New Rep opens its long-awaited production of Ragtime
April 3, 2006
Cory Elizabeth Nelson, Artistic Associate
617.923.7060 x204, email@example.com
To conclude its inaugural season in Watertown, New Rep presents the biggest show in its twenty-one year history, Ragtime. Directed by Rick Lombardo, with music direction by Todd C. Gordon and choreography by Kelli Edwards, Ragtime begins performances on April 30 and runs through May 21, 2006.
Featuring a cast of thirty-three, an eight-piece orchestra, and a scenic design of epic proportions (including a car onstage), Ragtime is truly the biggest show yet for New Rep. The production also introduces a host of talented new musical theatre performers to New Rep’s stage. Along with New Rep veterans such as Leigh Barrett (Mother), Peter Edmund Haydu (Father), and Paul D. Farwell (Willie Conklin), Ragtime introduces Stephanie Umoh (Sarah), a sophomore at the Boston Conservatory, who makes her New Rep and Boston debut with this production. Additional cast members include Maurice E. Parent (Coalhouse), another newcomer to New Rep’s stage, as well as area performers Frank Gayton (Henry Ford), Paul Giragos (Houdini), and June Baboian (Emma Goldman). Additionally, New Rep has cast two young children in the role of Coalhouse Walker III; these children will be among the youngest performers ever to have appeared on New Rep’s stage.
“Ragtime is important, of course, because it’s another production that proves what New Rep can do in its new home,” explains Rick Lombardo, Producing Artistic Director. “But it’s also a classic New Rep musical: it’s both thought-provoking and humorous, while presenting questions of real relevance to our audiences. How do race and class continuously divide us, and how have they defined American history? And what causes an intelligent young man to transform from an idealist to a terrorist?”
Weaving together fictional characters with historical figures, Ragtime, by popular composer-and-lyricist team Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, with a book by Terrence McNally, is based on E.L. Doctorow’s landmark novel. In turn-of-the-century New York, the lives of a white family, a black family, and an impoverished immigrant family simultaneously intersect. As the boundaries of their narrowly-defined worlds crumble, passions of all kind – sexual, ideological, and artistic – collide. Ragtime, a smash Broadway hit in 1998, received multiple Tony Awards and has become a modern classic of musical theatre.
A dream team of designers has assembled for Ragtime, including Janie E. Howland (scenic), Frances Nelson McSherry and Molly Trainer (costumes), Franklin Meissner, Jr., (lighting), Rick Lombardo (sound), and Dorian Des Lauriers (projection design). Ragtime opens for the press on May 1, 2006 and plays through May 21. For more information, contact the box office at 617.923.8487. The production is sponsored by Sovereign Bank, with additional support from the Newton Cultural Council.
New Repertory Theatre presents provocative and intelligent works of both established and emerging playwrights in an intimate setting that involves and engages the audience. New Rep has earned a reputation for dynamic productions that honor the writers and feature talented professional actors from the New England theatre community as well as guest artists from around the U.S. New Rep has received Elliot Norton and IRNE Awards for outstanding acting, design, direction, and production. Programming at New Repertory Theatre is supported in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.