RAGTIME Opens Tonight at Milwaukee Rep
Voted by Time Magazine as among the Top 100 Best Novels of the last century, this sweeping musical portrait of early 20th century America tells the powerful tale of a white, upper-middle class family, an African-American couple and an Eastern European immigrant escaping to America with his daughter, as they all confront the timeless contradictions of wealth, poverty, freedom, prejudice, hope, and despair in pursuit of the American Dream. Unfolding through the fiery rhythms of Harlem and Tin Pan Alley, and the vibrant klezmer of the Lower East Side, this vivid and unforgettable Tony-winning score bursts onto the stage "on the wheels of a dream" in what will be the largest and most epic production ever staged at The Rep.
Ragtime will be directed by Artistic Director Mark Clements who begins his fourth season at Milwaukee Repertory Theater and recently renewed his contract for another four years. The epic production will feature a cast of 36 actors and 9 musicians on the Quadracci Powerhouse stage, The Rep's main stage theater.
The cast for Ragtime includes: Broadway veterans Carmen Cusack, Gavin Gregory and David Hess, Associate Artists Jonathan Gillard Daly andGerard Neugent, along with frequent Rep guest actor Kelley Faulkner. Returning to The Rep are Melissa Joy Hart, Carl Clemons Hopkins andBeth Mulkerron. Making their Rep debuts are Michael Doherty, Elizabeth Earley, Rachael Ferrera, Jessie Hooker, Josh Landay, Gabriel Mudd, James Patterson, Sam Strasfeld, Bethany Thomas and Steve Watts. The children's cast for Ragtime includes Luke Brotherhood, Tyler Johnson, Georgina Pink, Samuel Langston Powell, Mallorey Wallace and Deonta Oscar Williams. Ragtime runs in the Quadracci Powerhouse from September 17 - October 27 and opens tonight, September 21 at 8:15 p.m. (Please note special date and time for Saturday night opening date.)
"With my arrival, The Rep instituted a tradition of producing powerful, thought-provoking musicals in the Quadracci Powerhouse" says Artistic Director Mark Clements. "This season's offering is an extremely moving and uplifting adaptation of E.L. Doctorow's well-loved and epic novel,Ragtime. This musical is guaranteed to live in your memory forever." Touching on the significance of Ragtime at this current moment in history, Clements added: "Ragtime is set in a very specific period of American history, but the issues that it raises and explores remain some of the very same that are being discussed today both in Milwaukee and nationwide. . . . The play's epic story and soaring music provide a rousing vehicle to continue these important community conversations about identity and our own interpretations of the American Dream, as well as the full scope of the human experience. Ragtime is hopefully one of those experiences in the theater that reaffirms the good things that we have in our lives, while reminding us at the same time to continue to fight the fights that we think are worth fighting in order to make our world and our community even stronger places."
Milwaukee Rep will host a series of special events and programs around Ragtime.
- Rep In Depth - get an insider's look at the production from cast member Gerard Neugent with a discussion that begins 20 minutes prior to every performance.
- TalkBacks - Friday, Sept. 27, Oct. 4, 11, 18 and 25 - join members of the cast after the show for a Q&A moderated by a member of The Rep Artistic Staff.
- Powerhouse PowerHour Thursday, Sept. 19, 6pm - young professionals join together to enjoy complimentary appetizers and free beer provided byRock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery with live music by Lil' Rev.
Sponsored in part by 88Nine. Tickets to the show and social hour just $20. More information at www.Milwaukeerep.com/powerhour/.
- Lunch Matinee, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 11:45pm - enjoy lunch and a conversation about Ragtime at the InterContinental Milwaukee. Cost is $15 per person and reservations are required at email@example.com or 414-291-4790.
- Model T Rally, Saturday, Oct. 19, 1 pm - join members of the Milwaukee Model T Club on the Rep Patio on Wells Street as they show off some of their prized Model T Cars in mint condition. The event is free and open to the public.