A greatly anticipated new production of “Ragtime” opened at the Neil Simon Theatre on Sunday, November 15. Based on E. L. Doctorow’s 1975 novel,...

A greatly anticipated new production of “Ragtime” opened at the Neil Simon Theatre on Sunday, November 15.

Based on E. L. Doctorow’s 1975 novel, “Ragtime” is set in New York City in 1906 and stars Christiane Noll, Robert Petkoff and Quentin Earl Darrington. It tells three stories: the frustrations of a WASP upper-class wife, the struggles of a Jewish immigrant and a determined young Harlem musician, each driven by belief in the promise of America. Along the way, historic figures appear to offer support and entertainment, including Harry Houdini, Henry Ford, Booker T. Washington and Evelyn Nesbit, a famous entertainer of her day.

This Tony Award-winning musical made its Broadway debut on January 18, 1998, at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts but in spite of winning four Tonys was overshadowed by the highly successful “Shrek” and the embarrassing escapades of producer Garth Drabinsky. This second, current incarnation had an earlier run this year at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

One of the four Tonys of the original season went to the book by Terrence McNally and another to the score by Lynn Ahrens, lyrics and Stephen Flaherty, music. James Moore, musical director, leads the 28-piece orchestra playing the Tony Award-winning orchestration by William David Brohn. The 40-member cast is directed and choreographed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge. “Ragtime” is produced by Kevin McCollum with Roy Furman, Emanuel Azenberg and others. The sets were designed by Derek McLane.

Previews began October 23 in the 1,419-seat theater. Tickets range in price from $46.50 to $126.50, with paid admission averaging about $57 throughout previews. It reported a gross of $464,000 for the week ending November 8, according to the numbers reported to the Broadway League.

For the week of November 16, evening performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday and 8 p.m. on Wednesday through Saturday. Matinees run Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. The theater is dark on Mondays. The show runs for two hours and 40 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission.

The Neil Simon Theatre is located at 250 West 52nd Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue.
Further scheduling and ticketing details are available on the production’s official Web Site.

Opening Night: ‘Ragtime’

Publication Critic Review
Variety David Rooney “This is big-brain, bold-strokes musical-theater storytelling at its most vibrant.”
New York Times Ben Brantley “…the show now neither drags nor sags under its big themes.”
USA Today Elysa Gardner “Emotion conquers all in this ‘Ragtime.'”
Playbill.com Kenneth Jones “‘Ragtime’…brings to life both the historic sweep and intimate human stories of the novel that inspired it…”
Associated Press Michael Kuchwara “The initial swirling syncopation of sound is impossible to resist.”