The Awkward Rings Out Like Freedom

Last week the theatre community was abuzz with talk about the Drama Desk and Tony Award nominations, celebrating those who were honored and shaking their fists for those who were overlooked. To the surprise of many, the short-lived revival of Ragtime received a lot of love from both nominating committees, with eleven and seven nominations, respectively. There was much rejoicing, especially for the ardent fans of the revival (myself included).

Well, that was last week. In the last two days, both organizations rescinded nominations for the revival. First it was the Tony committee who revoked the Costume Design nomination since designer Santo Loquasto had reused much of his work from the 1998 production. Then today, the Drama Desk honchos withdrew two nominations: Loquasto’s and one for William David Brohn’s orchestrations.

The Tony Awards Productions had the following to say:

“Yesterday, it was affirmed to Tony Award Productions that Santo Loquasto’s designs for the revival of Ragtime are predominantly those from the original 1998 production, and therefore do not meet the Tony rule which states, work that ‘substantially duplicate(s)’ work from a prior production is ineligible. We learned this too late to remove the costumes from consideration by the nominators, but feel that we cannot allow the designs to remain in contention this year, and we must regretfully withdraw them from consideration as a nominee in the Best Costume Design of a Musical category.”

Following on the heels of that decision, the Drama Desk Awards released the following statement:

“The Drama Desk makes its own decisions. But when the Tony Awards withdrew its nomination for the Ragtime revival’s costumes because they were not sufficiently different from the original production and when the lead producer and nominated costume designer Santo Loquasto did not disagree with the decision, we revisited the issue. The Drama Desk concurs that the excellent costuming was not sufficiently new to make it eligible. Therefore, the nomination will be removed from the ballot in the Outstanding Costume Design category.

“We have also determined that the nomination for Ragtime for Outstanding Orchestration [William David Brohn] should not be on the ballot because the highly regarded orchestration was not different enough from that of the original production to be eligible.”

I understand that there are a lot of shows to be considered when doling out nominations at season’s end. But I cannot understand how both nominating committees let these gaffes slip. I’m surprised there aren’t any interns or research assistants on hand to help the ladies and gentlemen in charge make informed decisions.

The information has been well established since the regional production played at the Kennedy Center last spring. I recall reading last summer that the production was using the costume design of Santo Loquasto (who was always open about what was new and old in this production from the get-go) and the press release also cited “original orchestrations by William David Brohn.” Revisions were made to both for this more intimate revival, but the work from both artists remained fundamentally the same. For the record, Loquasto remains nominated for his work on the revival of Fences.

The one that really surprises me here though is the Drama Desk nomination for Best Orchestrations, which I admit I missed when the nominations came out last Monday (or I would have already called them out on this). Brohn actually won the 1998 Drama Desk (and Tony) for his Ragtime orchestrations. How that nugget slipped by is beyond me. The fact of the matter remains that the nominations should never have been given, and never made public.

The producers, Mr. Loquasto and Mr. Brohn have put up no disagreement in regards to the decision, but putting these esteemed gentlemen in this spotlight, especially since they had nothing to do with these decisions. I only hope that next year they take this a bit more seriously and save all involved parties from the inherent embarrassment.

Last Fall

Broadway is heading down the finish line of yet another season. There is a glut of shows opening this month before the Tony cut-off on April 29 (the tally is eleven for the month). However, as the Tony committee and voters get lost in this whirling dervish of new productions, I figure it’s time to give some love to a superlative fall season which can often be easily forgotten. So… for the consideration of the Tony committee – as well as the Drama Desk, Outer Critics’ Circle, etc. (and to jog their fickle memories), here are some of the shows that came and went this fall:

Finian’s RainbowThe unfortunate casualty of a star-driven fall season and the desire to import American Idiot as soon as possible, this seemingly ill-advised revival of a seemingly unrevivable classic took the critics and audiences by storm and is one of, if not the, best reviewed productions of the entire season. From its lovely direction and spirited choreography by Warren Carlyle, to the enchanting breakthrough performance of leading lady Kate Baldwin, this one was a winner from start to finish, a genuine crowd pleaser. Also worth mentioning: Jim Norton and Christopher Fitzgerald’s impish comic charms as, respectively, Finian and Og. There’s also the divine Terri White, who took “Necessity” and belted it into oblivion (and whose overall presence was more of a supporting role here than the cameo it was at Encores).

