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Ragtime the Musical in Concert (2004)

a Musical (Concert only)
CATEGORY : MUSICAL
by McNally/Ahrens/Flaherty

COMPANY : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. (Decatur) [WEBSITE]
ID# 992

SHOWING : August 06, 2004 - August 28, 2004

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Back by popular demand! If you missed it the first time round, come back and catch it again with the (mostly) original cast!

This epic musical by the award-winning composer/lyricist team Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (Once On This Island, Seussical) paints a nostalgic and powerful portrait of life in turn of the century America. Based on E.L. Doctorow’s distinguished novel, Ragtime intertwines three distinct stories that poignantly illustrate history’s timeless contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair, and love and hate.

Flaherty’s score is just as diverse as the Melting Pot of America that it seeks to recreate. It draws upon traditional Jewish folk sounds to color the haunting music of the immigrants, Vaudeville’s outrageous style to capture the spectacle of Evelyn Nesbit, and Joplin and Jazz to invoke the enlivened spirit of Harlem.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Jeffery Brown
Lighting designer Tom Gillespie
Light board operator Chris Montedoro
Stage Manager Rachel Rooney
Set designer Scott F. Rousseau
Guitar and Mandolin Jeff Lamb
Violin Tara Mitchell
Percussion L. Gerard Reid
Musical Director Linda Uzelac
Ensemble Kimberly Bates
Sarah's Friend Summer Bergeron
Younger Brother Charlie Bradshaw
Ensemble Fracena Byrd
Emma Goldman Martie Carlson
Tateh Eric Catania
Father Alan S. Clarke
Ensemble Consuelo DuConge
Henry Ford Scott Shelton Ebert
Sarah Lynne Evans
J.P. Morgan Thom Gonyeau
Grandfather Michael Huey
Mother Jerrica Knight
Evelyn Nesbit Kristie Krabe
Colehouse Walker Nat Martin
Admiral Peary Ken McMillian
Ensemble David Mitchell
Little Boy Jake Rooney
Little Girl Kelly Rooney
Ensemble Ami Rosen
Emma Goldman Martie Carlson Rudd
Willie Conklin Paul Spadafora
Booker T. Washington Marshall Thomas
Harry Houdini Russ Williamson
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

Too Bad for you if you missed this!!!!
by Meisner Guy
Monday, August 30, 2004
5.0
For you sad saps who waited until the last minute to see this show, and then tried to get a ticket - I was laughing at you from the line of Will Call. I do feel pity for you, though for missing this extraordinary show. It is a shame that it is gone.

So, lets get down to the nitty gritty and talk about what was so good about Ragtime!

THE CAST: Wow, wow, and wow. Not a weak link among them. Eric Catania's Tateh had perfect diction, accent, emotion and voice. Truly entertaining to watch. Jerrica Knight's Mother was beautifully voiced and gracefully acted. Lynne Evans Sarah was gorgeous! A beautiful voice backed by emotion and intensity. Nat Martin's Coalhouse was outstanding. I wish he had more money notes like in "New Music". Charlie Bradshaw's Younger Brother was robbed of most of his character development, but his beautiful voice and emotion made up for the loss. Marty Carlson's Emma Goldman was powerful and just a bit scary - I liked it! Kristie Krabe's Evelyn Nesbit was fabulous, with all the cutness and sexiness of Marilyn Monroe with the comic timing of Carol Burnett - I have a crush on her now. And the role of Sarah's Friend played by Summer Bergeron was powerful. It had the ladies in the back row standing and answering back in Baptist Church fashion. Speak it! And the rest of the show was beautifully rounded out by an amazing ensemble of folks. The level of committment in everyone's faces was amazing. I have never seen an "In Concert" Performance where the folks onstage were really observing the action and reacting to it, and not just wating for the next time to stand and sing.

THE DIRECTION: Great job by all involved. I know this show very well (It has permanent rotation in my CD player in my car), and I know what a daunting story it is to tell with out all the lavish sets and props. Jefferey Brown did a great job of keeping in what was important to the story line. I was only bothered by a few ommissions that might have made the story flow better, such as making it clear that Sarah's child did live, that Sarah was beaten to death and Coalhouse did die. People not familiar with the story may have benefited from a plot synopsis in the program.

THE MUSICAL DIRECTION: Linda Uzelac, beautiful job! I cannot believe that there was only 5 of you up there! And all the nuances that were found dynamically in the vocal lines were chilling. Bravo! Bravo!!

TECHINCAL: Lighting was great - it served well to focus our attention to the important part of the story and really set the mood. The sound balance was a little off. I noticed the use of microphones this time around, which was great. Adding a drum to make the band even louder though, not so great. The balance in the 2nd act was much better.

