We fittingly conclude our interviews from the press preview of Ragtime with director Marcia Milgrom Dodge. Just as producer Roy Furman told us that the Broadway production came into being only because of the Kennedy Center production, Marcia tells Joel that she got her first attention as a choreographer in 1989 when Doug Wager hired her for On The Town at Arena Stage.
Twenty years later, she’s helming the revival of Ragtime, and getting ready for its official opening November 15th at the Neil Simon Theatre. Why did she want to direct the show? “Because it’s Ragtime! It’s the greatest musical of our lifetime.” It also gave Marcia a chance to return to the Eisenhower Theatre where she had already directed Sullivan and Gilbert and Tell Me on a Sunday (with Alice Ripley).”
“Lynn and Stephen and Terrence asked me to do to Ragtime what I did to (their show) Seussical, which was to “find a way to tell the story that was it easier and simpler”. What she found was that, “These are human people struggling against ferocious obstacles, and I didn’t want them to be obliterated by anything else (special effects, etc.)”.
Marcia tells Joel about “rising star” Stephanie Umoh, exciting news about the costumes for the Broadway production, the restaging of “Crime of the Century” and why it was so important to her to keep as many of the DC company as possible.
Ragtime begins previews on October 23rd at the Neil Simon Theatre, 250 West 52nd Street in New York City. Opening night is November 15th. To purchase tickets, click here.
Part I: Ragtime interviews with composers Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty
Part II: Ragtime interviews with performers Christiane Noll and Robert Petkoff
Part III: Ragtime interviews with producer Roy Furman
Here’s the official Ragtime video from the press preview.