Ragtime Review – American Injustices

Cast - photo by Fred Tracey
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By Kathy Carpenter

Sarah, played by Brooke Henderson, and Coalhouse Walker Jr., played by Charl Brown – photo by Fred Tracey

Moonlight Stage Productions presents “Ragtime *The Musical,” in which light catchy tunes mix with power ballads. This is a slice of Americana from three different perspectives: a blend of Honky-tonk Pianists, history, and thought provoking moments. Since “Ragtime” has been subjected to mixed reviews in the past, your question is probably does this production work? With beautiful strong music, powerful voices, and a cast that plays well together – the answer is Yes, it works.

Based on the novel Ragtime by E.l. Doctorow, with music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by, Lynn Ahrens, it is directed & choreographed by John Vaughan, with music director and Conductor, Elan McMahan.

Center Coalhouse Walker Jr. played by Charl Brown – photo by Fred Tracey

Ragtime *The Musical is a blended tale with three threads taking place in the early nineteen hundreds. The upper class, the immigrants, and the Harlem musical influence. A story blend between a mother and wife, an immigrant, and a Harlem pianist. Racism, mistreatment, love, generosity, choices of right and wrong, and history. It is peppered with famous names we all know combined with a story of fiction that could be anyone’s tale, if you happened to be in one these categories in the early 1900’s.

This is powerful and entertaining and relevant to today. Stories like “Ragtime” serve as a reminder of where we came from and where we need to go.

Cast – Photo by Rich Soubet

Charl Brown, returns to the Moonlight stage 20 years after understudying the role of Coalhouse Walker Jr. This time he is the lead. The large cast allows for many smaller roles and many opportunities. Bets Malone, plays mother, the equally strong female lead. Sarah, Colehouse’s love is played by Brooke Henderson, a voice to reckon with. Gerilyn Brault , plays a determined Emma Goldman, a woman with strong convictions. When she saw a performance of “Ragtime”, here 20 years ago it changed her life. She can be proud of the role she played. With a cast this huge it’s a village coming together to create a sweeping saga of memorable proportions.

Front left – Geno Carr as Tateh – RL Bets Malone, Jason Webb and Daxtron Bethoney = photo by Rich Soubet

The beauty of the music washed over me from the opening notes to the emotional ballads, as the Ragtime Orchestra carried me away. I loved the lighter ragtime songs like “Crime of the Century.” I also, loved the powerhouse duet of Mother and Baron (Tateh), “Our Children”.

Broadway under the stars, what a better way to enjoy a show with your loved ones? What do you know about J.P. Morgan? Is he the man you think? Come get a glimpse of history.

Cast – photo courtesy of Rich Sorbet


Moonlight Amphitheatre


Wed – Sun Nights, August 17 – 28, 2022
Wed – Sat Night, August 31 – September 3, 2022

Gates open: 6:30 pm
Curtain: 8 pm 


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