Broadway Beyond Louisville Review: RAGTIME IN CONCERT Presented by Cincinnati Pops at Cincinnati Music Hall

Running now through April 30th.

By: Apr. 29, 2023
Broadway Beyond Louisville Review: RAGTIME IN CONCERT Presented by Cincinnati Pops at Cincinnati Music Hall
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In January 1998, Ragtime opened on Broadway where it would run over 800 performances and be nominated for 13 TONY Awards (winning four). With lyrics and music by Broadway mainstays Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and a book by the late great Terrance McNally, the show has more than proved it could, and would, stand the test of time. The show would be revived on Broadway in 2009 and has been performed throughout the world in countless productions and concert versions much like the one currently playing at Cincinnati Music Hall.

The show starts in 1902 at the turn of the century. In the show's prologue, we are introduced to three groups living in New York City. The first being the rich and affluent white family consisting of Father (Ron Bohmer), Mother (Ashley Brown), Mother's Younger Brother (Nicholas Pattarini), Little Boy (Paul Hahn), and Grandfather (Brian Richardson). Next we meet the African Americans consisting mainly of Coalhouse Walker Jr. (Alton Fitzgerald White) and Sarah (Nikki Renée Daniels). Finally, we meet Tateh (understudy Marck David Kaplan) and Little Girl (Maggie Zink) who are Jewish immigrants from Latvia. Throughout the course of the show their lives slowly and unexpectedly intersect in ways that are ultimately both beautiful and tragic.

This cast for this concert production is stunning. Ashley Brown's Mother is flawlessly sung, and she brings so much deep emotion to the role; her "Back to Before" is one of the definitive highlights of the evening, soaring into the rafters with crystal clear perfection. She does the late, great Marin Mazzie proud. Ron Bohmer as Father is a true delight as well, playing the role sternly but compassionately, he strikes many of the right emotional beats. Alton Fitzgerald White's Coalhouse is fiery and impassioned with a voice as smooth as silk. Nikki Renée Daniel's Sarah is brilliant. She's giving a masterclass acting performance; her rendition of "Your Daddy's Son" moved me to tears. I'd like to give a well-deserved shout-out to Klea Blackhurst's Emma Goldman. Blackhurst was incredibly engaging, while also adding a bit of levity to the seriousness of the material.

Although this was a concert production (also directed by Alton Fitzgerald White), it was very well done by everyone involved. Most of the cast is onstage the entire time, lined up across the front of the orchestra, a full ensemble on a platform above the back of the orchestra. Much of the cast kept scripts in hand, but in my opinion, there is no quality lost from the rich and nuanced performances the cast is providing.

I'd be remiss if I didn't point out the phenomenal, Grammy-nominated, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, conducted by the charismatic John Morris Russell. It's so rare to hear a score as epic as Ragtime played by such a large group of musicians, and that alone makes the show more than worth attending. There's something insanely special happening right now at Cincinnati Music Hall, and I'm sad to say it's only happening this weekend. If you can, get downtown to see this concert production of Ragtime, it's truly a singular and beautiful experience.


April 29th at 7:30p and April 30th at 2p

Cincinnati Music Hall

1241 Elm St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Photo Credit: Mark Lyons


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