In what may be one of the longest pandemic-induced hiatuses for a Broadway or off-Broadway show, the Broadway reunion concert of the cast of “Ragtime” – originally scheduled for April 27, 2020, will take place 35 months later on March 27, 2023.
The event will see all living principal cast members of the Ahrens and Flaherty musical reunite, including Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Peter Friedman. Kelli O’Hara will substitute for the late Marin Mazzie as Mother.
“Ragtime” had its world premiere in Toronto at the Ford Theater on December 8, 1996, produced by the disgraced Canadian impresario Garth Drabinsky. The musical opened on Broadway at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, now the Lyric Theatre, on January 18, 1998. It was the first production to open at the Ford Center.
The dazzling production featured actual fireworks and a working Ford Model T. It led the 1998 Tony Awards in nominations – 13 – and won the Tony for best book of a musical and best musical score. It also won the Outer Critics Circle Award for best musical that year.
The musical was produced in London’s West End by Sonia Friedman at the Piccadilly Theater for a limited run from March 19, 2003, through June 14, 2003. This production starred Maria Friedman, the older sister of the producer, in the role of Mother, for which she won the 2004 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical.
A 2009 Broadway production was the first revival of the musical and the first revival of any 1990s musical. It had an out-of-state tryout at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in April and previews at the Neil Simon Theatre began on October 29, with the show opening on November 15. It ran for 28 previews and 65 performances. Despite the closing, the production received seven Tony Award nominations, including Best Revival of Musical
Based on the novel of the same name by E.L. Doctorow, “Ragtime” has a score by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and a book by Terrence McNally. All proceeds from the one-night only event, which was sold out already in 2020, will go to benefit the Actors Fund, which offers programs that include emergency financial assistance, workshops, support groups, and mental health resources.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)