So, what do I think? I think that if I had to get very nitpicky and go by Olympic Judging, then this performance would get a 4.545759. But I like to round up, so it's a 5!! Here's hoping that we see this level of excellence in future performances at Onstage! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Ragtime
by mangres
Monday, August 23, 2004
NR
It was our good fortune to spend our one night in Atlanta experiencing this delightful production. Linda Uzelac's extraordinary musical direction of these pure and passionate voices was the best reminder of why musicals draw us, beguiled, to the theater--they allow us to soar! Ragtime is Bragtime for this super cast and OSA!! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Top 5 reasons I loved this show...
by th8rluvr
Monday, August 23, 2004
5.0
This is an absolutely thrilling performance. I saw Ragtime over a week ago, and have been mulling it over in my mind since then. It would be impossible to say what the best thing about this show is - there are too many moments. So I will pick my top five.

5. Eric Catania and Jerrica Knight. I love to see these two perform. They always are a highlight of any show that they are in with their beautiful voices and commanding stage presence. The chemistry between the two of them is electrifying. I just found out that they recently married. They have secured their position of "it" couple in my mind.

4. Linda Uzelac. Easily the best MD in town. The sound that she is able to get out of a group this large is astounding. Plus she is a joy to watch! Kudos also for the beautiful Tara Mitchell on violin (Her playing matches her beauty!)

3. The Act 1 Finale. Bring kleenex. The passion behind Summer Bergeron's singing combined with the raw emotion of the cast is chilling.

2. Kristie Krabe. Like the other two reviews here, I was blown away by her performance. I believe her to be one of the best kept secrets in Atlanta. I found myself watching her constantly during the show - her facial expressions are a great barometer for the audience. I can't wait to see her do bigger and better things so I can say, "I got to see her when she was doing community theater in Atlanta!"

1. The whole performance. This is one of those rare moments where it "All comes together". A beautiful score, combined with some of the most talented voices in Atlanta, and impeccable sound. Someone needs to get Onstage Atlanta into a larger space so they can mount these concerts as full productions. However, even as a "Concert" this was the best show I have seen in a long time. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Be sure to bring an extra pair with you, because this show will blow your s
by woahfred
Sunday, August 22, 2004
5.0
Once again, Onstage Atlanta has proved that they are capable of putting up one hell of a show when they have all the right people involved. Their latest effort, the final installment in the musicals in concert series this season, is sure to amaze you. Onstage has decided to bring back the hugely popular RAGTIME: IN CONCERT. This was one of the first shows I saw after moving to Atlanta a little over a year ago, and it blew me away. This time around, it does not disappoint.

Jeffery Brown and Linda Uzelac have managed to assemble twenty-three of the most talented singers in Atlanta. This, however, is no surprise considering the level of expertise and experience both have in gleaning only the absolute best from scores of auditioners. Linda Uzelac seems to effortlessly create and direct an ensemble that sounds infinitely better than any cast recording available today. RAGTIME is a perfect example of this.

From the very start of the show, the sound that resonates throughout the house completely engulfs the audience, even at it's softest. The vocal quality is so rich and pure that at times you find it hard to believe that a group of such size is able to be so perfectly together. The opening sequence introduces almost every character involved in a sweeping blend of vocal dynamics rarely heard by audiences in Atlanta. This is the one thing that so many companies fail to accomplish. Dynamics will transform an already great sound into something incredible. With such an immensely talented cast, you would think it hard to "pick a favorite." But there are actually a few singers worth mentioning that seemed to jump right out at you and coax you into enjoying their performances that much more.

Recent GIMME THE MIKE Top Three finalist Kristie Krabe, who portrays Evelyn Nesbit, was not a member of the first cast of this show. This is something that is impossible to notice, even to someone who already knows that she is a new cast member. Kristie brings so much radiance and humor to her "Crime of the Century" number that she can not be ignored. Throughout the show she is someone you can't help but watch without ever stealing focus--a feat few can accomplish. Charlie Bradshaw as Younger Brother is also worthy of special recognition. Bradshaw navigates the stage with purpose and delivers every note with clarity and appropriateness. His face is a constant display of emotion, especially at the conclusion of Act One during "Til We Reach That Day." Easily the most emotional song of the score, "Til We Reach That Day" would not be complete without the one soloist who takes this song and blows it through the roof. Summer Bergeron, as Sarah's friend, begins by mournfully creating an intensely deep, husky sound that soon escalates into a climactic, emotionally super-charged solo that will absolutely give you chills from head to toe. Summer's voice is very reminiscent of power-house divas Jennifer Holliday and Deborah Cox. She was absolutely incredible.

