Bill English, Nkrumah Gatling, Teal Wicks & More to Star in RAGTIME at Signature Theatre

Performances run October 24, 2023 – January 7, 2024 in Signature’s MAX Theatre.

By: Sep. 26, 2023
Bill English, Nkrumah Gatling, Teal Wicks & More to Star in RAGTIME at Signature Theatre

Signature Theatre has revealed the cast and creative team for the epic musical Ragtime, with book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty, and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Based on the novel by E. L. Doctorow, the production will be directed by Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner (Signature’s Into the Woods, RENT), with music direction by Jon Kalbfleisch (Signature’s Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods), and choreography by Ashleigh King (Signature’s Which Way to the Stage, Ford’s Grace). The production stars Bill English (Broadway’s Anything Goes) as Father, Nkrumah Gatling (Broadway’s Camelot) as Coalhouse Walker Jr., Jake Loewenthal (Signature’s Into the Woods) as Mother’s Younger Brother, Awa Sal Secka (Signature’s Gun and Powder) as Sarah, Bobby Smith (Signature’s No Place to Go) as Tateh, and Teal Wicks (Broadway’s The Cher Show) as Mother. Performances run October 24, 2023 – January 7, 2024 in Signature’s MAX Theatre. Tickets are available at

“Ragtime is a timeless masterpiece that continues to resonate with audiences 25 years after it premiered on Broadway,” said Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner. “Terrence McNally, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s artful adaption of E. L. Doctorow’s expansive novel is life-affirming and moving, a thoughtful reflection on the flaws of American patriotism that uplifts the voices of the downtrodden and emphasizes how every little choice we make is interconnected. Weaving together the tapestry of America’s past with the urgency of our present moment, Ragtime is one of the great American musicals, and I am thrilled to bring this story to life in Signature’s MAX Theatre with this incredible group of artists. I promise an opportunity to experience this iconic musical like you never have before.”

“Signature is well-known for producing ambitious, boundary-pushing musicals in an intimate space, and Ragtime proudly continues that tradition,” said Managing Director Maggie Boland. “Similar to our productions of Titanic and West Side Story, Ragtime will feature a large-scale cast and orchestra – 33 actors and 16 musicians – while still guaranteeing that audiences are no more than 10 rows from the action onstage. Signature offers a musical experience unlike any other.”

Ragtime is a triumphant Tony Award-winning musical portrait of America at the turn of the 20th century. The stories of three American families intertwine against the backdrop of a towering slate of historical figures. Together, through a dazzling array of musical styles from the era, they weave a stunning tapestry that reveals both the promise and prejudice of the American experience. In the tradition of Titanic, West Side Story and Into the Woods, Signature reinvents this expansive epic for its trademark intimate space.

The cast of Ragtime is rounded out by Erin Driscoll (Signature’s Titanic) as Ensemble, Ariel Friendly (Florida Studio Theatre’s Cinderella) as Ensemble, Claire Leyden (National Tour of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as Ensemble, Keenan McCarter (Signature’s The Color Purple) as Ensemble, NURNEY (Broadway’s The Book of Mormon) as Ensemble, Lawrence Redmond (Signature’s Into the Woods) as Grandfather, Maria Rizzo (Signature’s She Loves Me) as Evelyn Nesbit, Theodore Sapp (Olney Theatre Center’s The Joint) as Ensemble, Todd Scofield (Shakespeare Theatre Company’s King Lear) as J.P. Morgan, Edward L. Simon (New Repertory Theatre’s Hair) as Harry HoudiniDani Stoller (Signature’s Which Way to the Stage) as Emma Goldman, Jordyn Taylor (Constellation Theatre Company’s Once on this Island) as Sarah's Friend, Gregory Twomey (ArtsCentric’s RENT) as Willie Conklin, Douglas Ullman Jr. (Off-Broadway’s The Fantasticks) as Henry Ford, Kara-Tameika Watkins (Signature’s Passing Strange) as Ensemble, and Tobias A. Young (Signature’s Passing Strange) as Booker T. Washington. 

The role of The Little Boy will be played by Matthew Lamb (Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building). The role of The Little Girl will alternate between Avery Laina Harris and Emerson Holt Lacayo, while the role of Coalhouse Walker III will alternate between Jonathan Keith and Maxwell Kwadjo Talbert. Tobi Baisburd (Jerry Herman Ring Theatre’s Godspell), Trenton McKenzie Beavers (Monumental Theatre Company’s Spring Awakening), IO Browne (ArtsCentric’s Little Shop of Horrors), Jordan Clark Halsey (Theater Alliance’s Blood at the Root), and Lucas Rahaim (Toby's Dinner Theatre’s It's a Wonderful Life) are understudies. 

The creative team for Ragtime includes Scenic Design by Lee Savage (Signature’s Into the Woods), Costume Design by Erik Teague (Signature’s RENT), Lighting Design by Tyler Micoleau (Broadway’s Into the Woods), Sound Design by Eric Norris(Signature’s The Bridges of Madison County), and Wig Design by Anne Nesmith (Signature’s Sweeney Todd). Casey Kaleba is the Fight Choreographer, Lisa Nathans is the Dialect Coach, and Dr. Amena Johnson is the EDIA Consultant/Dramaturg. Music preparation is by Scott Ninmer. Casting is by Jorge Acevedo. New York Casting is by Whitley Theatrical, Benton Whitley, CSA & Micah Johnson-Levy. Kerry Epstein is the Production Stage Manager, Joey Blakely, Taryn Friend and Julia Singer are the Assistant Stage Managers, Jack Norman is the Production Assistant, Clancey Yovanovich is the Associate Director, William Yanesh is the Associate Music Director, Dominic DeSalvio is the Assistant Lighting Designer, Eliijah Thomas is the 2nd Assistant Lighting Designer, Phoenix Sweeney is the Assistant Sound Designer, and Alexander Greenberg is the Keyboard Programmer.

Twitter & Instagram: @SigTheatre 
Hashtag: #SigRagtime


Signature Theatre is a Tony Award®-winning regional theater that broadens and brightens the region’s cultural landscape with its bold productions of challenging new and established works and engaging education and outreach programs. Founded in 1989 by Eric Schaeffer and Donna Migliaccio, and currently under the leadership of Managing Director Maggie Boland and Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner, musical theater is Signature’s “signature,” and the Theatre is renowned for its definitive Sondheim productions, inventive adaptations of overlooked or forgotten works, and investment in fresh new projects. Signature combines Broadway-caliber productions with intimate playing spaces and aims to be a leading force in U.S. musical theater.   

Since its inception, the Theatre has produced 60 world premiere works—including 19 new musical commissions. Signature opens its doors to more than 100,000 people annually from the Washington, DC region and beyond and reaches more than 10,000 students every year through its innovative education programs, including the award-winning initiative Signature in the Schools. Signature has won 140 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the Washington, DC region’s professional theater and has been honored with 482 nominations.


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