Ragtime

DramaDork925
Broadway Legend
joined:9/4/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
9/4/05
Ragtime#0
Posted: 12/25/05 at 7:13pm
I just got the recording for Ragtime and I am in LOVE with it... it is SO amazing... could anyone give me a bit of a synopsis?
Am I cut out to spend my time this way?
best12bars Profile Photobest12bars Profile Photo
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/29/05
re: Ragtime#1
Posted: 12/25/05 at 7:21pm
A synopsis would take hours. This is a very plot-heavy show, but a brilliant one. I'm amazed they got so much plot from the book into it. It helped having the characters "narrate" their own action in third-person.

I saw it 4 times in L.A. and once on Broadway. The L.A. cast was much better (as a whole) compared to Broadway. The NYC/Toronto cast didn't have as much warmth, and some of the acting wasn't as good. (I can't believe I'm saying that, since Marin Mazzie is a friend of mine... but it's true. No offense to Marin! She was fab, but the L.A. cast was superior overall.)

The first time I saw it, I literally sat in my seat at intermission and started crying. I was so overwhelmed by the "creatitivity" up there on the stage. (I know, I'm a total wuss.) The score was/is one of the best ever written for a musical. It was just the culmination of brilliant writing, direction and performing. A show like this doesn't come around very often at all.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3, Hamilton22
Updated On: 12/25/05 at 07:21 PM
GClef2 Profile PhotoGClef2 Profile Photo
GClef2
Broadway Legend
joined:10/30/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
10/30/05
re: Ragtime#2
Posted: 12/25/05 at 7:21pm
Here you go...It's an amazing show.
Synopsis
"The only way we live beyond our lives is to connect and carve ourselves into the souls of those we love." -Little Fish
shermanslave Profile Photoshermanslave Profile Photo
shermanslave
Broadway Legend
joined:11/28/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
11/28/03
re: Ragtime#3
Posted: 12/25/05 at 7:23pm
I love this show too. I hate that it opened at the same time as Lion King and had it's thunder stolen. I think it could have played so much longer if it could have trumpeted it's Tony Awards. Well, then there was that whole Livent financial fiasco too.

My partner was a dresser for the B'way production from open to close so I got to know a lot of the people in the show. Love it.
Please visit Bitchy Waiter
best12bars Profile Photobest12bars Profile Photo
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/29/05
re: Ragtime#4
Posted: 12/25/05 at 7:25pm
shermanslave --- I agree. It's a shame these two wildly creative shows had to go head to head.

Tony-Schmony, though. Ragtime would still be running if it weren't for the Livent crap.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3, Hamilton22
shermanslave Profile Photoshermanslave Profile Photo
shermanslave
Broadway Legend
joined:11/28/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
11/28/03
re: Ragtime#5
Posted: 12/25/05 at 7:32pm
Yeah, that Livent crap really sucked.

I love the opening number of Ragtime. The interchange with the three different groups of people was so simple and so powerful. I cried too all through that show.
Please visit Bitchy Waiter
Buddy Kiss Profile PhotoBuddy Kiss Profile Photo
Buddy Kiss
Stand-by
joined:12/24/05
Stand-by
joined:
12/24/05
re: Ragtime#6
Posted: 12/25/05 at 7:33pm
I would also recommend reading the novel, by the same title. Its a great read.
"Wickedness is a term invented by society to account for the curious attractivness of others." -Oscar Wilde
best12bars Profile Photobest12bars Profile Photo
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/29/05
re: Ragtime#7
Posted: 12/25/05 at 7:35pm
Glad to hear I wasn't alone with the "crying game." re: Ragtime

Yes! The novel is amazing, but it's also written as a narrative---allowing for a lot more plot than (even) the musical.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3, Hamilton22
Updated On: 12/25/05 at 07:35 PM
LizzieCurry Profile PhotoLizzieCurry Profile Photo
LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/7/05
re: Ragtime#8
Posted: 12/25/05 at 7:35pm
I never really cared for this show. Decent plot strung together with tons of overdone anthems.
"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
LizzieCurry Profile PhotoLizzieCurry Profile Photo
LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/7/05
re: Ragtime#9
Posted: 12/25/05 at 7:35pm
oops
"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
Updated On: 12/25/05 at 07:35 PM
iwearshoes Profile Photoiwearshoes Profile Photo
iwearshoes
Broadway Star
joined:12/6/04
Broadway Star
joined:
12/6/04
re: Ragtime#10
Posted: 12/25/05 at 7:37pm
I adore this show! I had the pleasure of working props when it was done in Orange county and it was just a supurb cast and a great show. It is emotionally draining and long but I think it is well worth it.
best12bars Profile Photobest12bars Profile Photo
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/29/05
re: Ragtime#11
Posted: 12/25/05 at 7:41pm
LizzieCurry --- That was my ONE complaint with the show as a whole: Too many power-ballads in the second act. I think they should have cut "Make Them Hear You." It's not needed (as much as I like the song). This scene would have worked SO much better with just dialogue... and silence... as he goes out to face his death.

