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Sedos bring Ragtime to the Bridewell Theatre

The cast of Ragtime

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

SEDOS is presenting Ragtime at the Bridewell Theatre. With book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, it runs from November 13 to November 23, 2019.

Ragtime is a sweeping epic musical about the birth of America that weaves together real celebrities and historical events with a timeless tale of three families in pursuit of the American Dream.

In the melting pot of New York, the stories of a stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant and a daring young Harlem musician are intertwined, united by their desire for and belief in a brighter tomorrow. Together, they confront history’s timeless contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair — and what it means to live in America.

The 1998 Broadway production of Ragtime was nominated for 13 Tony Awards and won four, including best original score.

This new staging from Sedos features a cast of 33 and an 18-piece orchestra and will breathe new life into this compelling story of courage, love and hope.

Director Matt Gould said: “I am delighted to be bringing Ragtime to the Bridewell Theatre. As well as having glorious music and compelling, exciting characters, it is also a necessary show tackling issues of racism, immigration and change, but seen through the eyes of different people with different experiences. Ultimately it is a show about hope and with the message that if you keep striving and moving on, you can make the world a better place.”

Ragtime is the fourth musical by Broadway writing team Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens to be produced by Sedos after My Favorite Year (2008), A Man of No Importance (2013) and Lucky Stiff (2018). In Sedos’ 113-year history, only two other composers — Stephen Sondheim and Gilbert and Sullivan — have had more different musicals performed, with a third, the fathers of musical theatre Rodgers and Hammerstein, matching Ahrens and Flaherty’s four-show total.

The cast includes Jonathon Grant (as Coalhouse Walker Jr), Sara Rajeswaran (Sarah), Chloë Faine (Mother), Andrew Overin (Father), Rob Archibald (Tateh), Zo Pisera (Emma Goldman), Deborah Lean (Evelyn Nesbit), Robert J. Stanex (Younger Brother), Chris Nelson (Booker T Wasington), Brian Voakes (Grandfather), Daryl Armstrong (Harry Houdini), Tasha Msanide (Sarah’s Friend), Jessica Helfgott (Little Girl), Callum Runciman (Henry Ford), Stephen Beeny (JP Morgan), Joseph Henshaw (Willlie Conklin) and Evan Huntley-Robertson (Little Boy).

The are joined by ensemble members Michael Cannon, Andrew Caruso, Becky Chisholm, Jessie Davidson, Paris Evans, Vanessa Forte, Ruth Granton, Jacob Hajjar, Adrian Hau, Natasha Hotung, George Kendrick, Siân Marr, Tess Robinson and Nicole Vassell.

Ragtime is directed by Matt Gould and has musical direction by Ryan Macaulay and choreography by Victoria-Louise Currie and Rachel Elfassy-Bitoun. Set design is by Steven King, costume design by Deborah Lean, lighting design by Olly Levett and sound design by Adrian Jeakins.

Tickets: £14.50 – £23. To book, visit sedos.co.uk/.

Times: Evenings at 7.30pm; Saturday matinees at 2.30pm (no show on Sunday, November 17 or Monday, November 18).