There are two actors though who must be mentioned for the outstanding performances they gave above all others in this terrific show. Eric Catania in the role of the immigrant Tateh is an absolute delight throughout. Catania's use of dialect is just enough to get the point across without being difficult to comprehend. Every involvement and interaction with his daughter, Kelly Rooney as Little Girl, conveys a deep emotional bond between father and child perfectly--the audience really wants Tateh and his daughter to find the new life in America that they came in search of. Catania's voice is one of the most beautiful to grace the Atlanta stage. His delivery, tone, emotion and clarity are impeccable. Eric seems to be able to adapt to anything he sings and makes the audience believe him one-hundred percent. He showcases those abilities amazingly in "Buffalo Nickel Photoplay Inc."

The audience decidedly finds itself noticing a shining star in this production, which belongs to Nat Martin as Coalhouse by a landslide. There really aren't enough wonderful things to say about Nat's performance. Basically, this part is made for him. He embodies every aspect of the character from beginning to end. Nat's voice is perfectly suited to sing Coalhouse as well. This show gives Martin his time to shine, proving that he is capable of being the driving force that keeps all of the emotion in the show moving perfectly in sync with what the audience should be experiencing. He stands out on every number he is involved with and his duets with Lynne Evans as Sarah contain some of the most beautiful melodies and harmonies within the score. He definitely becomes the anchor for the show before the first act has even finished.

If anyone is considering going to see this show, it is a must. The ensemble, orchestra, and lighting design all weave together flawlessly to create one of the most memorable theatrical events an audience will experience this season. Hopefully, Onstage Atlanta will continue to produce it's musicals in concert with the same high standard they have achieved with THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, TITANIC and now RAGTIME.
[POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
OK--the full title is.... by woahfred
"Be sure to bring an extra pair with you, because this show will blow your SOCKS off!!"
nothing short of breathtaking from beginning to end
by Okely Dokely
Saturday, August 21, 2004
5.0
There is the occasional show with a cast, crew, and orchestra who are so endearing, they completely make you forget that you don't like the show you're seeing. Georgia Ensemble's Tintypes came really close. OSA's Ragtime totally delivers. I was never a fan of history class, and am tiring greatly of musicals featuring characters from the early 1900's back, but OSA wisely decided to bring their most successful show back instead of doing Candide: in Concert, which was originally scheduled.

The ensemble of singers showed great restraint in their volume when appropriate. Anybody who has seen a "in concert" production at Onstage knows that those casts can and do produce an amazing sound that can blow the roof off and make your heart skip many beats. In Ragtime, they do just that, but do it sparingly. Linda Uzelac knows exactly how and when to tug on our musical heartstrings, and that is part of her genius.

The wonderful thing about doing musicals in concert is you can focus on the singing, rather than the acting and all those are-they-right-for-the-character-physically questions. Take Eric Catania's performance as Tateh for example. In my humble opinion, he would be too young and clean-cut looking for the role in a full stage production, but here, he seems just right. He speaks and sings in a Latvian accent the whole way through, which I dreaded at first, but he does it so effortlessly that it is not at all annoying. I liken it to Tom Hanks's recent performance in The Terminal. I didn't know if I could stomach him speaking in that dialect for 3 hours, but the character is so engaging that you get used to it. In addition, I don't need to mention again Catania's crystal clear voice, which might be one of the best I've ever heard. Also noteworthy is Mrs. Jerrica Catania as Mother, who probably has the best ballad in the show.

Nat Martin as Colehouse was amazing. I'm glad I finally got to see him in a show where his voice is so prominently featured. He needs to work on not looking constipated while holding out the final note of his solos, but his facial expressions and wonderful stage presence really made you feel the devastation of the character. Lynne Evans as Sarah served as a nice counterpart to him, and vice versa.

Kristie Krabe's performance as the bubbly Evelyn Nesbitt deserves special mention. What I've always admired about Ms. Krabe - even more than her voice - is her ability to disappear into her characters. She was Evelyn Nesbitt, not Chantal from La Cage aux Folles, Joan from Dames at Sea, Kate Murphey from Titanic, Trina from Falsettos, etc. Just when I think she's run out of masks, she pulls one out again. The character itself is so well-written, too: the exact moment when you want one more "Wheeeee!" - you get it.

Tom Gillespie's lighting is consistently some of the best I've seen. It compliments the show well without stealing the show, as sometimes happened with Kudzu Playhouse's Blood Brothers.

Kudos all around, OSA. You continue to amaze. Thanks for bringing this show back, as I didn't get to see it last year. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

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