OleannaThis David Mamet revival was volatile, divisive and short-lived. However, it was a spirited thought-provoking production that got the audience talking. For those fortunate enough to have seen the show during previews, the post-show talk backs offered release for the explosive tension that builds in the mere 80 minutes of play time. It also was interesting to me personally because my beloved SarahB and I found ourselves at odds with each other afterward; the conversation was vibrant, spirited and very involving. It raised many questions about ourselves, the filters through which we see the world and the overall idea of gender roles in society.

Ragtime – A sublime, intimate revival that closed far too soon for my liking, and seemingly a similar response for many in the theatre community. Moving away from the epic nature of the original production, director and choreographer Marcia Milgrom Dodge emphasized the humanity of its characters, especially in Christiane Noll’s fully realized portrait of emerging feminism as Mother as well as in Bobby Steggart’s thrilling turn as Mother’s Younger Brother. I know that critically, reviews were divided, but I don’t think I’ve ever been part of such vociferous audiences – the reactions were overwhelming and spontaneous in the three times I saw the show.

The Royal FamilyMTC gave us this sublime revival of the classic Kaufman & Ferber comedy about an eccentric acting dynasty a la the Barrymores. Doug Hughes’ direction was superb and succinct, managing to introduce the show to an entire generation of younger theatregoers, and a lovely revisit for those who recall the last revival directed by Ellis Rabb starring Rosemary Harris. Harris was on board as the matriarch this time around, offering one of the most haunting moments of the entire year. Jan Maxwell, now tearing it up in Lend Me a Tenor was nothing short of breathtaking, particularly in that showstopping second act monologue, culminating in a face plant on the lip of the stage.

Superior DonutsIt would have been lovely to see Tracy Letts replicated the success of August: Osage County, but ’twas not to be. His second play, a decidedly lighter and less scathing look at an awkward but warm father-son relationship between a jaded hippie and his young, idealistic black assistant was a charmer. Michael McKean was excellent and anchored the production, but it was Broadway newcomer Jon Michael Hill who walked away with the show and the audiences’ hearts in his pocket.

It appears that due to its fast closure, Brighton Beach Memoirs is ineligible, depriving its heart and soul – Laurie Metcalf – of deserved consideration. (Even more criminal is the brilliant tour de force that was never to be in Broadway Bound, where Metcalf would have taken center stage). There were a couple of limited runs I didn’t get into – A Steady Rain, In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play) and After Miss Julie so I can’t comment there.

Since the Tony committee foolishly eliminated the Best Theatrical Event award (they say “retired”; I say they’re “stupid”) it forces unique presentations such as Burn the Floor, Wishful Drinking, All About Me, and Come Fly Away into competition with more traditional plays and musicals (and the actors involved).

Oh, and remember Bye Bye Birdie? By all means, don’t.

Well, that’s interesting…

“Since Bobby also played Younger Brother in the recent Ragtime revival, we talked about its untimely closing. The devastating thing he said was that the producers were willing to keep the show running (!), but the theatre made them leave because they had another show that wanted to come in. So, Ragtime had to close to make way for The Orphan’s Home Cycle to open at the Neil Simon…but then it wound up going to another theatre! So, now, the Neil Simon is empty. Wah! The other sad news is, there is no full cast album. But, the good news is there’s going to be a Flaherty/Ahrens compilation CD coming out, and the new cast of Ragtime is going to record four songs for it!”

– Seth Rudetsky recalling his interview with Ragtime and Yank! star Bobby Steggert in his Onstage & Backstage Column, 2/15/10

Brief Encounter at "Ragtime"

It’s a New Year and to get things going, I made Ragtime my very first theatre trip of 2010. I had bought a ticket for this particular performance thinking it was going to be the final one, as announced last Monday. However due to a spike in ticket sales, the cast was given a one week reprieve, and ticket sales have gone up significantly since the notice was posting. A case of too little too late, perhaps, but it was nice to see a frenzy at the Neil Simon box office, and a sold out mezzanine.

The show itself is sublime, as I’ve previously mentioned. I’m very much in love with this particular production of the musical and am sad to see it go. So were those folks who sat next to me at this particular performance. To my right was a gentleman with his college-age son. The father had seen and loved the original and found himself overwhelmed by the impact of this particular performance. He expressed bewilderment at the negative reviews for the show from the major critics. His son was looking for a show to see this coming week (the production’s last) and seems have chosen to partake in this show’s lottery (and I wish him good luck, as it looks to be the hottest ticket in town for the next few days).

