RUN TO "RAGTIME"
I thought I had plenty of time to write and rave about the glorious new production of the great musical, RAGTIME, now playing at the Neil Simon Theater: one of the best scores of the late 20th century, beautifully performed; a superb ensemble, crisply staged and choreographed by Marcia Milgrim Dodge; a simple but handsome and effective visual design that focused on the story versus the trappings. Timely when it opened in 1998, it is even more timely now in the age of Obama, reality TV, instant celebrity and people behaving badly in the face of financial struggle. It won mostly excellent reviews in D.C. at the Kennedy Center, and had won similar praise here in New York. Rumors had swirled that it was having a hard time catching fire at the box office, but those rumors were denied just this weekend in the Times.
My family took me tonight to see it, and while standing ovations are far too gratuitous these days, this was an amazing ovation of love by a deeply moved audience. (I had seen the original, twice, and admit it is one of my favorites and, I believe, destined to be a classic. The original ran for 800 performances and won several Tonys including Best Book and Best Score, only being eclipsed for the big prize that year by THE LION KING.)
I came home to read IT'S CLOSING THIS SUNDAY.
So run, don't walk! Don't miss stunning performances by a strong cast led by Christiane Noll, Robert Petkoff and Quentin Earl Darrington, superb direction, terrific design, and a story that really means something to today's audiences. Most of all, don't miss this amazing score, which due to this frightfully short run of 57 performances, will be a long time in coming back. (There had been talk of New York City Opera doing it two seasons ago, but a schedule conflict caused its withdrawal.) If you've never seen it before, you owe it to yourself. If you know the show, you won't be disappointed by this lovely and lovingly-appointed productions.
Sigh . . . too many good shows suffering from the economy--and too many theater lovers are missing out.