When you go see Ragtime make sure you bring a sweater, because the show’s opening number will give you chills. It’s right up there with “Defying Gravity” from Wicked, “America” from West Side Story, and “Memories” from Cats.
The opening number of Ragtime is the reason we buy theatre tickets. It has a rousing score, wonderful choreography, a little bit of humor, and best of all, it involves the entire cast.
Of course, the rest of the musical is pretty darn good too. So don’t leave after the opening number. Stay for the whole show. Ragtime is, without a doubt, one of the most important musicals ever to grace the Great White Way.
Is Ragtime About Ragtime Music?
Ragtime is not about ragtime music per se but the story takes place during ragtime’s heyday.
Also, ragtime the music genre heavily influenced Stephen Flaherty’s score. You hear the influence right off the bat in the musical’s opening number.
Ragtime is set at the turn of the 20th century and tells the story of three groups of people from three different walks of life. They all live in New York City. One is a white, upper class family. The other is a Harlem pianist and his love interest. The third is a Jewish immigrant and his daughter.
These three groups of divergent people are connected through celebrities. Real-life personages who are characters in Ragtime include Harry Houdini, JP Morgan, Henry Ford, and Booker T. Washington.
Ragtime’s book was written by Terrence McNally. Lynn Ahrens penned the lyrics.
Who Was In The Original Broadway Cast of Ragtime?
The original Broadway cast was led by the great Brian Stokes Mitchell. It also starred Mark Jacoby, Marin Mazzie, and Audra McDonald.
Also in the cast was a young Lea Michele.
Did Ragtime Win Any Tony Awards?
Ragtime was nominated for 13 Tony Awards. It won four. Ragtime would have won more but its main competition was another historic musical, The Lion King.That was in 1998. Ragtime was revived in 200—it was the first 1990s musical to be revived. The revival was nominated for another six Tony Awards.
Didn’t Ragtime Bomb
Not at all, but many people think it was a bomb since the original production had an $11 million budget. The production included a working Model T and fireworks.
The original production ran for two years or some 834 performances. That’s an impressive number but obviously dwarfed by its contemporary, The Lion King, which is still running on Broadway.