The last time Ragtime appeared on Broadway, a whole new theater was built to house the gigantic production. This time, the show comes from a much humbler place and the critics couldn’t be more complimentary – its fresh, relavant and powerful.
Here are what the major publications had to say:
NEW YORK TIMES
The judiciously pared-down production that opened Sunday night at the Neil Simon Theater is a sprinting sylph compared to the opulence-bloated show that went under the same name a decade ago. … Warmly acted and agreeably sung, this “Ragtime” travels light. And if it still sometimes feels like an animated history lesson, delivered by a liberal but square teacher a shade too eager to make the past come alive, the show now neither drags nor sags under its big themes. Read the full review.
The show’s themes and characters are introduced lickety-split in a thrilling combination of song, story and movement that goes a long way toward explaining what musical theater is all about. … There’s not a wasted moment in her production, which is a blessing considering the scope of the lengthy story these creators are trying to tell: a new American century getting ready to explode and make its mark on history. Read the full review.
The score…is hardly A-list, but the songs are well-crafted and on occasion are genuinely soulful. And Terrence McNally’s book tugs at your heart and conscience with such artful aggression that only an ogre could resist the urge to weep at some points and smile at others. In this new Kennedy Center-based production, which opened Sunday, those assets are exploited by a supple cast under Marcia Milgrom Dodge’s vibrant direction. Read the full review.
No word has been more bandied about in American life the past two years than change. And no show investigates the nuances of that word as it relates to the American Dream — conveying hope, opportunity and success, but also the ugly flipside of pain, division, confusion and violence — more masterfully than “Ragtime.” The 1997 musical not only feels trenchant and timely, but its multistrand story is delivered with fresh clarity and emotional immediacy in director-choreographer Marcia Milgrom Dodge’s elegant revival … This is big-brain, bold-strokes musical-theater storytelling at its most vibrant. Read the full review.
Bottom Line: This wonderful musical based on the classic novel by E.L. Doctorow gets a much deserved, stirring revival. Read the full review.
Have you seen the show? Add your review to the comments below!
2 thoughts on “The reviews for Ragtime are in …”
My take on the original (to the extent that I remember it) was that, for all its wonderful and impressive moments, it was too big and too long and too self-important, not playful enough or soulful enough, almost intimidating. Whether you see the new “Ragtime” as a corrective or a continuation — as exhilarating or exhausting, stirring or stupefying…or your reaction, like mine, contains a bit of both extremes — will depend, I suspect, largely on your taste for the score.
(This is part of a much larger review Ragtime Review: Exhilarating, Exhausting)
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