However, it is the woman seated to my left whom I’ll never forget. We didn’t say anything before the show started, and not even when the lights came up for intermission. However, throughout the show there had been some vociferous responses from the audience. The lights dimming brought on an explosion of applause, and when the curtain rose on that tableau vivant of the entire cast, the house gave an ovation similar to that of the first preview, lasting approximately 30 seconds.

It was toward the end of intermission when James Moore, the musical director and conductor emerged to cheers, bravos and a mini standing ovation by those in the mezzanine wondering who was being applauded by the orchestra. The lady turned to me and asked what all the excitement was about; why the audience reactions were so heightened. I explained to her that many of the folks were fans of the show who had bought tickets thinking it was the closing performance. She said “But it isn’t today, right? I thought they moved it to next Sunday.”

I said yes and also mentioned that there were people in attendance who were ardent admirers and most likely repeat visitors who had purchased tickets thinking it was the last performance (and admitted that I was one of those people). She looked at me with this expression of wonder and said to me, “I’m 81 and I started going to the theatre when I was 16, and I have never seen an audience react like this.” I did a double take, as the patrician and elegant lady looked closer to 61 than 81. When I told her that she didn’t look her age, she quipped, “There’s good lighting in here.”

When the show was over and we were all getting ourselves together to leave, she turned to me and asked, “When did this show start?” I told her the dates of the first preview and opening night. She paused and shook her head slightly and said “What a shame. Such a good show, and to see all those wonderful people working so hard now out of a job.”

The lady also spoke of how it’s not something her generation is used to; that they were raised on musicals were lighter in tone and in subject matter, such as Oklahoma! or Brigadoon. She said that to her Ragtime wasn’t a musical, but more of an operetta. The lady qualified her answer by telling me that it didn’t mean she didn’t like the production – she in fact loved it. She elaborated further:

“But we didn’t handle these subjects with as much honesty then as this show does now, so for my generation it’s a bitter pill to take. I would like to have seen other sides of the story: I’m of Italian descent and my family faced similar unwelcome when they arrived in this country. This is how it happened and that can be hard to accept. What a beautiful, beautiful production.”

Having someone with 65 years of Broadway history behind her, and admittedly little time to talk I asked her what her very first show was.

She responded, “My cousin was enlisted in the military and fighting in WWII. While he was away, his father (my father’s brother) died so when he came home on furlough my father wanted to do something nice for him, so he bought the two of tickets to see Oklahoma! and, oh it was such a night!”

Me: “Original cast?”

She: “Oh, yes! Alfred Drake and Celeste Holm!”

Needless to say, I was enraptured with her. I asked her the next question: “In 65 years of theatregoing, what was your all-time favorite?”

She smiled very broadly at me and said, as she put her hand over her heart, “I’ve loved so many… but I really loved My Fair Lady – and the original cast on that one too.” The last part was added on with bragging rights – rights very much deserved. I observed that the theatre was just around the corner (the former Mark Hellinger) and she said, “You have a better memory for that sort of thing than I do, young man. But I’ve got this large drawer filled with every playbill.” She paused, and smiled wistfully. Then she looked at me, still smiling, and said, “I’ve had a very good life.”

She and her daughter stopped to collect themselves in another row and we said our goodbyes. I took the opportunity to thank her for her recollections and tell her how genuinely happy I was to meet her. She thanked me for the conversation and wished me well as we went our separate ways. I never got her name, and while I would have loved to put the name with the piece I think part of the magic of my experience is in its anonymity. Talking with this woman was as much of a highpoint as was the show onstage. I hope when I’m 81, that I’m still as vibrant and excited a theatregoer as she is.

Theatrical Highlights of the Year

1. Reasons to Be Pretty. May 13, 2009 @ the Lyceum Theatre. Never make an unfavorable comparison between your girlfriend and the new hottie at work. That was Greg’s, the hero of Neil LaBute’s play, big mistake. After the news gets back to his girlfriend, it opens up a maelstrom of life-changing and affirming moments for his character, who ultimately learns to man up. The four-hander was well cast, with Tom Sadoski standing out above the rest but overshadowed by the more mature four-hander down the street that seemed to show what how these characters would end up in about 15-20 years (God of Carnage).

