It’s Double Take December at Musical Cyberspace! Every musical pretty much has something one likes and something one doesn’t in it. This month I’ll be listing one of each for a range of musicals, a different one each day.
Something I Like: I love Ragtime. The show has a fantastic score by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and Terrence McNally manages to juggle its multiple narratives mostly successfully. That said, I think what I would like to highlight today is how much I adored all aspects of the original staging. In particular, I’d like to praise the phenomenal things that Graciela Daniele did with the musical staging and choreography of that production. If that production hadn’t basically paying for all of Livent’s costs, then it might have been the success it deserved to be. Even with all those extra expenses, the show kept its head above water for 2 years and was not the failure that the marketing team for the recent revival made it out to be in an attempt to advance their own cause.
Something I Don’t Like: I don’t have many specific quibbles with Ragtime that spring to mind. I’d have to sit with the show again and have a more thorough look. If I was pressed to name one thing in particular, it would be that it is sometimes easy to lose track of Mother’s Younger Brother’s journey, particularly because of how dominant the Coalhouse/Sarah narrative becomes. Thus, I do wish that the character featured just a little more in the score, which is where I think the fault lies.
Feel free to share your “double take” on Ragtime in the comment box!