Review: RAGTIME at Bay Street Theater

Ragtime runs through August 28, 2022.

By: Aug. 11, 2022
Review: RAGTIME at Bay Street Theater

I had the honor of seeing the original Broadway cast of the Tony-winning musical Ragtime as my very first Broadway show. So, as you can guess, I am absolutely ecstatic to see that the Bay Street Theater added it to their fantastic mainstage season this year. This well done and heart rendering incarnation is excellently directed by Will Pomerantz - who also serves at Bay Street's Associate Artistic Director - and runs through August 28th at the gorgeous Sag Harbor venue.

The story, based on the 1975 novel by E.L. Doctorow, centers on three groups of people in the United States -in New York City, specifically - around the the turn of the 20th century. We follow them as they each take us through their American experience; three different facets of society and three different perspectives. We first meet New Rochelle suburbanites headed up by Mother, then we meet African Americans headed up by musician Coalhouse Walker, Jr., and then we meet Eastern European immigrants headed up by Tateh, a Jewish man from Latvia. The gripping, well-crafted book for this show is done by Terrence McNally with a virtual masterpiece of a score by Lynn Ahrens (Lyrics) and Stephen Flaherty (Music) that includes marches, gospel and, of course, ragtime.

First and foremost, if you've seen a production of this musical, you know how large the cast typically is; around thirty/thirty five people. Bay Street has a more intimate stage and this production's cast has around half of that. And, they made it just as majestic. Let me tell you it is truly mesmerizing to see all but a couple of people take on multiple roles in this behemoth of a show.

Among the cast, Kyrie Courter exquisitely portrays the role of Sarah. Indeed, Ms. Courter expertly delivers Sarah's heart breaking story and performances leaving no dry eye in the house. Ms. Courter also makes a brilliant team with Derrick Davis, who magnificently portrays Coalhouse Walker, Jr., the father of Sarah's newborn child. In particular, an audience favorite is their performance of "Wheels Of A Dream" that brings thunderous applause. Mr. Davis' take on the role is terrific; energetic and light in the beginning turning into angst ridden and dark as the story progresses. Also a standout is Lora Lee Gayer who is absolutely stunning as Mother with a voice that is perfect for this soaring score. I truly could go on and on (and on!) about the whole company as they are all extraordinary and breathtaking.

On the brilliant creative team, Anna Louizos designs the bi-level set; a loft where Sarah stays in Mother's house has been cleverly put in. Everything on the stage is relatively stationary making for seamless scene changes with additional rolling pieces. Be sure to fully take in the grand opening number with boffo choreography by Lauren and Christopher Grant. This is enhanced beautifully by Mike Billings' superb lighting design with Jon Weston heading up the sound design. And, of course, Hunter Kaczorowski's costumes are simply stunning.

And so, Ragtime is without question a must see this Summer season. The Bay Street Theater of Sag Harbor does not disappoint, folks. A stellar cast and gripping story make for a moving night of theater.

Photo by Lenny Stucker: Rachel Parker, Taylor Jackson, Derrick Davis, Clyde Voce, and Davon Williams

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From This Author - Melissa Giordano

Melissa has been covering theatre for BroadwayWorld for the past eight years and has loved every second of it. She is consistently inspired by the talent of the artists of her beloved Long Island and ... Melissa Giordano">(read more about this author)


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