"Ragtime" Review - Broadway musicalThe production received positive reviews from the critics. The original version is thought to be a bit more successful and interesting than the following revivals. The one, which was created in 2009, was considered to lose weight compared to the first Broadway run.
Despite some differences, each staging contains wonderful songs of various styles, including marches, cakewalks, gospel and ragtime. Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty wrote beautiful songs for the play, observing important historical realities. They masterly transformed the events in the novel into a flow of compositions, creating a story.
Most of the critics and the audience still prefer the 2009 musical. Marcia Milgrom Dodge, who was both a director and a choreographer, made it a perfect example of historical drama. This performance was the first one, she directed for Broadway. Before this, she worked with Off-Broadway productions. Her experience appeared to be utterly successful. The spectacle was nominated for seven Tony Awards. The critics saw a human soul in this version. It is said that it has been absent in the original staging. The production is called a bit overdone – it might be too much for a viewer to watch overdressed characters and listen to heavy messages, as the subject matter is quite serious. But the musical is still pleasant. The characters are changed compared to the book. You can see more self-analysis here, while they stay mysteries to themselves in the novel.
The set designer did a good job, reflecting America of early 1920s. But the decorations are not too bright and noticeable, as the characters are more important. People are shown as the makers of history. The leading actors of the 2009 version were not too impressive. Compared to those from the original spectacle, who were the rising stars of that time with their own charisma, Stephanie Umoh and Quentin Earl Darrington seem a bit dreary. Each production deserves the attention, but the one directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge has the glimmers and sensitivity, which were absent in the previous musical variants.
Last Update:July, 12th 2016