Posts Tagged ‘Christiane Noll’

The new production of Ragtime recently opened at the Neil Simon Theatre, freshly imported from a hailed run at the Kennedy Center in DC.  While the original production was considered bloated & inappropriately over-sized, sadly, I never saw it.  I was still in college when it opened, and didn’t move to New York until after it closed.  Of course, I did buy the soundtrack.  An English major &  fan of E.L. Doctorow, I also read the book (several times).

To start, the music here is excellent.  A well-toned score by Stephen Flaherty is easily the best thing about the show.  It may be a little “dialed up to eleven”, but the lyrics & book are dialed up to 20.  A bit clichéd with every plot development clearly telegraphed, the book is far too concerned with being important.  Terrence McNally is an excellent playwright, whose work has always explored emotional complexity.  Here, he’s a bit overwhelmed by the fact that the characters are essentially stand-ins for archetypes and doesn’t bring the deftness I expected.  That being said, his book & Lynn Ahrens’ lyrics do provide a few more than solid punches.



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