Laura Michelle Kelly, Brandon Victor Dixon & More Set for Site-Specific RAGTIME Concert on Ellis Island

By: Jun. 23, 2016

The Tony Award-winning musical Ragtime will receive a one-night site-specific developmental concert on Ellis Island on August 8, 2016. An all-star cast of Broadway and Off-Broadway veterans including Olivier winner Laura Michelle Kelly, Tony and Grammy nominee Brandon Victor Dixon, Emmy winner Michael Park, Robert Petkoff, Shaina Taub, and five-time Emmy nominee Georgia Engel will perform a selection of songs from the American musical with music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Sammi Cannold will direct the concert in anticipation of a full production in 2017.

The concert will feature performances by Laura Michelle Kelly (Finding Neverland, Mary Poppins) as Mother, Brandon Victor Dixon (Shuffle Along, Motown) as Coalhouse Walker Jr., Michael Park (Dear Evan Hansen, Tuck Everlasting) as Father, Shaina Taub (Hadestown, Old Hats) as Emma Goldman, and Robert Petkoff (All The Way, Ragtime) reprising his 2009 Broadway revival role of Tateh. Cooper Grodin (Phantom of the Opera: 25th Anniversary Tour, LES MISERABLES: 25th Anniversary Tour) will play Harry K. Thaw, Aisha Jackson (Waitress, Beautiful) will play Sarah's Friend, Jeremy Morse (Waitress, Bloodsong of Love: Ars Nova) will play Harry Houdini, Rod Singleton (Black Angels Over Tuskegee: St. Lukes, Romeo & Juliet: Stages on the Sound) will play Booker T. Washington, and Annie Sherman (Violet: Stanford) will play Evelyn Nesbit. the concert will also feature a cameo from five-time Emmy nominee Georgia Engel (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, John) as Houdini's Mother. Full casting will be announced at a later date, and this summer's performance will be by invitation only. For inquiries and information, please visit

In 2015, the National Park Service issued a permit for the creation of a one-of-a-kind production of the musical Ragtime on Ellis Island. Ragtime is a portrait of a turning point in American history as it follows three families in pursuit of the American dream at the start of the 20th century. In Ragtime, we meet an upper-class family from New Rochelle that must grapple with their notions of class and agency, we meet determined Latvian immigrants who come to New York through the gateway of Ellis Island, and we meet a daring young couple from Harlem who must combat racism and bigotry to ensure a bright future for their son. In a site-specific re-telling of this classic musical, these stories will be told in Ellis Island's historic Registry Room, through which 12 million immigrants passed between 1892 and 1954. The question of what it means to be and become American is just as relevant now as it was in 1902, and in asking that question in the very room where so many of our ancestors discovered the answer, Ragtime on Ellis Island offers an unprecedented opportunity to bring history to life in new ways.

This summer's developmental concert will feature a selection of songs that highlight Ragtime's nuanced discussion on American identity. Following the performance, Audience members will explore Ellis Island's exhibits and Family Immigration Center.

Ragtime will be directed by Sammi Cannold (Violet on a moving bus at A.R.T., an assistant director for Diane Paulus and Rachel Chavkin) with music direction by Madeline Smith (Asst. Waitress, Asst. Frozen). Casting by Ally Kiley. This performance will be presented by Suzanne Friedman, and will be produced by Brandon Powell and Sammi Cannold.

The production team will be working with The New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Park Service, Evelyn Hill Inc., Statue Cruises, and Bestek Lighting and Staging to bring this production to Ellis Island. Ragtime is produced by special arrangement with Music Theatre International and Actors' Equity Association.

Ragtime was developed in Toronto in 1996 with a book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty, and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, based on the novel by E. L. Doctorow. The show first opened on Broadway in 1998, starring Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald, Marin Mazzie, Peter Friedman, and Judy Kaye. Garnering 13 Tony nominations and 4 wins, the show went on tour in the U.S. before moving to London, where it was nominated for 8 Olivier Awards. The 2009 Broadway revival received 6 Tony nominations and closed in 2010.


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