When I received an invitation from press reps Joe Perrotta and Michael Strassheim of Boneau/Bryan-Brown, to come up for the “meet the stars, creative team and sneak peek performance of the upcoming Broadway musical Ragtime” on October 7th at The Hilton Rehearsal Hall on 43rd , where as Stephen Flaherty was about to remind me, “ it all began in 1998”, I never dreamed that I would be given the opportunity to sit down and schmooze with composer Stephen Flaherty, lyricist Lynn Ahrens, producer Roy Furman, director and choreographer Marcia Milgrom Dodge, and actors Christiane Noll and Robert Petkoff. Now, you get to sit there with me, as I interview them during this amazing day.
I have admired Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s work since I first walked into the small Booth Theatre on December 2, 1991, the day after it opened on Broadway, and heard their gorgeous score for Once On This Island. Since then, I have become one of their biggest fans, and after seeing Ragtime in Toronto pre-Broadway, and seven times on Broadway, the National tour at the National Theatre in DC, numerous community productions, and two great productions at Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Columbia and Baltimore, I have become – as director Marcia Milgrom Dodge called me – a “Raggie”, just like her.
I am in love with Ragtime, its heart-warming stories surrounded by Stephen and Lynn’s glorious score. For me, and for many other theatregoers, Ragtime has the best score written for the musical stage in the past two decades. And, now, here I was, face-to-face with Stephen and Lynn, getting a chance to talk about their show that had a bumpy ride during its first 1998 Broadway run – the show that closed too soon – and their new hopes that this more intimate production, transferring after a critically acclaimed run this year at the Kennedy Center, will touch the hearts of today’s new generation of theatre goers, and those of the many fans of the original production.
I asked Stephen and Lynn to talk about the April, 2009 Kennedy Center production, how it differed in tone and direction from the 1998 Broadway production, and how they feel about the show eleven years after it opened on Broadway. Listen in as they talk about the changes they are making as they prepare for Ragtime‘s November 15th opening night at the Neil Simon Theatre.
To learn more about Lynn and Stephen’s careers and shows, go to Lynn and Stephen’s website.
Coming soon – the series continues:
Part II: Christiane Noll (Mother) and Robert Petkoff (Tateh)
Part III: Producer Roy Furman and director Marcia Milgrom Dodge