Thursday, August 6, 2020

BDT STAGE: Streamed on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7pm August 6-29
L-R" Tracy Warren, Wayne Kennedy and Charles Ray King, Jr.

     With music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, as well as book for the musical by the late Terrence McNally, RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL is based upon the 1975 novel by E.L. Doctorow.
     Nominated for twelve Tonys, it garnered four: Best Book of a musical (Terrence McNally), Best Original Score (Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens), Best Orchestrations(William David Brown) and Best Performance by a Featured Actress (Audra McDonald).
     Set in the early days of the 1900s, Ragtime follows three segments of American society:a group of African Americans represented by Coalhouse Walker, Jr., an upper class white suburban family in New Rochelle, represented by its matriarch (Mother), and a group of Eastern European immigrants, represented by Tateh, a Latvian Jew.
     A number of historical figures are interwoven into Terrence McNally's book for the musical. Among them are: Harry Houdini, Emma Goldman, Booker T. Washington and J. P. Morgan.
     Charles Ray King,Jr. delivers a tour de force as Coalhouse. From his bright and bouncy singing of "The Gettin' Ready Rag," to "The Wheels of a Dream" to "Make Them Hear You," Mr. King is a force to be reckoned with.
     Coalhouse's paramour, Sarah, is played by Camryn Torres, a new addition to the constellation of stars at BDT Stage. One hopes to see her onstage again soon.
     Tracy Warren's nuanced portrayal of Mother delivers a character of tenderness and strength. Her soaring soprano in the singing of "We Can Never Go Back to Before" will take your breath away.
     Wayne Kennedy's Tateh is a wonderfully tender, affectionate and protective father.
     Scott Beyette's performance as Father is appropriately stern and unyielding.
     Scott Severtson's portrayal of Younger Brother's ascent from adoring fan to social activist, shows him once again to be 'a natural' in the craft of acting.
     Alicia K. Meyers portrays social lightning rod, Emma Goldman, with spunk and backbone.
     Linda Morken's costumes are eye-popping as usual.
     Neal Dunfee's music direction of the beefed up BDT stage orchestra is outstanding. 
             Thanks to director Michael Duran for casting this show so impeccably, and allowing all the aspects of the show to come together in the imaginative 'melting pot' it is. 
            It would have been great to have seen the show live onstage. Unfortunately this virus has us all staying home. The show is one of this reviewer's favorite musicals, and aside from some issues with the sound  and learning how to access the show in a new way, it's a treat to get to see it!
            Duran promises that the technical issues of translating sound from stage to screen will be worked out soon.

            For tickets go online at or call the box office at 303-449-6000