with choreography by Graciela Daniele.
The musical 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 involve 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 original Broadway production featured a cast led by McDonald as Sarah, Mitchell as Coalhouse Walker Jr., Mazzie as Mother, Mark Jacoby as Father, Steven Sutcliffe as Mother's Younger Brother, Friedman as Tateh, Judy Kaye as Emma Goldman, Jim Corti as Harry Houdini, Lynette Perry as Evelyn Nesbit, Tommy Hollis as Booker T. Washington, and Larry Daggett as Henry Ford.
The musical was nominated for 14 1998 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It took home four awards, including Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Featured Actress in a Musical for McDonald, and Best Orchestrations for William David Brohn.
The Entertainment Community Fund is a national human services organization that fosters stability and resiliency, and provides a safety net for performing arts and entertainment professionals over their lifespan.