2. Mary Stuart. May 19, 2009 @ the Broadhurst Theatre. There’s nothing like watching two of the most fascinating figures in British history duking it out live onstage. Imported from the Donmar in London, Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter dominated in a spare, riveting staging of the Schiller play (in a new adaptation by Peter Oswald) directed by Phyllida Lloyd. Yeah, there were men onstage (namely John Benjamin Hickey and Nicholas Woodeson) but this revival belonged to both leading ladies in superlative performances. The play also sparked six months of bliss as Sarah, Kari, Roxie and other bloggers participated in “The Summer of Harriet Walter.”

3. Hair. May 24, 2009 @ the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. Well, I guess we all have dreams of making our Broadway debuts. I never actually thought I’d get to sing and dance onstage but lo and behold the revival of Hair captured me in ways I never thought possible. I’ve never really been a fan of the show – until I took in this performance where I was overwhelmed by Diane Paulus’ exceptionally organic staging. It’s a special experience, and one of a lifetime. If you see this revival, it’s imperative you make your way to the stage for the curtain call. You may never be the same.

4. The Royal Family. September 18, 2009 @ the Samuel Friedman. I have a soft spot for older comedies, particularly those set in NYC in the early half of the 20th century. Jan Maxwell led the cast with a superlative comic performance for the ages as the put-upon Julie Cavendish, a diva at wit’s end. Rosemary Harris supplied moments of hilarity and haunting poise as the family matriarch. The comic exploits of an eccentric, loving and larger-than-life theatrical dynasty were explored by Kaufman and Ferber in their 1927 comedy (a take-off on the Barrymore family) The revival was lovingly directed by Doug Hughes (and oh, what a set! And those costumes!) I’ve rarely wanted to become part of a fictional family onstage.

5. Superior Donuts. October 1, 2009 @ the Music Box Theatre. It’s not easy following up a Tony and Puliter Prize winning juggernaut, but Tracy Letts’ second Broadway outing was another import from Steppenwolf. This time, Tina Landau directed a tight ensemble in a much gentler comedy about the unlikely father-son relationship between disconnected former hippie Michael McKean and energetic, idealistic Jon Michael Hill. The story, which presents a more optimistic vision of America than August: Osage County is less ambitious and wholly different, offering an unexpectedly moving and often quite funny new play.

6. Finian’s Rainbow. October 8, 2009 @ the St. James Theatre. I thought the show was charming at Encores, but didn’t think it warranted a transfer to Broadway. Those thoughts were dashed when the show started previews in October. The cast was augmented by stellar replacements, including Christopher Fitzgerald’s winning turn as leprechaun Og. Warren Carlyle directed one a valentine to old-fashioned, Golden Age musicals. The production took on its reputation as a badly dated show and emerged one of the freshest and best reviewed experiences of the season. It also provided the luminescent Kate Baldwin her first leading lady turn on the Rialto.

7. Ragtime. October 23, 2009 @ the Neil Simon Theatre. I’ve waited ten years for the chance to see this musical, and in the first-ever Broadway revival I found myself inordinately moved by the staging, scenography and performances. Stripping away some of the excesses that are attached to the original lavish production, this import from the Kennedy Center (directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge) was actor-driven and a most memorable experience. Quentin Earl Darrington makes an auspicious debut as Coalhouse Walker Jr and Christiane Noll is a revelation as Mother.

8. The Norman Conquests. May 16, 2009 @ the Circle in the Square Theatre. I tend to make this list chronological, so as not to play favorites. But I can’t help but saving this best production for last. Of all the theatre I saw in the calendar year, this exceptional revival of the Alan Ayckbourn classic was the best. In fact, it may very well be the best I’ve seen in my life, but only time will tell. I took in two marathons of the show, and if time had permitted would have done it more. It was seven hours of hilariously heartbreaking theatre, and found myself sad that it was over by the end of the evening. The show was imported from the Old Vic and featured the brilliant six person ensemble, one of the best on stage this year. This production, directed by Matthew Warchus (and which trumps his Tony-winning work in God of Carnage), reminded me why I loved theatre in the first place and has inspired me to make certain changes in my life over the past six months. I only hope you were as lucky as I was to see such a magnanimous theatrical event.

