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Ragtime: In Concert

a Musical
by Book by Terrence McNally, Music by Stephen Flaherty, Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens

COMPANY : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. (Decatur) [WEBSITE]
ID# 710

SHOWING : July 24, 2003 - August 03, 2003



Coalhouse Walker Jr. is a fiery black piano man who demands retribution when his Model T is destroyed by a mob of white troublemakers. Walker's love interest is a young girl named Sarah--played in the Broadway production by Tony Award-winning actress Audra McDonald--who has been taken in by a WASP family ruled by "Father," a patriarchal figure who dominates his household (and his submissive wife) with his overbearing presence. Tateh is a Jewish immigrant who unwittingly finds himself involved in the birth of the motion picture industry after inventing a flip book for his daughter. An adaptation of E.L. Doctorow's novel, Ragtime takes us into the lives of these characters in a tale of turn-of-the-century America that also features such historical figures as Harry Houdini, Booker T. Washington, J.P. Morgan and Henry Ford.

Director Jeffery Brown
Light/Sound Tech Chris Montedoro
Drume & Percussion L. Gerard Reid
Drume & Percussion L. Gerard Reid
Music Director Linda Uzelac
SARAH'S FRIEND Summer Bergeron
Emma Goldman Martie Carlson
Tateh Eric Catania
Mother Jerrica Knight
Ensemble Ami Rosen
Henry Ford Matt Sewell
Harry Houdini Russ Williamson
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Dig that concert thing!
by cathead67
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Wanted to say how much I really enjoyed Ragtime: In Concert. I know there has been a comment about how we might be missing out on the acting and dancing portions of musical theater, but I like the chance to just focus on the music and the musical talent. Speaking of talent, I must commend the queen of the keys Linda Uzelac on her always flawless and driven performance. Kudos to Jeffery and Linda for their casting as well. The voices of the ensemble cast were excellent for the most part, especially Eric Catania and Jerrica Knight. Way to go and I look forward to more concert performances! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Single threat
by troyhill
Monday, August 4, 2003
My first foray into Onstage Atlanta, and the world of musicals done on the cheap as concerts, coincided with each other for OSA’s “Ragtime”.

The set for “Ragtime: the concert” was limited. Two rows of plain black chairs lined the raised upstage platforms from which ramps led down either side of the stage to the lower level. Two keyboards faced each other center stage. The backdrop suggested a few model skyscrapers scattered around a Statue of Liberty that didn’t quite do the Lady justice. The lighting scheme, as another reviewer may have mentioned, had some sizeable holes, or the performers were not always good at finding the light…or both.

The singing was very good for the most part, with particular nods to Eric Cantania and Jerrica Knight. I would like to see what they can do in some other full production. Most everyone had a moment in (or near) the light, and the larger chorus numbers were robust. The men’s performance of “What a Game” was a lively piece. I occasionally had problems hearing the solos, especially when performers were dipping into their lower registers. The acoustics of the space didn’t seem to help them. As for the orchestra, I particularly enjoyed the playing of Tara Mitchell on the violin.

Besides the money saved on sets and costumes, another benefit of doing musicals in concert without the dancing and with few, if any, textual blocks is that the performers can be cast solely on their ability to sing. But there is the obvious downside of losing two-thirds of the overall spectacle. The blocking was well done and the movement added a little life to the scenes. Still, there were times it felt a bit like watching Disneyworld’s Hall of Presidents, as this one or that one came to life for a song and then switched off again. The textual portions of the evening were awkward and tended toward the melodramatic, but they were brief. A longer musical interlude, “Gettin’ Ready Rag”, should be trimmed or cut for this kind of production. It’s meant to highlight the orchestra and score a large dance number, but doesn’t make a good stand alone piece, especially with such a small orchestra. As the number went on, I started to feel uncomfortable for the seated performers who valiantly tried to round out the music with whoops, hollers, and leg slapping.

I had never seen “Ragtime”, so I don’t know the story. One could tell that some of the characters (like the Grandfather) and major plot information (what makes Mother dislike Father so much) must exist in the book rather than in the lyrics. I didn’t particularly care much for the lyrics, and the score doesn’t seem to offer much in the way of variety, which may result from the limited musical language (ragtime) or may be a pitfall of the limited orchestra. Musicals in concert may not be “my thing”, but several of the solos and most of the larger chorus numbers made for an enjoyable evening.
Ragtime in Concert is Wonderful!
by GCherry
Saturday, July 26, 2003
Onstage Atlanta has done it again with another wonderful "concert" version of a major musical. Perfectly cast, well directed and with a terrific quartet, Ragtime was a terrific evening of entertainment without being a "butt-buster" of a musical. Jeffery Brown did a great job getting the right people for this show and in making a story come to life with only the music to guide us. I have never seen the full musical, so that is important. The cast works very well as an ensemble and never did I see anyone that did not appear to be having a great time on stage. The chorus blends beautifully and the opening number was worth the price of admission. The audience loved every second of this performance and I totally agree. The only thing I can think of that is even remotely negative is that there were a few slow lighting moments, but even those were forgivable. I highly recommend Ragtime to every and anyone. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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