Music: Stephen Flaherty

Lyrics: Lynn Ahrens

Book: Terrence McNally

Coalhouse Walker Jr. is a fiery black piano man who demands retribution when his Model T is destroyed by a mob of white troublemakers. Walker's love interest is a young girl named Sarah--played in the Broadway production by Tony Award-winning actress Audra McDonald--who has been taken in by a WASP family ruled by "Father," a patriarchal figure who dominates his household (and his submissive wife) with his overbearing presence. Tateh is a Jewish immigrant who unwittingly finds himself involved in the birth of the motion picture industry after inventing a flip book for his daughter. An adaptation of E.L. Doctorow's novel, Ragtime takes us into the lives of these characters in a tale of turn-of-the-century America that also features such historical figures as Harry Houdini, Booker T. Washington, J.P. Morgan and Henry Ford.

Before moving to Broadway, the show was previewed in Toronto and at the Shubert Theater in Los Angeles. Ragtime officially opened its Broadway run at the new Ford Center for the Performing Arts on January 18, 1998.

Flaherty and Ahrens worked together previously on the Broadway Musicals Once Upon This Island and the remake of My Favorite Year. Librettist Terence McNally is the author of such plays as Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune, Love! Valour! Compassion!, and Master Class. He also wrote the libretto for Kiss of the Spider Woman.

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