As a result, the second act feels bloated, and kinda "hits you over the head" with its points. Cut this one song, add a little more dialogue (see the film version, if you want to see how well this library scene can really play) and the balance is restored.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3, Hamilton22
nmartin Profile Photonmartin Profile Photo
nmartin
Broadway Legend
joined:6/3/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/3/05
re: Ragtime#12
Posted: 12/25/05 at 7:41pm
One of the best scores and books ever. The opening number is the best I've ever seen. Loved it!! I saw it on Broadway with the obc and later saw the scaled-down tour; they were both superb.
best12bars Profile Photobest12bars Profile Photo
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/29/05
re: Ragtime#13
Posted: 12/25/05 at 7:43pm
I'm glad to hear the "scaled down" tour worked. I'm hoping that colleges and universities are producing this show. I don't think it needs huge production values to work (thank God).
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3, Hamilton22
LizzieCurry Profile PhotoLizzieCurry Profile Photo
LizzieCurry
Broadway Legend
joined:3/7/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/7/05
re: Ragtime#14
Posted: 12/25/05 at 7:44pm
best12bars, thanks. :) The thing is, the songs are great and wonderful and fine. On their own. But put them all together, and they lose their brilliance and impact simply because they're surrounded by such similar songs.
"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
best12bars Profile Photobest12bars Profile Photo
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/29/05
re: Ragtime#15
Posted: 12/25/05 at 7:48pm
Yes! We're hit over the head with one anthem after the other. It's not necessary. The story is compelling enough. The tragic tale of Coalhouse is enough... without him bursting into song at the moment before his death.

But other than that... this show is a masterpiece.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3, Hamilton22
DramaDork925
Broadway Legend
joined:9/4/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
9/4/05
re: Ragtime#16
Posted: 12/25/05 at 7:59pm
I was especially impressed by thefact that, emotionally, I could feel the music in my first listen. It usually takes me a couple of listens to get to the emotional message in a show, I didn't even fully appreciate RENT for awhile, but god, it's amazing! I almost cried LISTENING to it!
Am I cut out to spend my time this way?
best12bars Profile Photobest12bars Profile Photo
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/29/05
re: Ragtime#17
Posted: 12/25/05 at 8:02pm
I'm glad you "got" it the first time, DD925. As much as I love it, the music isn't for everybody. (I'm almost sad when I say that.)

You would have to understand ragtime music in general... its nostalgia flavor... its connection to both classical music, an idealized America, and African-American musical roots... Then I think these melodies and the music (overall) will resonate deep inside you, as it did me.

From the opening piano, I was totally hooked.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3, Hamilton22
Updated On: 12/25/05 at 08:02 PM
EvelynNesbit1906 Profile PhotoEvelynNesbit1906 Profile Photo
EvelynNesbit1906
Broadway Legend
joined:3/1/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/1/04
re: Ragtime#18
Posted: 12/25/05 at 8:03pm
I like "Make Them Hear You" better than "Back to Before."

Scaled-down productions of Ragtime are annoying. Evelyn not on her swing and no Houdini trick opening the second act? That's just disappointing. I'd like to see the show done again with all of the bells and whistles.

best12bars Profile Photobest12bars Profile Photo
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/29/05
re: Ragtime#19
Posted: 12/25/05 at 8:10pm
I agree, Evelyn, that it's "one or the other." But Back To Before is essential to the plot, because Mother makes the decision to leave her marriage and change her life DURING the song. Make Them Hear You, as much as I like this powerful, emotional song, isn't essential to the PLOT right then.

As much as I love "bells and whistles" myself, I don't think Ragtime suffers as a show without them. Sounds like they lacked imagination more than a budget. And there is NO excuse for THAT.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3, Hamilton22
Kass983 Profile PhotoKass983 Profile Photo
Kass983
Stand-by
joined:10/1/05
Stand-by
joined:
10/1/05
re: Ragtime#20
Posted: 12/25/05 at 8:14pm
I vaguely remember seeing a television version of Ragtime back in the 70's with the late Howard Rollins. I loved it. I got the OBC maybe 5 years ago and loved it too. I think what I loved about it most is that you don't feel like you're missing much of the plot because you haven't seen the show, similar to RENT. Whereas with Wicked, it's obvious that I need to see the show for it all to connect more completely.

I loved all of the power ballads, but I thought the baseball one, (can't remember the name), could have been cut.
EvelynNesbit1906 Profile PhotoEvelynNesbit1906 Profile Photo
EvelynNesbit1906
Broadway Legend
joined:3/1/04
Broadway Legend
joined:
3/1/04
re: Ragtime#21
Posted: 12/25/05 at 8:20pm
The problem with the barebones productions that have been common for the last few years is that they don't give my friends even a hint of what a special experience the show was for me, in its totality. The characterizations and music are swell but there's something to be said for having history recreated for you (in a stylized way) on stage.

Kass, you saw Milos Forman's 1981 film Ragtime. It is pity that Howard Rollins ended up dying young and depressed, just as Elizabeth McGovern faded into obscurity. Hmmmm. Randy Newman's score for the film is just brilliant, btw.

"What a Game" (the baseball one) is hilarious. It's essential to the score for... versatility! I think the greatest thing a Ragtime director could do to irritate me is cutting out this song and Evelyn, as has been suggested; I might just walk out.

Updated On: 12/25/05 at 08:20 PM
Kass983 Profile PhotoKass983 Profile Photo
Kass983
Stand-by
joined:10/1/05
Stand-by
joined:
10/1/05
re: Ragtime#22
Posted: 12/25/05 at 8:28pm
It was '81? Wow, the older you get the more the years melt together I swear. Yeah, Howard was only 46, it was tragic.

What A Game, I'm glad you like it and I have to admit, I laugh when I hear it, but we disagree on its essentialness. They'd better not touch Evelyn's song though, I'd walk out too! : )

best12bars Profile Photobest12bars Profile Photo
best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/29/05
re: Ragtime#23
Posted: 12/25/05 at 8:30pm
I, too, like What a Game. It's needed for balance, and shows that Father is at least TRYING with his son.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3, Hamilton22
jackson992
Broadway Star
joined:12/25/04
Broadway Star
joined:
12/25/04
re: Ragtime#24
Posted: 12/25/05 at 8:37pm
What a Game is cute but compared to the other songs doesn't seem quite to fit. I love Make Them Hear You and Back To Before and of course Wheels of a Dream. This show is how I fell in love with Audra's voice.