Shows I want to see next year: The Addams Family, A View from the Bridge, La Cage Aux Folles, Promises Promises, Memphis, Race, Lend Me a Tenor, When the Rain Stops Falling, Sondheim on Sondheim, Enron, A Behanding in Spokane, The Miracle Worker, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, Next Fall, Present Laughter, Time Stands Still, Collected Stories, Fences, and Wishful Drinking.

"Miracle on 52nd Street"

That’s what the marketing team behind the struggling revival of Ragtime has called it. What a whirlwind couple of days its been for the cast and crew at the Neil Simon Theatre. It’s not been an easy ride for this music, an ambitious, heart-on-its-sleeve tapestry of American life in the early years of the 20th century. Starting from its original New York production which was met with mixed notices, the Disney broom across the street sweeping up the major Tonys and buzz and the financial collapse of the show’s producer Garth Drabinsky. Still that original run managed to eke out 834 performances in spite of its setbacks.

After a sold out run at the Kennedy Center, a new production of the musical moved to Broadway this fall where it was met with mostly positive notices, though there was that wholly ambiguous entry from the NY Times (if a review can be simultaneously construed as positive, mixed and negative, then that critic has not done his job… eh, Mr. Brantley?) as well as some reservations about the musical’s ambitions. In spite of some very good notices and word of mouth, Ragtime stayed mostly under the radar. The numbers don’t lie, and during one of the most prosperous periods on Broadway – the holiday season – the show failed to meet expectations and ignite at the box office.

Michael Riedel – that Broadway vulture you love to hate and hate to love – first mentioned word of a 1/3 closing for the revival back in early December. The viral effect on the internet was astounding, to whirls of posted closing notices and denials and rebuttals, etc. I’ve seen reports of the show closing on 12/13, 12/20, 1/3, and 1/17. Kevin McCollum, lead producer, was adamant in leading the charge against the viral campaign. But on Monday, the Broadway community elicited a collective “Hmmm…” when the initial rumor printed by Riedel happened to be true.

Something very interesting has happened in the 48 hours since the show announced its closing on 1/3 – ticket sales have skyrocketed. The Tuesday evening and Wednesday matinee performances were SRO, with the box office forced to send people away. In light of the sparked interest in the show, it was announced that there was a one week reprieve: the musical is now closing on 1/10 instead, bringing it to a run of 65 performances. My buddy Chris Caggiano asks “Start of a trend or a dead-cat bounce?” I guess we shall see..

Now, the Ragtime team has come up with the term “Miracle on 52nd Street” to describe the increased audience interest in the show. It’s a shame that it took a one-week closing notice to drum up the interest the show needed from its very first week of performances. Excitement levels and buzz are now on the rise, when it would seem that it’s too little, too late. It brings me back to another show that suffered a much more severe fate this season: Brighton Beach Memoirs, which folded after one week; a result of what appears to have been poor producing and marketing. I find it interesting that the lead producer on that revival, Emanuel Azenberg, is also a lead producer on this production of Ragtime.

Granted, it’s a small miracle, as the theatre has been booked by an upcoming show (which is not Fences, according to the show’s sources) and continued extensions seem highly unlikely, but it’s nice to see that the show is going to go out with some flair. This has been a season of the “major star.” The only guaranteed box office has been those shows with the star quality to match it, in spite of reception. For evidence, look to the artistically bankrupt Bye Bye Birdie from Roundabout that has done exceptionally well in the face of some of the worst reviews I’ve ever read, or the underwhelming revival of A Little Night Music at the Walter Kerr, which boasts one of the most beautiful movie stars in the world. Meanwhile the more artistically successful, if commercially risky revivals of Finian’s Rainbow and Ragtime are left in the dust. Finian’s has been more fortunate, as it is the best reviewed Broadway show of the fall, but it still faces an uphill climb.

Last year around this time, there was the usual early January closings. However most of those were older shows that had managed to run for quite some time. This is a bit different, as many of the shows closing on 1/3 are shows that have opened more recently, with the lovely Superior Donuts finding itself shuttering after a three month run. But I’m all about rooting for a show that’s good, but I find I’m especially fond of these underdogs.

