The original Broadway cast recording of the 1998 Tony-nominated musical Ragtime—featuring a Tony-winning score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens—is celebrated in a commemorative red, white, and blue collectors limited vinyl edition, available now from Masterworks Broadway.
The remastered 3-LP set is presented in a hardbound slipcase, with individually jacketed LPs in red, white, and blue. An oversized, 20-page booklet includes a new essay from Ahrens and Flaherty, a complete recording libretto, and a track-by-track appreciation of the score by the composer and lyricist. Also included: a new interview with the production’s original Coalhouse Walker, Brian Stokes Mitchell, conducted Douglas Lyons, who recently performed the role himself, plus photos from the original recording session and production.
A Grammy nominee in its original release, these LPs come prior to the 25th anniversary of the musical’s first U.S. performances in Los Angeles in the summer of 1997.
“Ragtime was before its time, ahead of its time, and right on time,” Mitchell tells Lyons in the interview for this release. “Fortunately, and unfortunately … Ragtime is needed. I think it will always be needed.”
READING: Track-by-Track Breakdown: Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty Dissect Their Ragtime Score
Based on the classic American novel by E.L. Doctorow, Ragtime has a score by Ahrens and Flaherty (Once On This Island, Anastasia, Seussical) and a book by Terrence McNally (Master Class, Love! Valour! Compassion!).
Ragtime underwent a two-year gestation under the auspices of Garth Drabinsky, opening in Toronto in December 1996 and then in Los Angeles in June 1997 before arriving on Broadway. The production was directed by Tony winner Frank Galati with choreography by Graciela Daniele.
The musical mixes fictional characters and historical ones in telling the story of Coalhouse Walker Jr., a Black man who buys a Model T Ford, setting off a chain of events that involve all levels of New York City society—along with magician Harry Houdini, industrialist Henry Ford, celebrity Evelyn Nesbit, Black leader Booker T. Washington, architect Sanford White, revolutionary Emma Goldman, Admiral Peary, a Latvian immigrant who becomes a movie director, and a not-so-quiet family in suburban New Rochelle, New York.
The original Broadway production featured a cast led by Audra McDonald as Sarah, Mitchell as Coalhouse Walker Jr., Marin Mazzie as Mother, Mark Jacoby as Father, Steven Sutcliffe as Mother's Younger Brother, Friedman as Tateh, Judy Kaye as Emma Goldman, Jim Corti as Harry Houdini, Lynette Perry as Evelyn Nesbit, Tommy Hollis as Booker T. Washington, and Larry Daggett as Henry Ford.
The musical was nominated for 14 1998 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It took home four awards, including Best Book of a Musical (Terrence McNally), Best Original Score (Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Audra McDonald), and Best Orchestrations (William David Brohn).