Wheelock Family Theatre Announces The Tony Award-Winner RAGTIME
Wheelock Family Theatre at Boston University's production will reveal the contemporary resonances of the Tony Award-winning musical, Ragtime, based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow with book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty, and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Performances will run Friday, January 25th (Opening) through Sunday, February 17th with Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 7:30pm, and Sundays at 2 pm. Tickets are $20-40 and may be purchased online by visiting https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/dept/1292.
Ragtime is a kaleidoscopic journey of three distinct families at the turn of the 20th century in New York City: the upper echelon socialites of New Rochelle, the African-American residents of Harlem, and the Jewish immigrant community. To expand upon the American experience, the musical tracks such historical celebrities as Harry Houdini, Evelyn Nesbitt, Booker T. Washington, Emma Goldman, JP Morgan, and Henry Ford. According to Artistic Director, Emily Ranii, "The history of Ragtime is cyclical. We remain a nation of immigrants grappling with our intersecting identities, the false promises of the American Dream, and the very meaning of justice. And still, we relentlessly pursue the human capacity for magic and love."
To emphasize the circular nature of history, Director Nick Vargas and scenic designer Lindsay Fuori are setting the production where the story ends, in the JP Morgan library. To launch the production, contemporary actors will enter the library and one actor, a child, will find E.L Doctorow's book on a shelf and recruit his fellow cast mates to join him in telling the story of Ragtime. "We will be examining the intertwining storylines through the lens of young people," says Vargas. "How do the decision makers (the adults) in the world impact the next generation? What can the young people do to not only learn from, but do better than, those that came before them?"
Members of the production team and cast alike are reflecting on what Ragtime means to them. Anthony Pires Jr., the actor playing Coalhouse Walker Jr., says: "Ragtime to me means having the opportunity to have a voice to stand up for what you believe in. It's a chance to tell your story, to provide an understanding that, in order to make change, we need to stand together."
It is from this need for togetherness that Tateh, an immigrant filmmaker in Ragtime, gets the idea for his next movie: "a bunch of children, white, black, Christian, Jew, rich, poor-all kinds-a gang, a crazy gang getting into trouble, getting out of trouble, but together despite their differences. He was sure it would make a wonderful movie-a dream of what this country could be." Or, in the words of actor Tony Castellanos: "I hope audiences will go away feeling a connection with each other, not based on color of skin, but just as other humans living together. As fathers, mothers, brothers, neighbors."
WFT's production of Ragtime features: Jonathan Acorn, Peter S. Adams*, Tony Castellanos*, Kennedy Campbell, Ben Choi-Harris, Tara Deieso, Christina Gomez, Abigail Mack, Dwayne P. Mitchell*, Davron Monroe*, Yewande Odetoyinbo*, Matthew Packard, Henry Patton, Lily Park, Anthony Pires Jr*, Mia Porter*, Brad Foster Reinking, Robert Saoud*, Nicole Sarro*, Tom Sawyer, Carolyn Saxon*, Jenna Lea Scott*, Max Seelig, Marissa Simeqi, Dan Sullivan, Lisa Yuen*, Edan Zinn. *indicates a member of Actors Equity Association
WFT's creative team for Ragtime includes Nick Vargas (Director), Jon Goldberg (Musical Director), Nailah Randall-Bellinger (Choreographer), Lindsay Fuori (Scenic Design), Aja Jackson (Lighting Design), Zoë Sundra (Costume Design), Matthew Lazure (Scenic Painting), Elizabeth Rocha (Properties), B.C. Williams (Sound Design), Keithlyn Parkman (Master Electrician), Nicky Carbone (Stage Manager), and Kyle Hanscom (Assistant Stage Manager).