Auspicious Debuts, 2009

Looking back as my year of theatregoing ends, I wanted to give a shout out to those performers in 2009 whose debut work made me sit up and take notice. Some are unknowns taking their first steps, others are established stars coming into NY theatre for the first time. There is no rhythm or rhyme to the list, just stream of consciousness. Here goes:

Seth Rettberg, Avenue Q: Performing the roles of Princeton and Rod on the national tour, and assuming understudy duties during the final months of the Broadway engagement of this little show that could, Rettberg assumes the mantle of leading man of this motley crew of subversive puppets. Mr. Rettberg gave a high energy performance, complete with offbeat charm and winsome presence, not to mention his pleasant pop tenor voice and stellar comic timing.

Jon Michael Hill, Superior Donuts: This is the Broadway debut this year that will one day give you bragging rights. Mr. Hill, a Steppenwolf Ensemble member, takes this new Tracy Letts play, puts it in his pocket and walks away with it. As Franco, the young, idealistic African American who reinvigorates star Michael McKean, Hill displayed skill and professionalism far more advanced than many of his peers. He has made a name for himself in Chicago, but his NY debut is only the first of what looks to be many great career successes.

Susan Louise O’Connor, Blithe Spirit: Most people don’t walk away from this classic Noel Coward play talking about Edith, the maid. But in this charming, but unevenly cast revival, Ms. O’Connor made many in the audience do just that. As the nervously eager maid in the Condomine household, the young starlet made an indelible comic impression with what little stage time she had, particularly a showstopping sequence in which she cleared a breakfast table. It cannot be easy to be in a play with such star quality, but where Rupert Everett and Christine Ebersole failed in their comic characterizations, Ms. O’Connor picked up their slack and then some.

Geoffrey Rush, Exit the King: He’s a world famous actor and an Oscar winner but that doesn’t stop the excellent Australian actor from making my list. Ionesco isn’t really my cup of tea. That said, I don’t know if I’ve ever been haunted by the memory of a performance more than I have been by Mr. Rush’s auspicious NY theatre debut. I’ll long remember Mr. Rush’s physicality as his King Berenger, fighting to keep his own life up until the very end of the play. I vividly see the actor, decked out in garish makeup and wearing pajamas and a crown, dancing around the stage, leading a march, etc. He was surrounded by choice costars including Susan Sarandon, Lauren Ambrose and the perennial favorite Andrea Martin. While all performed well, the evening belonged to Rush, who ended up taking home every award possible for his comic and tragic work. Those final moments, as Berenger slowly gives in to his mortality, will stay forever etched in my mind.

Amelia Bullmore, Jessica Hynes, Stephen Mangan, Ben Miles, Paul Ritter, Amanda Root, The Norman Conquests: I couldn’t just pick one here, it wouldn’t be fair given that ensemble nature is what made this production so successful. In what is one of the great productions of the decade, this revival of Alan Ayckbourn marked the American debut of this brilliant ensemble, all of whom transferred from the sold out run at the Old Vic late last year. While these six actors are well known for their theatre, TV and film work in London, they are not so well known here. However, the six actors, with director Matthew Warchus created one of the most vibrant and astounding experiences I’ve ever had inside any theatre in my life.

Quentin Earl Darrington, Ragtime. It’s not easy filling the shoes of Brian Stokes Mitchell, especially given the indelible mark the actor left on the role of Coalhouse Walker, Jr. in the original Broadway production. Mr. Darrington comes to Broadway in the part, after having played it in Marcia Milgrom Dodge’s acclaimed Kennedy Center production and is one of the many strengths in this actor-driven revival of a contemporary classic. Large in stature and voice, Darrington provides a gentle presence in the first act, and his fall into terrorism is all the more devastating as a result.

Alexander Hanson, A Little Night Music. The lone holdover from the original London production of this Trevor Nunn revival, Mr. Hanson strikes all the right notes as Fredrik Egerman. Expecting to be overwhelmed by Catherine Zeta-Jones, I was surprised at her mere adequacy especially when stacked against his superb, nuanced performance. Often the unsung lead of the show (let’s face it, most people talk about the ladies in this musical), Mr. Hanson strikes the right balance as the aging lawyer in search of his remote youth.

Honorable mentions: Noah Robbins, Brighton Beach Memoirs; Jude Law, Hamlet; Donna Migliaccio, Ragtime; Julia Stiles, Oleanna.

Ragtime DVR Alert!

Cast members from the revival of Ragtime will be hitting the TV airwaves this weekend with various appearances:

Quentin Earl Darrington, Christiane Noll, Robert Petkoff and Stephanie Umoh will appear on Good Morning America during the “One Warm Coat Drive” segment tomorrow morning Friday, December 18. The nationally syndicated live appearance will air at approximately 8:05a on ABC, Channel 7 in the Tri State area.

Quentin Earl Darrington, Christiane Noll and Robert Petkoff visit NY-1’s Onstage Audio studio for a round table interview with host Donna Karger.
On Stage airs on NY-1 News on Saturday, December 19 at 9:30a and 7:30p; Sunday, December 20 at at 9:30a and 7:30p; Monday, December 21 at 9:30p and late night/Tuesday morning, December 22 at 12:30a.

Quentin Earl Darrington and Stephanie Umoh sit down with WCBS-TV anchor Dana Tyler for an in studio chat about making their Broadway debuts in the hit musical.
The segment will air on the WCBS Morning News on Sunday, December 20 at 7:55a on Channel 2 in the tri-state area.

Christiane Noll will perform “Back to Before” on ABC’s The View live on Monday, December 21. The appearance will air in the 11:30a half hour on the nationally syndicated program on Channel 7 in the tri-state area.

"Ragtime" to present Monthly Talkbacks starting 12/15

Ragtime is pleased to announce a new monthly “Talkback Tuesday” series, Ragtime Talk Time, beginning Tuesday, December 15th. Ragtime Talk Time is free to anyone attending Tuesday evening performances when the talkbacks are scheduled.

The debut installment of Ragtime Talk Time will feature Tony Award® winning songwriting team Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty discussing their process of creating the score for Ragtime, which garnered them Broadway’s triple crown – the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, as well as their celebrated 26-year collaboration as one of the foremost theatrical songwriting teams of their generation.

Based on E.L. Doctorow’s epic acclaimed novel, Ragtime features direction and choreography by Marcia Milgrom Dodge, a majestic 28-piece orchestra led by musical director James Moore, and features a company of 40, starring Ron Bohmer (Father), Quentin Earl Darrington (Coalhouse Walker Jr.), Christiane Noll (Mother), Robert Petkoff (Tateh), Bobby Steggert (Mother’s Younger Brother), Stephanie Umoh (Sarah), with Christopher Cox (The Little Boy), Sarah Rosenthal (The Little Girl), Mark Aldrich (Willie Conklin), Aaron Galligan-Stierle (Henry Ford), Jonathan Hammond (Harry Houdini), Dan Manning (Grandfather), Michael X. Martin (J.P. Morgan), Mike McGowan (Stanford White), Donna Migliaccio (Emma Goldman), Josh Walden (Harry K. Thaw), Savannah Wise (Evelyn Nesbit), Eric Jordan Young (Booker T. Washington).

Ragtime is produced by Kevin McCollum, Roy Furman, Scott Delman, Roger Berlind, Max Cooper, Tom Kirdahy/Devlin Elliott, Jeffrey A. Sine, Stephanie McClelland, Roy Miller, LAMS Productions, Jana Robbins, Sharon Karmazin, Eric Falkenstein/Morris Berchard, Wendy Federman, Jamie deRoy, Sheila Steinberg, Lauren Stevens, Independent Presenters Network, Held-Haffner Productions, HRH Foundation and Emanuel Azenberg in association with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

At the dawn of the century, everything is changing…and anything is possible. Based on E.L. Doctorow’s celebrated epic novel and set in the volatile melting pot of turn-of-the-century New York, Ragtime weaves together three distinctly American tales — that of a stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant and a daring young Harlem musician — united by their courage, compassion and belief in the promise of the future. Their personal journeys come alive as historic figures offer guidance and diversion – among them escape artist Harry Houdini, auto tycoon Henry Ford, educator Booker T. Washington and infamous entertainer Evelyn Nesbit. Together, their stories celebrate the struggle between tradition and independence all in pursuit of the American dream.

The celebrated production team includes scenic design by Derek McLane, costume design by Santo Loquasto, lighting design by Donald Holder, sound design by Acme Sound Partners, hair and wig design by Edward J. Wilson and orchestrations by William David Brohn.

RAGTIME tickets prices are $46.50, $86.50 and $126.50 (including $1.50 facility fee) and available by calling Ticketmaster at 212-307-4100 or visiting